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to have waited upon the Pope; but, unlike his holiness, Powhatan could make his own robes, shoes, bows, arrows, and pots, besides planting his corn for exercise, and hunting deer for amusement. The Indians generally subsisted on fish in the spring, and lived light for some months after; but “Powhatan, their great king, and some others that are provident, roast their fish and flesh vpon hurdles, and keepe it till scarce times."*
In fine, it would seem that no candid person can read the history of this famous Indian, with an attentive consideration of the circumstances under which he was placed, without forming a high estimate of his character as a warrior, a statesman, and a patriot. His deficiencies were those of education and not of genius. His faults were those of the people whom he governed, and of the period in which he lived. His great talents, on the other hand, were his own, and these are acknowledged even by those historians who still regard him with prejudice. Stith calls him a prince of excellent sense and parts, and a great master of all the savage arts of government and policy. He adds that he was penetrating, crafty, insidious and cruel.
“But as to the great and moral arts of policy,” he concludes, “such as truth, faith, uprightness, and magnanimity, they seemed to have been but little heeded or regarded by him." Burk's opinion appears to us more correct. In the cant of civilisation, (says that excellent historian,) he will doubtless be branded with the epithets of tyrant and barbarian; but his title to greatness, though his opportunities were fewer, is to the full as fair as that of Tamerlane or Kowli Khan, and several others whom history has immortalised, while the proofs of his tyranny are by no means so clear. Still it might have been as reasonable to say that there are no such proofs in being. The kind of martial law which the emperor sometimes exercised over his own subjects was not only a matter of custom, founded on the necessity which must always exist among ignorant men, but it was a matter of license, which had grown into constitutional law by common consent. It has been justly observed, that there is no possibility of a true despotism under an Indian government. It is reason that governs, nominally at least, and the authority is only the more effectual as the obedience is more voluntary.
THE FAMILY OF POWHATAN-SEQUEL OF THE HISTORY OF POCAHONTAS HER CIVILISATION AND INSTRUCTION IN CHRISTIANITY_HER VISIT TO ENGLAND IN 1616-HER DEATH AND CHARACTER-HER DESCENDANTS.
The family of Powhatan was numerous and influential.
Two sons and two daughters have already been mentioned. There were also three brothers younger than 'himself, and upon them successively,
Smith's account of the Natural Inhabitants of Virginia.
according to their several ages, custom seems to have required that the government should devolve after his own death. The eldest, Opitchipan,* accordingly succeeded him, in form at least. But this prince was an inactive and unambitious man, owing in some degree perhaps to his being decrepid, and he was soon thrown into the shade by the superior energy and talent of Opechancanough, who before many years engrossed in fact the whole power of the government. Of the younger brother, Kekataugh, scarcely any thing is known. He probably died before any opportunity occurred of signalising himself in a public station. The sequel of the history of Opechancanough is well worthy of being dwelt upon at some length; but previously, the order of time requires us to devote a share of attention to the fortunes of his celebrated niece, Pocahontas.
This beautiful and amiable woman, whom John Smith, in the excess of his admiration, styles “the Numpareil of Virginia,” has been distinguished in modern times, chiefly by that single extraordinary act of courage and humanity to which the gallant historian was indebted for the preservation of his life. But this was by no means the only evidence of these noble qualities which history has preserved. Her name indeed is scarcely once mentioned by the most ancient chronicles of the colony, except in terms of high eulogy, and generally in connection also with some substantial facts, going strongly to justify the universal partiality with which her memory is regarded to these times.
In the earliest and most gloomy days of the settlement, immediately after Smith's return from his captivity, the liberal and thoughtful kindness of Pocahontas went very far to cheer the desponding hearts of the colonists, as well as to relieve their actual necessities. She came into Jamestown with her attendants once in every four or five days for a long time, and brought with her supplies of provisions, by which many lives are stated to have been saved. This will appear more fully from an ancient document which we shall hereafter transcribe at length.
When Smith was absent upon one of his Indian expeditions, emergencies occurred at Jamestown which rendered his presence extremely desirable. But not a man could be found who dared venture to carry a message to him from the council. He was known to be environed by enemies, and the hostility and power of Powhatan were at that period subjects of the most exaggerated apprehension. One Richard Wyffin at last undertook the hazardous enterprise. Encoantering many dangers and difficulties, he reached the residence of Powhatan a day or two after Smith had left it for Pamunkey. He found that great preparations for war were going on among the Powhatans, and he soon became himself the object of suspicion. His life undoubtedly
* By various writers called Itopatin, Itoyatin, Oetan, Opitchipan, Toyatan-a characteristic instance of the uncertainty which attends the orthography of Indian proper names. One cause is the custom of changing the name upon great occasions. Opitchipap himself, after his accession, was called Sasaw pen; and Opechancanough, Mangopecomen.
would have paid the forfeit of his rashness, had not Pocahontas, who knew his perilous situation even better than himself, concealed him, and thwarted and embarrassed the search of the savages who pursued him, so that “by her means and extraordinary bribes, and much trouble in three days' travell," as history says, “at length he found vs in the middest of these turmoyles,” (at Jamestown.)
Her conduct was the same after Smith's departure for England. Of the thirty men who accompanied Ratcliffe when he was massacred by the Indians, only one escaped to the colony, and one was rescued by Pocahontas. This was a boy named Henry Spilman, who subsequently was restored to his friends,* and from the knowledge of Indian languages which he obtained during his residence with the Patowomekes, proved highly serviceable as an interpreter. Smith himself was more than once under obligations to the princess for his personal safety. We have alluded to that occasion when he quartered over night near the residence of her father. “ Pocahontas, his dearest jewell and daughter, in that darke night came through the irksome woods, and told our captain great cheare should be sent vs by and by, but Powhatan and all the power he could make would after come kill vs all, if they that brought it could not kill us with our own weapons when we were at supper. Therefore if we would liue, she wished vs presently to be gone. Such things as she delighted in he would haue giuen her, but with the tears running down her cheekes, she said she durst not be seen to have any, for if Powhatan should know it she were but dead, and so she ran away by herself as she
What an affecting instance of the most delicate tenderness mingled with the loftiest courage.
It would have been strange indeed if Smith, with all his passionate chivalry, had been insensible of these repeated kindnesses. Even Powhatan had too good an opinion of him to suppose so, for he had the sagacity to rely upon his gratitude for political purposes. When some of the emperor's subjects were taken prisoners by Smith, (although peace was nominally existing,) and forced to confess that Powhatan had employed them to work mischief against the colony, the latter “sent messengers, and his dearest daughter Pocahontas," with presents, to make apologies for the past and promises for the future. Smith, on the other hand, (who understood as well as any one the part of a gentleman,) after giving the prisoners such correction as he deemed necessary, treated them well for a day or two, and then delivered them to Pocahontas, “for whose sake only he fayned to have saued their liues, and gaue them libertie.” The emperor was paid for this ingenuity in his own coin, when the colonists, in 1613, took the princess herself captive, relying on the well-known strength of his attachment to her as the surest means of procuring peace.
Her subsequent history may be soon told. Rolfe had become ardently enamoured of her beauty, and he used the fortunate occasion
* He was destined, however, to die at last by the hands of the savages in 1623.
of her stay in the colony, perhaps was active in bringing it on, to procure the intercession of the president in his behalf. Pocahontas cherished similar feelings towards himself, and when her brothers came to visit her she made one of them her confidant. Rolfe gained information of her sentiments, and thus was emboldened to prosecute his suit with a spirit worthy of the success which it met with. The parties married. In the course of a year or two the young bride became quite an adept in the English language and manners, and was well instructed in the doctrines of Christianity. She was entitled by her new acquaintances the Lady Rebecca.
In 1616, she and her husband accompanied Sir Thomas Dale to England. King James (that anointed pedant, as Stith calls him,) is said to have been offended with Rolse for his presumption in marrying the daughter of a king, a crowned head, too, it will be recollected. He might have thought, perhaps, following up his own principles, that the offspring of the marriage would be fairly entitled to succeed Powhatan in his dominion. But the affair passed off with some little murmuring, and Pocahontas herself was received at court by both the king and queen with the most flattering 'marks of attention. Lord de la War and his lady, and many other courtiers of rank, followed the royal example. The princess was gratified by the kindness shown to her; and those who entertained her, on the other hand, were unani. mously of opinion, as Smith expresses himself, that they had seen many English ladies worse-favored, proportioned and behavioured.
The captain was at this time in England, and although upon the eve of leaving that country on a voyage to New England, he delayed his departure for the purpose of using every possible means in his power of introducing the princess to advantage. A memorial, which he draughted with his own hand and sent in to the queen, is supposed to have had no little influence at court. It is well worth transcribing, both as a curiosity of style, and as a document of authentic history. It reads thus:
“To the most high and vertuous princess, Queen Anne of Great Britain.
“ Most admired Queene, « The loue I bear my God, my king and countrie, hath so oft emboldened mee in the worst of extreme danger, that now honestie doth constraine mee to presume thus farre beyond myselfe, 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 be thankful.
So it is, “That some ten yeeres agoe, being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan, their chief kinge, I received from this great saluage exceeding great courtesie, especially from his sonne Nantaguans, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit I ever saw in a salvage; and his sister Pocahontas, the king's most deare and wellbeloved daughter, being but a child of twelue or thirteene yeeres of age, whose compassionate, pitifull heart, of desperate estate, gaue mee
much cause to respect her; I being the first Christian this proud king and his grim attendants euer saw, and thus inthralled in their barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of want that was in the power of those my mortal foes to preuent, notwithstanding al their threats.
“ After some sixe weeks fatting among these salvage courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she hazarded the beating out of her own braines to save mine, but not only that, but so prevailed with her father that I was safely conducted to Iames-town, where I found about eight and thirtie miserable poore and sick creatures, to keep possession of al those large territories of Virginia; such was the weaknesse of this poore commonwealth, as had the salvages not fed us, we directly had starued.
“ And this reliefe, most gracious queene, was commonly brought vs by this Lady Pocahontas. Notwithstanding al 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 surprise me, hauing but eighteene with me, the dark night could not affright her from comming through the irksome woods, and with watered eies gave me intilligence, with her best aduice to escape his furie, which had hee knowne, he had surely slaine her.
“lames-toune, with her wild traine, she as freely frequented as her father's habitation, and during the time of two or three yeeres, 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 been dissolued, Virginia might haue line as it was at our first arrival! to this day.
“Since then, this businesse hauing beene 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, at which time she was not heard off, about two yeeres after she herself was taken prisoner. Being so detained neere two yeeres longer, the colonie by that means was relicued, peace concluded, and at last reiecting her barbarous condition, shee was married to an Eng. lish gentleman, with whom at this present she is in England, the first Christian euer of that nation, the first Virginian euer spake English, or had a childe in marriage by an Englishman. A matter surely, if my meaning bee truly considered and well vnderstood, worthy a prince's understanding.
“Thus, most gracious lady, I have related to your majestie what at your best leasure our approued histories will account you at large, and done in the time of your maiestie's life; and howeuer this might bee presented you from a more worthy pen, it cannot from a more honest heart. As yet I neuer begged any thing of the state, or any,