Map of Virginia. With a Description of the Countrey, the Commodities, People, Government and Religion.
An Electronic Edition
John Smith, "A Map of Virginia. With a Description of the Countrey, the Commodities, People, Government and Religion." In
Travels and Works of Captain John Smith, President of Virginia, and Admiral of New England, 1580-1631, Part I
John Smith. Ed. Edward Arber. Edinburgh: John Grant, 1910.
Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is
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Full Colophon Information
A MAP OF VIRGINIA.
WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY, THE Commodities, People, Government and Religion.
Written by Captaine Smith, sometimes Governour of the Country. WHEREUNTO IS ANNEXED THE
proceedings of those Colonies, since their first departure from England, with the discoures, Orations, and relations of the Salvages, and the accidents that befell them in all their Journies and disccoveries.TAKEN FAITHFULLY AS THEY
were written out of the writings of
DOCTOR FUSSELTHO. STUDLEY.ANAS TODKILL.IEFFRA ABOT.RICHARD WIEFIN.WILL. POWELL.RICHARD POTS.And the relations of diverse other diligent observes there
present then, and now many of them in England
By W. S. At OXFORD
Printed by Joseph Barnes,1612
TO THE HAND.
Least I should wrong any in
dedicating this Booke to one: I have concluded it shal be particular to none. I
found it only dedicated to a Hand, and to that hand I addresse it. Now for that
this businesse it was penned in the Land it treateth of. If it bee disliked of
men, then I would recommend it to women, for being dearely bought, and farre
sought, it should be good for Ladies. When all men rejected Christopher
Collumbus: that ever renowned Queene Izabell of Spaine, could pawne her
Jewels to supply his wants; whom all the wise men (as they thought themselves)
of that age contemned. I need not say what was his worthinesse, her noblenesse,
and their ignorance, that so scornefully did spit at his wants, seeing the whole
world is enriched with his golden fortunes. Cannot this successful example move
the incredulous of this time to consider to conceave, and apprehend
Virginia, which might be, or breed us a second India? Hath not England an
Izabell as well as Spaine, nor yet a Collumbus as well as Geneva?
yes surely it hath, whose desires are no lesse then was worthy Collumbus,
their certainties more, their experiences no way wanting, only there wants
but an Izabell, so it were not from Spaine.1.
Because many doe desire to knowe the
maner of their language, I have inserted these few words.
torawincs yowo. What call you this.
Crenepo. a woman.
Matchcores. Skins, or
Attawp A bowe.
Aumoughhowgh A Target.
Vssawassin. Iron, Brasse, Silver, or any
Attasskuss. Leaves, weeds, or
Shacquohocan. A stone.
Wepenter, a cookold.
Maskapow. The worst of the enimies.
chammay. The best of friends.
Casacunnakack, peya quagh acquintan
vttasantasough. In how many daies will there come hether any more English
They count no more but by tennes as
Case, how many.
Quiyoughcosucks. Pettie Gods, and their affinities.
Mowchick woyawgh tawgh noeragh kaquere
mecher. I am verie hungry? What shall I eate?10.
Tawnor nehiegh Powhatan. where
Mache, nehiegh yowrowgh, orapaks.
Now he dwels a great way hence at orapaks. 12.
Vttapitchewayne anpechitchs nehawper
werowacomocomoco. You lie, he staide ever at werowocomocomoco. 13.
Kator nehiegh mattagh neer
vttapitchewayne. Truely he is there I doe not lie.14.
Spaughtynere keragh werowance
mawmarinough kekatenwawgh peyaquaugh. Run you then to the king mawmarynough
and bid him come hither. 15.
Vtteke, e peya weyack wighwhip.
Get you gone, and come againe quickly. 16.
Kekaten pokahontas patiaquagh niugh
tanks manotyens neer mowchick rawrenock audowgh. Bid Pokahontas bring hither
two little Baskets, and I wil give her white beads to make her a chaine.17.
THE DESCRIPTION Of Virginia By Captaine Smith.
Virginia is a Country in America,
that lyeth betweene the degrees of 34 and 44 of the north latitude. The bounds
thereof on the East side are the great Ocean. On the South lyeth
Florida: on the North nova Francia. As for the West thereof, the
limits are unknowne. Of all this country wee purpose not to speake, but only of
that part which was planted by the English men in the yeare of our Lord 1606
[i.e., according to the old style of reckoning the year from the 25th of
March; Smith, therefore, here means the winter of 1606-7]. And this is
under the degrees 37, 38, and 39. The temperature of this countrie
doth agree well with English constitutions being once seasoned to the country.
Which appeared by this, that though by many occasions our people fell sicke; yet
did they recover by very small meanes and continued in health, though there were
other great causes, not only to have made them sicke, but even to end their
The sommer is hot as in Spaine;
the winter colde as in Fraunce or England. The heat of sommer is
in June, Julie, and August, but commonly the coole Breeses asswage the
vehemencie of the heat. The chiefe of winter is halfe December, January,
February, and halfe March. The colde is extreame sharpe, but here the proverbe
is true that no extreame long continueth.20.
In the yeare 1607 was an extraordinary
frost in most of Europe, and this frost was founde as extreame in
Virginia. But the next yeare for 8 or 10 daies of ill weather, other 14
daies would be as Sommer.21.
The windes here are variable, but the
like thunder and lightning to purifie the aire, I have seldome either seene or
heard in Europe. From the Southwest came the greatest gustes with thunder
and heat. The Northwest winde is commonly coole, and bringeth faire weather with
it. From the North is the greatest cold, and from the East and South-East as
from the Barmadas, fogs and raines.22.
Some times there are great droughts,
other times much raine, yet great necessity of neither, by reason we see not but
that all the variety of needfull fruits in Europe may be there in great
plenty by the industry of men, as appeareth by those we there planted. 23.
There is but one entraunce by sea into
this country, and that is at the mouth of a very goodly Bay, the widenesse
whereof is neare 18 or 20 miles. The cape on the South side is called Cape
Henry in honour of our most noble Prince. The shew of the land there, is a
white hilly sand like unto the Downes, and along the shores great plentie of
Pines and Firres. 24.
The north Cape is called Cape
Charles in honour of the worthy Duke of Yorke. 25.
Within is a country that may have the
prerogative over the most pleasant places of Europe, Asia, Africa, or
America. for large and pleasant navigable rivers: heaven and earth never
agreed better to frame a place for means of habitation being of our
constitutions, were it fully manured and inhabited by industrious people. Here
are mountaines, hils, plaine, valleyes, rivers, and brookes all running most
pleasantly into a faire Bay compassed but for the mouth with fruitfull and
delightsome land. In the Bay and rivers are many Isles both great and small,
some woody, some plaine, most of them low and not inhabited. This Bay lieth
North and South in which the water floweth neare 200 miles and hath a channell
for 140 miles, of depth betwixt 7 and 15 fadome, holding in breadth for the most
part 10 or 14 miles. From the head of the Bay at the north, the land is
mountanous, and so in a manner from thence by a Southwest line; So that the more
Southward, the farther of from the Bay are those mountaines. From which, fall
certain brookes, which after come to five principall navigable rivers. These run
from the Northwest into the South east, and so into the west side of the Bay,
where the fall of every river is within 20 or 15 miles of an other. 26.
The mountaines are of diverse natures,
for at the head of the Bay the rockes are of a composition like milnstones. Some
of marble, … c. And many peeces of christall we found as throwne downe by
water from the mountaines, For in winter these mountaines. For in winter these
mountaines are covered with much snow, and when it dissolveth the waters fall
with such violence, that it causeth great inundation in the narrow valleyes
which yet is scarce perceived being once in the rivers. These waters wash from
the rocks such glistering tinctures that the ground in some places seemeth as
guilded, where both the rocks and the earth are so splendent to behold, that
better judgements then ours might have been persuaded, they contained more then
The vesture of the earth in most places
doeth manifestly prove the nature of the soile to be lusty and very rich. The
colour of the earth we found in diverse places, resembleth bole Armoniac,
terra sigillata ad lemnia, Fullers earth, marle, and divers other such
appearances. But generally for the most part the earth is a black sandy mould,
in some places a fat slimy clay, in other places a very barren gravell. But the
best ground is knowne by the vesture it beareth, as by the greatnesse of trees
or abundance of weedes, … c. 28.
The country is not mountanous nor yet low
but such pleasant plaine hils and fertle valleyes, one prettily crossing an
other, and watered so conveniently with their sweete brookes and christall
springs, as if art it selfe had devised them. 29.
By the rivers are many plaine marishes
containing some 20, some 100, some 200 Acres, some more, some lesse. Other
plaines there are fewe, but only where the Savages inhabit: but all
overgrowne with trees and weedes being a plaine wildernes as God first made
On the west side of the Bay, wee said
were 5 faire and delightfull navigable rivers, of which we will nowe
proceed to report.31.
The first of those rivers and the next to
the mouth of the Bay, hath his course from the West and by North. The name of
this river they call Powhatan accor[ing] to the name of a principall country
that lieth upon it. The mouth of this river is neere three miles in breadth,
yet doe the shoules force the Channell so neere the land that a Sacre will
overshoot it at point blanck. This river is navigable 100 miles, the shouldes
and soundings are here needlesse to be expressed. It falleth from Rockes
farre west in a country inhabited by a nation they call Monacan. But
where it commeth into our discoverie it is Powhatan. In the farthest
place that was diligently observed, are falles, rockes, showles, … c., which
makes it past navigation any higher. Thence the running downeward, the
river is enriched with many goodly brookes, which are maintained by an infinit
number of small rundles and pleasant springs that disperse themselves for best
service, as doe the vaines of a mans body. 32.
From the South there fals into this
river. First the pleasant river of Apamatuck: next more to the East are
the two rivers of Quiyoughcohanocke. A little farther is a Bay wherein
falleth 3 or 4 prettie brookes and creekes that halfe intrench the Inhabitants
of Warraskoyac; then the river of Nandsamund, and lastly the
brooke of Chisapeack.33.
From the North side is the river of
Chickahamania, the backe river of James Towne; another by the
Cedar Isle where we lived 10 weekes upon oisters, then a convenient
harbour for fisher boats or smal boats at Kecoughtan, that so
conveniently turneth it selfe into Bayes and Creeks that make that place
very pleasant to inhabit, their cornefields being girded therein in a manner as
The most of these rivers are inhabited by
severall nations, or rather families. Of the name of the rivers. They have also
in every of those places some Governour, as their king, which they call
In a Peninsula on the North side
of this river are the English planted in a place by them called James
Towne, in honour of the Kings most excellent Majestie: upon which side are also
many places under the Werowances.36.
The first and next the rivers mouth, are
the Kecoughtans, who besides their women and children, have not past 20
fighting men. The Paspaheghes, on whose land is seated the English
Colony, some 40 miles from the Bay, have not passed 40. The river called
Chickahamania neere 200. The
Weanocks 100. The Arrowhatocks
30. The place called Powhatan, some 40. On the South side this river, the
Appamatucks have 60 fighting men. The Quiyougcohanocks, 25. The
Warraskoyacks 40. The Nandsamunds 200. The Chesapeacks are
able to make 100. Of this last place the Bay beareth the name. In all
these places is a severall commander, which they call Werowance, except
the Chickahamanians, who are governed by the Priestes and their
Assistants of their Elders called Caw-cawwassoughes. In somer no place
affordeth more plentie of Sturgeon, nor in winter more abundance of
fowle, especially in the time of frost. There was once taken 52 Sturgeons at a
draught, at another draught 68. From the later end of May till the end of June
are taken few, but yong Sturgeons of 2 foot or a yard long. From thence till the
midst of September, them of 2 or three yards long and fewe others. And in 4 or 5
houres with one nette were ordinarily taken 7 or 8: often more, seldome lesse.
In the small rivers all the yeare there is good plentie of small fish, so that
with hookes those that would take paines had sufficient. 37.
Foureteen miles Northward from the river
Powhatan, is the river Pamaunke, which is navigable 60 or 70 myles,
but with Catches and small Barkes 30 or 40 myles farther. At the ordinary
flowing of the salt water, it divideth it selfe into two gallant branches.38.
On the South side inhabit the people of
Youghtanund, who have about 60 men for warres. On the North branch
Mattapament, who have 30 men. Where this river is divided, the Country is
called Pamaunke, and nourisheth neere 300 able men. About 25 miles lower
on the North side of this river is Werawcomoco, where their great King
inhabited when Captain Smith was delivered him prisoner; yet there are not
past 40 able men. But now he hath abandoned that, and liveth at Orapakes
by Youghtanund in the wildernesse. 10 or 12 myles lower, on the South
side of this river is Chiskiack, which hath some 40 or 50 men. These, as
also Apamatuck, Irrphatock, and Powhatan, are their great kings
chiefe alliance and inhabitance. The rest (as they report) his Conquests.39.
Before we come to the third river that
falleth from the mountaines, there is another river (some 30 myles
navigable) that commeth from the Inland: the river is called
Payankatake, the Inhabitants are about some 40 serviceable men. 40.
The third navigable river is called
Toppahanock. (This is navigable some 130 myles.) At the top of it
inhabit the people called Mannahoackes amongst the mountaines, but they
are above the place we describe.41.
Upon this river on the North side are
seated a people called Cuttatawomen, with 30 fighting men. Higher on the
river are the Moraughtacunds, with 80 able men. Beyond them
Toppahanock with 100 men. Far above is another Cuttatawomen with
20 men. On the South, far within the river is Nautaughtacund having 150
men. This river also, as the two former, is replenished with fish and foule.
The fourth river is called
Patawomeke and is 6 or 7 miles in breadth. It is navigable 140 miles,
and fed as the rest with many sweet rivers and springs, which fall from the
bordring hils. These hils many of them are planted, and yeelde no lesse plenty
and variety of fruit then the river exceedeth with abundance of fish. 43.
This river is inhabited on both sides.
First on the South side at the very entrance is Wighcomoco and hath some
130 men: beyond them Sekacawone with 30. The Onawmanient with 100.
Then Patawomeke with 160 able men. 44.
Here doth the river divide it selfe into
3 or 4 convenient rivers; the greatest of the least is called Quiyough
treadeth north west, but the river it selfe turneth North east and is
stil a navigable streame. On the westerne side of this bought is
Tauxenent with 40 men. On the north of this river is Secowcomoco
with 40 men. Some what further Potapoco with 20. In the East part of the
bought of the river is Pamacack with 60 men. After, Moyowances
with 100. And lastly, Nacotchtanke with 80 able men. The river 10 miles
above this place maketh his passage downe a low pleasant vally overshaddowed in
mainie places with high rocky mountaines; from whence distill innumerable sweet
and pleasant springs. 45.
The fifth river is called
Pawtuxunt, and is of a lesse proportion then the rest; but the channell
is 16 or 18 fadome deepe in some places. Here are infinit skuls of divers kinds
of fish more then elsewhere. 46.
Upon this river dwell the people called
Acquintanacksuak, Pawtuxunt and Mattapanient. 200 men was the
greatest strength that could bee there perceived. But they inhabit togither, and
not so dispersed as the rest. These of al other were found the most civil to
give intertainement. 47.
Thirty leagues Northward is a river not
inhabited, yet navigable; for the red earth or clay resembling bole
Armoniack, the English called it Bolus. 48.
There is one that commeth du[e]
north, 3 or 4 daies journy from the head of the Bay, and fals from rocks and
mountaines. Upon this river inhabit a people called Sasquesahanock.49.
They are seated 2 daies higher then was
passage for the discoverers Barge, which was hardly 2 toons, and had in it but
12 men to perform this discovery, wherein they lay above the space of 12 weekes
upon those great waters in those unknowne Countries, having nothing but a little
meale or oatmeale and water to feed them; and scarse halfe sufficient of that
for halfe that time, but that by the Savages and by the plentie of fish they
found in all places, they made themselves provision as opportunitie served; yet
had they not a marriner or any that had skill to trim their sayles, use their
oares, or any businesse belonging to the Barge, but 2 or 3. The rest being
Gentlemen or as ignorant in such toyle and labour; yet necessitie in a short
time, by their Captaines diligence and example, taught them to become so
perfect, that what they did by such small meanes, I leave to the censure of the
Reader to judge by this discourse and the annexed Map. 50.
But to proceed, 60 of those
Sasquesahanocks came to the discoverers with skins, Bowes, Arrowes,
Targets, Beads, Swords, and Tobacco pipes for presents. Such great and well
proportioned men, are seldome seene, for they seemed like Giants to the English,
yea and to the neighbours: yet seemed of an honest and simple disposition, with
much adoe restrained from adoring the discoverers as Gods. Those are the most
strange people of all those Countries, both in language and attire; for their
language it may well beseeme their proportions, sounding from them, as it were a
great voice in a vault, or cave, as an Eccho. Their attire is the skinnes of
Beares and Woolves, some have Cassacks made of Beares heades and skinnes that a
mans necke goes through the skinnes neck, and the eares of the beare fastned to
his shoulders behind, the nose and teeth hanging downe his breast, and at the
end of the nose hung a Beares Pawe: the halfe sleeves coming to the elbowes were
the neckes of Beares and the armes through the mouth, with pawes hanging at
their noses. One had the head of a Woolfe hanging in a chaine for a Jewell; his
Tobacco pipe 3 quarters of a yard long, prettily carved with a Bird, a Beare, a
Deare, or some such devise at the great end, sufficient to beat out the braines
of a man: with bowes, and arrowes, and clubs, sutable to their greatnesse and
Theses are scarse known to
Powhatan. They can make neere 600 able and mighty men, and are
pallisadoed in their Townes to defend them from the Massawomekes their
mortall enimies. 5 of their chiefe Werowances came aboard the
discoverers, and crossed the Bay in their Barge. The picture of the
greatest of them is signified in the Mappe. The calfe of whose le was 3 quarters
of a yard about: and all the rest of his limbes so answerable to that
proportion, that he seemed the godliest man that ever we beheld. His haire, the
one side was long, the other shore close with a ridge over his crown like a
cocks combe. His arrowes were five quarters long, headed with flints or
splinters of stones, in forme like a heart, an inch broad, and an inch and a
halfe or more long. These hee wore in a woolves skinne at his backe for his
quiver, his bow in the one hand and his clubbe in the other, as is described.
On the East side the Bay is the
river of Tockwhogh, and upon it a people that can make 100 men, seated
some 7 miles within the river: where they have a Fort very wel pallisadoed and
mantelled with the barke of trees. Next to them is Ozinies with 60 men.
More to the South of that East side of the Bay, the river of
Rapahanock; neere unto which is the river of Kuskarawaock, upon
which is seated a people with 200 men. After that is the river of Tants
Wighcomoco, and on it a people with 100 men. 53.
The people of those rivers are of little
stature, of another language from the rest, and very rude. But they on the river
of Acohanock with 40 men, and they of Acomack 80 men, doth
equalize any of the Territories of Powhatan and speake his language; who
over all those doth rule as king.54.
Southward they went to some parts of
Chawonock and the Mangoags, to search them there left by Sir
Walter Raleigh; for those parts to the Towne of Chisapeack, hath
formerly been discovered by Maister Heriots and Sir Ralph
Amongst those people are thus many
severall nations of sundry languages, that environ Powhatans Territories.
The Chawonokes. the Mangoags, the Monacans, the
Mannahokes, the Masawomekes, the Powhatans, the
Sasquesahanocks, the Atquanachukes, the Tockwoghes, and the
Kuscarawaokes. Al those not understandeth another but by Interpreters.
Their severall habitations are more plainly described by this annexed Mappe,
which will present to the eie, the way of the mountaines and current of the
rivers, with their severall turnings, bays, shoules, Isles, Inlets, and creekes,
the breadth of the waters, the distances of places and such like. In which Mappe
observe this, that as far as you see the little Crosses on rivers, mountaines,
or other places, have been discovered; the rest was had by information of the
Savages, and are set down according to their instructions. 56.
Of such things which are naturall in
Virginia and how they use them.
Virginia doth afford many
excellent vegitables and living Creatures, yet grasse there is little or none
but what groweth in lowe Marishes: for all the Countrey is overgrowne with
trees, whose droppings continually turneth their grasse to weedes, by reason of
rancknesse of the ground; which would soone be amended by good husbandry. The
wood that is most common is Oke and Walnut: many of their Okes are so tall and
straight, that they will beare two foot and a halfe square of good timber for 20
yards long. Of this wood there is 2 or 3 severall kinds. The Acornes of one
kind, whose barke is more white then the other, is somehwat sweetish; which
being boyled halfe a day in severall waters, at last afford a sweete oyle, which
they keep in goards to annoint their heads and joints. The fruit they eate, made
in bread or otherwise. 58.
There is also some Elme, some black
walnut trees, and some Ash: of Ash and Elme they make sope Ashes. If the trees
be very great, the ashes will be good, and melt to hard lumps: but if they be
small, it will be but powder, and not so good as the other. 59.
Of walnuts there is 2 or 3 kindes: there
is a kinde of wood we called Cypres, because both the wood, the fruit, the leafe
did most resemble it; and of those trees there are some neere 3 fadome about at
the root, very straight, and 50, 60, or 80 foot without a braunch. 60.
By the dwelling of the Savages
are some great Mulbery trees; and in some parts of the Countrey, they are found
growing naturally in prettie groves. There was an assay made to make silke, and
surely the wormes prospered excellent well, till the master workeman fell sicke:
during which time, they were eaten with rats. 61.
In some parts, were found some Chestnuts
whose wild fruit equalize the best in France, Spaine,
Italy, to their tasts that had tasted them all. 62.
Plumbs there are of 3 sorts. The red and
white are like our hedge plumbs: but the other, which they call
Putchamins, grow as high as a Palmeta. The fruit is like a medler;
it is first greene, then yellow, and red when it is ripe: if it be not ripe it
will drawe a mans mouth awrie with much torment; but when it is ripe, it is as
delicious as an Apricock. 63.
They have Cherries, and those are much
like a Damsen; but for their tastes and colour, we called them Cherries. We some
few Crabs, but very small and bitter. 64.
Of vines, great abundance in many parts,
that climbe the toppes of the highest trees in some places, but these beare but
fewe grapes. But by the rivers and Savage habitations where they are not
overshadowed from the sunne, they are covered with fruit, though never pruined
or manured. Of those hedge grapes, wee made neere 20 gallons of wine, which was
neare as good as your French Brittish wine, but certainely they would prove good
were they well manured. 65.
There is another sort of grape neere as
great as a Cherry, this they call Messaminnes; they bee fatte, and the
juyce thicke: neither doth the tast so well please when they are made in wine.
They have a small fruit growing on
little trees, husked like a Chestnut, but the fruit most like a very small
acorne. This they call Chechinquamins, which they esteeme a great
daintie. They have a berry much like our gooseberry, in greatnesse, colour, and
tast; those they call Rawcomenes, and doe eat them raw or boyled.67.
Of these naturall fruits they live a
great part of the yeare, which they use in this manner. The walnuts,
Chestnuts, Acornes, and Chechinquamens are dryed to keepe. When they need
them, they breake them betweene two stones, yet some part of the walnut shels
will cleave to the fruit. Then doe they dry them againe upon a mat over a
hurdle. After, they put it into a morter of wood, and beat it very small: that
done, they mix it with water, that the shels may sinke to the bottome. This
water will be coloured as milke; which they cal Pawcohiscora, and keepe
it for their use. 68.
The fruit like medlers, they call
Putchamins, they cast uppon hurdles on a mat, and preserve them as
Pruines. Of their Chesnuts and Chechinquamens boyled 4 houres,
they make both broath and bread for their chiefe men, or at their greatest
Besides those fruit trees, there is a
white populer, and another tree like unto it, that yeeldeth a very cleere
and an odoriferous Gumme like Turpentine,
which some called Balsom. There
are also Cedars and Saxafras trees. They also yeeld gummes in a
small proportion of themselves. Wee tried conclusions to extract it out of the
wood, but nature afforded more then our arts. 70.
In the watry valleyes groweth a
berry, which they call Ocoughtanamnis, very much like unto Capers.
These they dry in sommer. When they will eat them, they boile them neare halfe a
day; for otherwise they differ not much from poyson. Mattoume groweth as
our bents do in meddows. The seede is not much unlike to rie, though much
smaller. This they use for a dainty bread buttered with deare suet. 71.
During Somer there are either
strawberries which ripen in April; or mulberries which ripen in May and
June. Raspises hurres; or a fruit that the Inhabitants call Maracocks,
which is a pleasant wholsome fruit much like a lemond. 72.
Many hearbes in the spring time
there are commonly dispersed throughout the woods, good for brothes and sallets,
as Violets, Purslin, Sorrell, … c. Besides many we used whose names we know
The chiefe roote they have for foode is
called Tockawhoughe. It groweth like a flagge in low muddy freshes. In
one day a Savage will gather sufficient for a weeke. These rootes are
much of the greatnes and taste of Potatos. They use to cover a great many
of them with oke leaves and ferne, and then cover all with earth in the manner
of a colepit; over it, on each side, they continue a great fire 24 houres before
they dare eat it. Raw it is no better then poison, and being roasted, except it
be tender and the heat abated, or sliced and dried in the sun, mixed with
sorrell and meale or such like, it will prickle and torment the throat
extreamely, and yet in sommer they use this ordinarily for bread. 74.
They have an other roote which
they call wighsacan: as th other feedeth the body, so this cureth their
hurts and diseases. It is a small root which they bruise and apply to the wound.
Pocones is a small roote that groweth in the mountaines, which being
dryed and beate in powder turneth red: and this they use for swellings, aches,
annointing their joints, painting their heads and garments. They account it very
pretious and of much worth. Musquaspenne is a roote of the bignesse of a
finger, and as red as bloud. In drying, it will wither almost to nothing. This
they use to paint their Mattes, Targets, and such like. 75.
There is also Pellitory of Spaine,
Sasafrage, and divers other simples, which the Apothecaries gathered, and
commended to be good and medicinable.76.
In the low Marishes, growe plots of
Onyons containing an acre of ground or more in many places; but they are
small, not past the bignesse of the Toppe of ones Thumbe. 77.
Of beastes the chiefe are Deare,
nothing differing from ours. In the deserts towards the heads of the rivers,
ther are many, but amongst the rivers few. 78.
There is a beast they call Aroughcun,
much like a badger, but useth to live on trees as Squirrels doe. Their
Squirrels some as neare as greate as our smallest sort of wilde rabbits;
some blackish or blacke and white, but the most are gray. 79.
A small beast they have, they call
Assapanick, but we call them flying squirrels, because spreading their legs,
and so stretching the largenesse of their skins that they have bin seene to fly
30 or 40 yards. An Opassom hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a
Rat, and is of the bigness of a cat. Under her belly shee hath a bagge,
wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young. Mussascuss is a
beast of the forme and nature of our water Rats, but many of them smell
exceeding strong of muske. Their Hares no bigger than our Conies, and few of
them to be found. 80.
Their Beares are very little in
comparison of those of Muscovia and
Tartaria. The Beaver is
as bigge as an ordinary water dogge, but his legges exceeding short. His fore
feete like a dogs, his hinder feet like a Swans. His taile somewhat like the
forme of a Racket bare without haire; which to eate, the Savages esteeme
a great delicate. They have many Otters, which, as the Beavers, they take
with snares, and esteeme the skinnes great ornaments; and of all those beasts
they use to feede, when they catch them. 81.
There is also a beast they call
Vetchunquoyes in the forme of a wilde Cat. Their Foxes are like our
silver haired Conies, of a small proportion, and not smelling like those in
England. Their Dogges of that country are like their Wolves,
barke but howle; and their wolves not much better then our English Foxes.
Martins, Powlecats, weessels and Minkes we know they have, because we
have seen many of their skinnes, though very seldome any of them alive. 82.
But one thing is strange, that we
could never perceive their vermine destroy our hennes, egges, nor
chickens, nor do any hurt: nor their flyes nor serpents anie waie
pernitious; where in the South parts of America, they are alwaies
dangerous and often deadly.83.
Of birds, the Eagle is the greatest
devourer. Hawkes there be of diverse sorts as our Falconers called them,
Goshawkes, Falcons and
Osperayes; but they
all pray most upon fish. Patrridges there are little bigger then our
Quailes, wilde Turkies are as bigge as our tame. There are woosels or blackbirds
with red shoulders, thrushes, and diverse sorts of small birds, some red, some
blew, scarce so bigge as a wrenne, but few in Sommer. In winter there are great
plenty of Swans, Craynes gray and white with blacke wings, Herons, Geese,
Brants, Ducke, Wigeon, Dotterell, Oxeies, Parrats, and Pigeons. Of all those
sorts great abundance, and some other strange kinds to us unknowne by name. But
in sommer not any, or a very few to be seene.84.
Of fish were best acquainted with
Porpos, Seales, Stingraies whose tailes are very
dangerous. Brettes, mullets, white Salmonds, Trowts, Soles, Plaice, Herrings,
Conyfish, Rockfish, Eeles, Lampreyes, Catfish, Shades, Pearch of 3 sorts, Crabs,
Shrimps, Creuises, Oysters, Cocles, and Muscles. But the most strange fish is a
smal one so like the picture of S. George his Dragon, as possible can be,
except his legs and wings: and the Todefish which will swell till it be like to
brust, when it commeth into the aire. 85.
Concerning the entrailes of the earth
little can be saide for certainty. There wanted good Refiners: for these that
tooke upon them to have skill this way, tooke up the washings from the
mounetaines and some moskered shining stones and spangles which the waters
brought down; flattering themselves in their own vaine conceits to have bin
supposed that they were not, by the meanes of that ore, if it proved as their
arts and judgements expected. Only this is certaine, that many regions lying in
the same latitude, afford mines very rich of diverse natures. The crust also of
these rockes would easily persuade a man to beleeve there are other mines then
iron and steele, if there were but meanes and men of experience that knew the
mine from spare.86.
Of their Planted fruits in Virginia
and how they use them.
They divide the yeare into 5 seasons.
Their winter some call Popanow, the spring Cattapeuk, the sommer
Cohattayough, the earing of their Corne Nepinough, the harvest and
fall of leafe Taquitock. From September untill the midst of November are
the chiefe Feasts and sacrifice. Then have they plenty of fruits as well planted
as naturall, as corne greene and ripe, fish, fowle, and wilde beasts exceeding
The greatest labour they take, is in
planting their corne, for the country naturally is overgrowne with wood. To
prepare the ground they bruise the barke of the trees neare the root, then do
they scortch the roots with fire that they grow no more. 89.
The next yeare with a crooked peece of
wood, they beat up the woodes by the rootes; and in that [those] moulds, they plant
their corne. Their manner is this. They make a hole in the earth with a sticke,
and into it they put 4 graines of wheat and 2 of beanes. These holes they make 4
foote one from another. Their women and children do continually keepe it with
weeding, and when it is growne midle high, they hill it about like a
In Aprill they begin to plant, but their
chiefe plantation is in May, and so they continue till the midst of June. What
they plany in Aprill they reape in August, for May in September, for June in
October. Every stalke of their corne commonly beareth two eares, some 3, seldome
any 4, many but one, and some none. Every eare ordinarily hath betwixt 200 and
500 graines. The stalke being green hath a sweet juice in it, somewhat like a
sugar Cane, which is the cause that when they gather their corne greene, they
sucke the stalkes: for as wee gather greene pease, so doe they their corne being
greene, which excelleth their old. 91.
They plant also pease they cal
Assentamens, which are the same they cal in Italye,
Beanes are the same the Turkes call Garnanses, but these they much
esteeme for dainties. 92.
Their corne they rost in the eare
greene, and bruising it in a morter with a Polt, lappe it in rowles in the
leaves of their corne, and so boyle it for a daintie. They also reserve that
corne late planted that will not ripe, by roasting it in hot ashes, the heat
thereof drying it. In winter they esteeme it being boyled with beans for a rare
dish, they call Pausarowmena. Their old wheat they first steep a night in
hot water, in the morning pounding it in a morter. They use a small basket for
their Temmes, then pound againe the great, and so separating by dashing their
hand in the basket, receave the flower in a platter made of wood scraped to that
forme with burning and shels. Tempering this flower with water, they make it
either in cakes, covering them with ashes till they bee baked, and then washing
them in faire water, they drie presently with their owne heat: or else boyle
them in water eating the broth with the bread which they call Ponap93.
The grouts and peeces of the cornes
remaining, by fanning in a Platter or in the wind away the branne, they boile 3
or 4 houres with water; which is an ordinary food they call Vstatahamen.
But some more thrifty then cleanly, doe burne the core of the eare to powder
which they call Pungnough, mingling that in their meale; but it never
tasted well in bread, nor broth. 94.
Their fish and flesh they boyle either
very tenderly, or broyle it so long on hurdles over the fire; or else, after the
Spanish fashion, putting it on a spit, they turne first the one side,
then the other, til it be as drie as their jerkin beefe in the west
Indies, that they may keepe it a month or more without putrifying. The
broth of fish or flesh they eate as commonly as the meat. 95.
In May also amongst their corne, they
plant Pumpeons, and a fruit like unto a muske millen, but lesse and worse; which
they call Macocks. These increase exceedingly, and ripen in the beginning
of July, and continue until September. They plant also Maracocks a wild
fruit like a lemmon, which also increase infinitely : they begin to ripe in
September and continue till the end of October. 96.
When all their fruits be gathered,
little els they plant, and this is done by their women and children; neither
doth this long suffice them: for neere 3 parts of the yeare, they only observe
times and seasons, and live of what the Country naturally affordeth from hand to
mout, … c. 97.
The commodities in Virginia or that
may be had by industrie.
The mildnesse of the aire, the
fertilitie of the soile, and the situation of the rivers are so propitious to
the nature and use of man as no place is more convenient for pleasure, profit,
and mans sustenance. Under that latitude or climat, here will live any beasts,
as horses, goats, sheep, asses, hens, … c. as appeared by them that were
carried thither. The waters, Isles, and shoales, are full of safe harbours for
ships of warre or merchandize, for boats of all sortes, for transportation or
fishing, … c. 99.
The Bay and rivers have much
marchandable fish and places fit for Salt coats, building of ships, making of
iron, … c. 100.
Muscovia and Polonia doe
yearely receave many thousands, for pitch, tarre, sope ashes, Rosen, Flax,
Cordage, Sturgeon, masts, yards, wainscot, Firres, glasse, and such like; also
Swethland for iron and copper. France in like manner, for Wine,
Canvas, and Salt; Spaine as much for Iron, Steele, Figges, Reasons, and
Sackes. Italywith Silkes and Velvets, consumes our chiefe commodities.
Hol[l]and maintaines it selfe by fishing and trading at our owne doores. All
these temporize with other for necessities, but all as uncertaine as peace or
warres: besides the charge, travell, and danger in transporting them, by seas,
lands, stormes, and Pyrats. Then how much hath Virginia the perogative of
all those flourishing kingdomes for the benefit of our land, when as within one
hundred miles all those are to bee had, either ready provided by nature, or else
to bee prepared, where there but industrious men to labour. Only of Copper wee
may doubt is wanting, but there is good probabilitie that both copper and better
munerals are there to be had for their labor. Other Countries have it. So then
here is a place a nurse for souldiers, a practise for marriners, a trade for
marchants, a reward for the good, and that whish is most of all, a businesse
(most acceptable to God) to bring such poore infidels to the true knowledge of
God and his holy Gospell. 101.
Of the naturall Inhabitants of
The land is not populous, for the men be
fewe; their far greater number is of women and children. Within 60 miles of
James Towne there are about some 5000 people, but of able men fit for
their warres scarse 1500. To nourish so many together they have yet no means,
because they make so smal a benefit of their land, be it never so fertill. 102.
6 or 700 have beene the most hath beene
seene together, when they gathered themselves to have surprised Captaine
Smyth at Pamaunke, having but 15 to withstand the worst of their
furie. As small as the proportion of ground that hath yet beene discovered, is
in comparison of that yet unknowne. The people differ very much in stature,
especially in language, as before is expressed. 103.
Some being very great as the
Sesquesahamocks, others very little as the Wighcocomocoes: but
generally tall and straight, of a comely proportion, and of a colour browne when
they are of any age, but they are borne white. Their haire is generally black;
but few have any beards. The men weare halfe their heads shaven, the other halfe
long. For Barbers they use their women, who with 2 shels will grate away the
haire, of any fashion they please. The women are cut in many fashions agreeable
to their yeares, but ever some part remaineth long. 104.
They are very strong, of an able body and full of agilitie, able to endure to lie in the woods under a tree by the fire,
in the worst of winter, or in the weedes and grasse, in Ambuscado in the Sommer.105.
They are inconstant in everie thing, but
what feare constraineth them to keepe. Craftie, timerous, quicke of apprehension
and very ingenuous. Some are of disposition fearefull, some bold, most
cautelous, all Savage. Generally covetous of copper, beads, and such like
trash. They are soone moved to anger, and so malitious, that they seldome forget
an injury: they seldome steale one from another, least their conjurers should
reveale it, and so they be pursued and punished. That they are thus feared is
certaine, but that any can reveale their offences by conjuration I am doubtfull.
Their women are carefull not to bee suspected of dishonesty without the leave of
their husbands. 106.
Each houshold knoweth their owne lands
and gardens, and must live of their owne labours.107.
For their apparell, they are some time
covered with the skinnes of wilde beasts, which in winter are dressed with the
haire, but in sommer without. The better sort use large mantels of deare skins
not much differing in fashion from the Irish mantels. Some imbroidered with
white beads, some with copper, other painted after their manner. But the common
sort have scarce to cover their nakednesse but with grasse, the leaves of trees,
or such like. We have seen some use mantels made of Turky feathers, so prettily
wrought and woven with threeds that nothing could bee discerned but the
feathers, that was exceeding warme and very handsome. But the women are alwaies
covered about their midles with a skin and very shamefast to be seene bare. 108.
They adorne themselves most with copper
beads and paintings. Their women some have their legs, hands, brests and face
cunningly imbrodered with diverse workes, as beasts, serpentes, artificially
wrought into their flesh with blacke spots. In each eare commonly they have 3
great holes, whereat they hange chaines, bracelets, or copper. Some of their men
weare in those holes, a smal greene and yellow coloured snake, neare halfe a
yard in length, which crawling and lapping her selfe about his necke often times
familiarly would kiss his lips. Others wear a dead Rat tied by the tail. Some on
their heads weare the wing of a bird or some large feather, with a Rattell.
Those Rattels are somewhat like the chape of a Rapier but lesse, which they take
from the taile of a snake. Many have the whole skinne of a hawke or some strange
fowle, stuffed with the wings abroad. Others a broad peece of copper, and some
the hand of their enemy dryed. Their heads amd shoulders are painted red with
roote Pocone braied to powder mixed with oyle; this they hold in somer to
preserve them from the heate, and in winter from the cold. Many other formes of
paintings they use, but he is the most gallant that is the most monstrous to
Their buildings and habitations are for
the most part by the rivers or not farre distant from some fresh spring. Their
houses are built like our Arbors of small young springs bowed and tued, and so
close covered with mats or the barkes of trees very handsomely, that
notwithstanding either winde raine or weather, they are as warme as stooves, but
very smoaky; yet at the toppe of the house there is a hole made for the smoake
to goe into right over the fire.110.
Against the fire they lie on little
hurdles of Reedes covered with a mat, borne from the ground a foote and more by
a hurdle of wood. On these round about the house, they lie heads and points one
by th other against the fire: some covered with mats, some with skins, and some
starke naked lie on the ground: from 6 to 20 in a house. 111.
Their houses are in the midst of their
fields or gardens; which are smal plots of ground, some 20, some 40 , some 100
some 200 some more, some lesse. Some times from 2 to 100 of these houses
togither, or but a little separated by groves of trees. Neare their habitations
is little small wood, or old trees on the ground, by reason of their burning of
them for fire. So that a man may gallop a horse amongst these woods any waie,
but where the creekes or Rivers shall hinder. 112.
Men women and children have their
severall names according to their severall humor of their Parents. Their women
(they say) are easilie delivered of childe, yet doe they love children verie
dearly. To make them hardy, in the coldest mornings they wash them in the
rivers, and by painting and ointments so tanne their skins, that after year or
two, no weather will hurt them. 113.
The men bestowe their times in fishing,
hunting, wars, and such manlike exercises scorning to be seene in any woman like
exercises, scorning to be seene in any woman like exercise; which is the cause
that the women be verie painefull and the men often idle. The women and children
do the rest of the worke. They make mats, baskets, pots, morters; pound their
corne, make their bread, prepare their victuals, plant their corne, gather their
corne, beare al kind of burdens, and such like. 114.
Their fire they kindle presently by
chafing a dry ponted sticke in a hole of a little square peece of wood, that
firing it selfe, will so fire mosse, leaves, or anie such like drie thing that
will quickly burne. 115.
In March and Aprill they live much upon
their fishing, weares; and feed on fish, Turkies and squirrels. In May and June
they plant their fieldes; and live most of Acornes, walnuts, and fish. But to
mend their diet, some disperse themselves in small companies, and live upon
fosh, beasts, crabs, oysters, land Torteyses, strawberries, mulberries, and such
like. In June, Julie, and August, they feed upon the rootes of Tocknough,
berries, fish, and greene wheat.116.
It is strange to see how their bodies
alter with their diet; even as the deare and wilde beastes, they seeme fat and
leane, strong and weak. Powhatan their great king and some others that
are provident, rost their fish and flesh upon hurdles as before is expressed and
leepe it till scarce time. 117.
For fishing and hunting and warres they
use much their bow and arrowes. They bring their bowes to the forme of ours by
the scraping of a shell. Their arrowes are made, some of straight young sprigs,
which they head with bone some 2 or 3 inches long. These they use to shoot at
squirrels on trees. An other sort of arrowes they use, madde of reeds. These are
peeced with wood, headed with splinters of christall or some sharpe stone, the
spurres of a Turkey, or the bill of some bird. For his knife, he hath the
splinter of a reed to cut his feathers in forme. With this knife also, he will
joint a Deare or any beast; shape his shooes, buskins, mantels, … c. To make
the noch of his arrow hee hath the tooth of a Beuer set in a sticke, wherewith
he grateth it by degrees. His arrow head he quickly maketh with a little bone,
which he ever weareth at his bracer, of any splint of a stone, or glasse in the
forme of a hart; and these they glew to the end of their arrowes. With the
sinewes of Deare, and the tops of Deares hornes boiled to a jelly, they make a
glew that will not dissolve in cold water. 118.
For their wars also they use Targets
that are round and made of the barkes of trees, and a sworde of wood at their
backs, but oftentimes they use for swords the horne of a Deare put through a
peece of wood in forme of a Pickaxe. Some, a long stone sharpened at bothe ends
used in the same manner. This they were wint to use also for hatchets, but now
by trucking they have plenty of the same forme, of iron. And those are their
chiefe instruments and armes. 119.
Their fishing is much in Boats. These
they make of one tree by bowing and scratching away the coles with stons and
shels till they have made it in forme of a Trough. Some of them are an elne
deepe, and 40 or 50 foot in length, and some will beare 40 men; but the most
ordinary are smaller, and will beare 10, 20, or 30 according to their bignes.
Insteed of oares, they use paddles and sticks, with which they will row faster
then our Barges. 120.
Betwixt their hands and thighes, their
women use to spin the barks of trees, deare sinews, or a kind of grasse they
call Pemmenaw; of these they make a thred very even and readily. This
thred serveth for many uses, as about their housing, apparell; as also they make
nets for fishing, for the quantity as formally braded as ours. They also make
with it lines for angles. 121.
Their hookes are either a bone grated,
as they nock their arrows, in the forme of a crooked pinne or fishhook; or of
the splinter of a bone tied to the clift of a litle stick, and with the ende of
the line, they tie on the bate. 122.
They use also long arrowes tyed ina line
wherewith they shoote at fish in the rivers. But they of Accawmack use
staves like unto Javelins headed with a bone. With these they dart fish swimming
in the water. They have also many artificiall weares in which they get abundance
of fish. 123.
In their hunting and fishing they take
extreame paines; yet it being their ordinary exercise from their infancy, they
esteeme it a pleasure and are very proud to be expert therein. And by their
continuall ranging, and travel, they know all the advantages and places most
frequented with Deare, Beasts, Fish, Foule, Roores, and Berris. At their
huntings they leave their habitations, and reduce themselves into companies, as
the Tartars doe, and goe to the most desert places with their families,
where they spend their time in hunting and fowling up towards the mountaines, by
the heads of their rivers, where there is plentie of game. For betwixt the
rivers, the grounds are so narrowe, that little commeth there which they devoure
not. It is a marvel they can so directly passe these deserts, some 3 or 4 daies
journey without habitation. Their hunting houses are like unto Arbours covered
with mats. These their women beare after them, with Corne, Acornes, Morters, and
all bag and baggage they use. When they come to the place of exercise, every man
doth his best to shew his dexteritie, for by their excelling in those qualities,
they get their wives. Forty yards will they shoot levell, or very neare the
mark, and 120 is their best at Random. At their huntings in the deserts they are
commonly 2 or 300 together. Having found the Deare, they environ them with many
fires, and betwixt the fires they place themselves. And some take their stands
in the midst. The Deare being thus feared by the fires and their voices, they
chace thems o long within that circle, that many times they kill 6,8, 10, or 15
at a hunting. They use also to drive them into some narrowe point of land, when
they find that advantage; and so force them into the river, where with their
boats they have Ambuscadoes to kill them. When they have shot a Deare by
land, they follow him like blood hounds by the blood and straine, and oftentimes
so take them. Hares, Pattridges, Turkies, or Egges, fat or leane, young or old,
they devoure all they can catch in their power. 124.
In one of these huntings, they found
Captaine Smith in the discoverie of the head of the river of
Chickahamania, where they slew his men, and tooke him prisoner in a
Bogmire; where he saw those exercises, and gathered these observations. 125.
One Savage hunting alone, useth the
skinne of a Deare slit on the side, and so put on his arme, through the neck, so
that his hand comes to the head which his stuffed; and the hornes, head, eies,
eares, and every part as arteficially counterfeited as they can devise. Thus
shrowding his body in the skinne, by stalking he approacheth the Deare, creeping
on the ground from one tree to another. If the Deare chance to find fault, or
stande at gaze, hee turneth the head with his hand to his best advantage to
seeme like a Deare, also gazing and licking himselfe. So watching his best
advantage to approach, having shot him, hee causeth him by his blood and straine
till he get him. 126.
When they intend any warres, the
Werowances usually have the advice of their Priests and Conjurers, and
their Allies and ancient friends; but chiefely the Priestes determined their
resolution. Every Werowance, or some lustie fellow, they appoint Captaine
over every nation. They seldome make warre for lands or goods, but for women and
children, and principally for revenge. They have many enimies, namely all their
westernely Countries beyond the mountaines, and the heads of the rivers. Upon
the head of the Powhatans are the Monacans, whose chiefe
habitation is at Russawmeake; unto whom the Mouhemenchughes, the
Massinnacacks, the Monahassanuggs, and other nations, pay
Upon the head of the river of
Toppahanock is a people called Mannahoacks. To these are
contributors the Tauxsnitanias, the Shackaconias, the
Outponcas, the Tegoneaes, the Whonkntyaes, the
Stegarakes, the Hassinnungas, and diverse others; all confederats
with the Monacans, though many different in language, and be very
barbarous, living for most part of wild beasts and fruits.128.
Beyond the mountaines from whence is the
head of the river Patawomeke, the Savages report, inhabit their most
mortall enimies, the Massawomekes upon a great salt water, which by all
likelyhood is either some part of Commada, some great lake, or some inlet
of some sea that falleth into the South sea. These Massawomekes are a
great nation and very populous. For the heads of all those rivers, especially
the Pattawomekes, the Pautuxuntes,
the Sasquesahanocks, the
Tockwoughes, are continually tormented by them: of whose crueltie, they
generally complained, and bery importunate they were with Captaine Smith
and his company, to free them from these tormentors. To this purpose, they
offered food, conduct, assistance, and continuall subjection. 129.
To which he concluded to effect. But the
counsell then present, emulating his successe, would not thinke it fit to spare
him 40 men to be hazarded in those unknowne regions; having passed (as before
was spoken of) but with 12, and so was lost that opportunitie.130.
Seaven boats full of these
Massawomeks the discoverers encountred at the head of the Bay;
whose Targets, Baskets, Swords, Tobaccopipes, Platters, Bowes and Arrowes, and
every thing shewed, they much exceeded them of our parts: and their dexteritie
in their small boats made of the barkes of trees sowed with barke, and well
luted with gumme, argueth that they are seated upon some great water. 131.
Against all these enimies the
Powhatans are constained sometimes to fight. Their chiefe attempts are by
Stratagems, trecheries, or surprisals. Yet the Werowances, women and
children, they put not to death; but keepe them Captives. They have a method in
warre, and for our pleasures, they shewed it us; and it was in this manner
performed at Mattapanient. 132.
Having painted and disguised themselves
in the fiercest manner they could devise, they divided themselves into two
Companies, neare a 100 in a company. The one company called Monacans, the
other Powhatans. Either army had their Captaine. These as enimies tooke
their stands a musket shot one from another; ranked themselves 15 a breast, and
each ranke from another 4 or 5 yards; not in fyle, but in the opening betwixt
their fyles, so as the Reare could shoot as conveniently as the Front. 133.
Having thus pitched the fields; from
either part went a Messenger with these conditions: that whosoever were
vanquished, such as escape, upon their submission in 2 daies after, should live;
but their wives and children should be prize for the Conquerors. 134.
The messengers were no sooner returned,
but they approached in their orders. On each flanke a Sarieant, and in the Reare
an officer for levitent, all duly keeping their orders, yet leaping and singing
after their accustomed tune, which they use only in warres. Upon the first
flight of arrowes, they gave such horrible shouts and screeches, as though so
many infernall helhounds could not have made them more terrible. 135.
When they had spent their arrowes, they
joined together prettily, charging and retiring, every ranke seconding other. As
they got advantage, they catched their enimies by the haire of the head; and
downe he came that was taken. His enimie with his wooden sword seeme to beat out
his braines, and still they crept to the Reare, to maintaine the skirmish. 136.
The Monacans decreasing, the
Powhatans charged them in the forme of a halfe moone: they unwilling to
be inclosed, fled all in a troope to their Ambuscadoes, on whome they led
them very cunningly. The Monacans disperse themselves among the fresh
men, whereupon the Powhatans retired with al speed to their seconds;
which the Monacans seeing, took that advantage to retire againe to their
owne battell, and so each returned to their owne quarter. 137.
All their actions, voices and gestures,
both in charging and retiring, were so strained to the hight of their quallitie
and nature, that the strangenes thereof made it seem very delightfull. 138.
For their musicke they use a thicke
cane, on which they pipe as on a Recorder. For their warres, they have a great
deepe platter of wood. They cover the mouth thereof with a skin, at each corner
they tie a walnut, which meeting on the backside neere the bottome, with a small
rope they twitch them togither till it be so tought and stiffe, that they beat
upon it as upon a drumme. But their chiefe instruments are Rattels made of small
gourds or Pumpion shels. Of these they have Base, Tenor, Countertenor, Meane and
Trible. These mingled with their voices sometimes 20 or 30 togither, make such a
terrible noise as would rather affright then delight any man. 139.
If any great commander arrive at the
habitation of a Werowance, they spread a mat as the Turkes do a carpet,
for him to sit upon. Upon an other right opposite they sit themselves. Then doe
all with a tunable voice of showting bud him welcome. After this, doe 2 or more
of their chiefest men make an oration, testifying ther love. Which they do with
such vehemency and so great passions, that they sweate till they drop; and are
so out of breath they can scarce speake. So that a man would them to be
exceeding angry or starke mad. Such victuall as they have, they spend freely;
and at night where his lodging is appointed, they set a woman fresh painted red
with Pocones and oile, to be his bedfellow.140.
Their manner of trading is for copper,
beades, and such like; for which they give such commodities as they have, as
skins, fowle, fish, flesh, and their country corne. But their victuall is their
chiefest riches. 141.
Every spring they make themselves sicke
with drinking the juice of a root they call wighsacan, and water; whereof
they powre so great a quantity, that it purgeth them in a very violent maner; so
that in 3 or 4 daies after, they scarce recover their former health. 142.
Sometimes they are troubled with
dropsies, swellings, aches, and such like diseases; for cure wherof they build a
stove in the form of a dovehouse with mats, so close that a fewe coales therein
covered with a pot, will make the pacient sweate extreamely. For swellings also
they use smal peeces of touchwood, in the forme of cloves, which pricking on the
griefe, they burne close to the flesh, and from thence draw the corruption with
their mouth. With the root wighsacan they ordinarily heal greene wounds:
but to scarrifie a swelling or make incision, their best instruments are some
splinted stone. Old ulcers or putrified hurts are seldome seene cured amongst
They have many professed Phisitions, who
with their charmes and Rattels, with an infernall rowt of words and actions,
will seeme to sucke their inwarde grief from their navels or their grieved
places; but of our Chirurgians they were so conceipted, that they beleeved any
Plaister would heale any hurt. 144.
Of their Religion
There is yet in Virginia no place
discovered to bee so Savage in which the Savages have not a
religion, Deare, and Bow and Arrowes. All thinges that were able to do them hurt
beyond their prevention, they adore with their kinde of divine worship; as the
fire, water, lightning, thunder, our ordinance, peeces, horses, … c. 146.
But their chiefe God they worship is the
Divell. Him they call Oke and serve him more of feare than love. They say
they have conference with him, and fashion themselves as neare to his shape as
they can imagine. In their Temples, they have his image evill favouredly carved,
and then painted and adorned with chaines, copper, and beades; and covered with
a skin, in such manner as the deformity may well suit with such a God. 147.
By him is commonly the sepulcher of
their kings. Their bodies are first bowelled, then dryed upon hurdles till they
bee verie dry, and so about the most of their jointes and necke they hang
bracelets or chaines of copper, pearle, and such like, as they use to weare:
their inwards they stuffe with copper beads and cover with a skin, hatchets, and
such trash. Then lappe they them very carefully in white skins, and so rowle
them in mats for their winding sheetes. And in the Tombe, which is an arch made
of mats, they lay them orderly. What remaineth of this kinde of wealth their
kings have, they set at their feet in baskets. These Temples and bodies are kept
by their Priests. 148.
For their ordinary burials, they digge a
deep hole in the earth with sharpe stakes; and the corpes being lapped in skins
and mats with their jewels, they lay them upon sticks in the ground, and so
cover them with earth. The buriall ended, the women being painte all their faces
with black cole and oile, doe sit 24 howers in the houses mourning and lamenting
by turnes, with such yelling and howling as may expresse their great passions.
In every Territory of a werowance
is a Temple and a Priest 2 or 3 or more. Their principall Temple or place of
superstition is at Vttamussack at
Pamaunke, neare unto which is a
house Temple or place of Powhatans. 150.
Upon the top of certaine redde sandy
hils in the woods, there are 3 great houses filled with images of their kings
and Divels and Tombes of their Predecessors. Those houses are neare 60 foot in
length, built arbor wise, after their building. This place they count so holy as
that but the Priestes and kings dare come into them: nor the Savages dare
not go up the river in boats by it, but that they solemnly cast some peece of
copper, white beads, or Pocones, into the river, for feare their
Oke should be offended and revenged of them. 151.
In this place commonly is resident 7
Priests. The chiefe differed from the rest in his ornaments: but inferior
Priests could hardly be knowne from the common people, but that they had not so
many holes in their eares to hang their jewels at. 152.
The ornaments of the chiefe Priest was
certain attires for his head made thus. They tooke a dosen or 16 or more snake
skins, and stuffed them with mosse; and of weesels and other vermine skins, a
good many. All these they tie up by their tailes, so as all their tailes meete
in the toppe of their head, like a great Tassell. Round about this Tassell is as
it were a crown of feathers; the skins hang round about his head necke and
shoulders, and in a manner cover his face. 153.
The faces of all their Priests are
painted as ugly as they can devise. In their hands, they had every one his
Rattell, some base, some smaller. Their devotion was most in songs which the
chiefe Priest beginneth and the rest followed him: sometimes he maketh
invocations with broken sentences, by starts and strange passions, and at every
pause, the rest give a short groane. 154.
It could not bee perceived that they
keepe any day as more holy then other: but only in some great distresse, of
want, feare of enimies, times of triumph and gathering togither their fruits,
the whole country of men women and children come togither to solemnities. The
manner of their devotion is sometimes to make a great fire in the house or
fields, and all to sing and dance about it, with rattles and shouts togither, 4
or 5 houres. Sometimes they set a man in the midst, and about him they dance and
sing; he all the while clapping his hands as if he would keepe time. And after
their songs and dauncings ended, they goe to their Feasts.155.
They have also divers conjurations. One
they made when Captaine Smith was their prisoner; (as they reported) to
know if any more of his countrymen would arive there, and what he there
intended. The manner of it was thus. 156.
First they made a faire fire in a house.
About this fire set 7 Priests setting him by them; and about the fire, they made
a circle of meale. That done, the chiefe Priest attired as is expressed, began
to shake his rattle; and the rest followed him in his song. At the end of the
song, he laid downe 5 or 3 graines of wheat, and so continued counting his songs
by the graines, till 3 times they incirculed the fire. Then they divide the
graines by certaine numbers with little stickes, laying downe at the ende of
every song a little sticke. 157.
In this manner, they sat 8, 10, or 12
houres without cease, with such strange stretching of their armes, and violent
passions and gestures as might well seeme strange to him they so conjured; who
but every houre expected his end. Not any meat they did eat till, late in the
evening, they had finished this worke: and then they feasted him and themselves
with much mirth. But 3 or 4 daies they continued this ceremony. 158.
They have also certaine Altar stones
they call Pawcorances: but these stand from their Temples, some by their
houses, other in the woodes and wildernesses. Upon these, they offer blood,
deare suet, and Tobacco. These they doe when they returne from the warres, from
hunting, and upon many other occasions. 159.
They have also another superstition that
they use in stormes, when the waters are rough in the rivers and sea coasts.
Their Conjurers runne to the water sides, or passing in their boats, after many
hellish outcries and invocations, they cast Tobacco, Copper, Pocones, and
such trash into the water, to pacifie that God whome they thinke to be very
angry in those stormes. 160.
Before their dinners and suppers, the
better sort will take the first bit, and cast it in the fire; which is all the
grace they are known to use. 161.
In some part of the Country, they have
yearely a sacrifice of children. Such a one was at Quiyoughcohanock, some
10 miles from James Towne, and thus performed. 162.
Fifteene of the properest young boyes,
between 10 and 15 yeares of age, they painted white. Having brought them forth,
the people spent the forenoone in dancing and singing about them with rattles.
In the afternoone, they put those
children to the roote of a tree. By them, all the men stood in a guard, every
one having a Bastinado in his hand, made of reeds bound together. This made a
lane betweene them all along, through which there were appointed 5 young men to
fetch these children. So every one of the five went through the guard, to fetch
a child, each after other by turnes: the guard fearelessly beating them with
their Bastinadoes, and they patiently enduring and receaving all; defending the
children with their naked bodies from the unmercifell bowes they pay them
soundly, though the children escape. All this while, the women weepe and crie
out very passionately; providing mats, skinnes, mosse, and drie wood, as things
fitting their childrens funerals. 164.
After the children were thus passed the
guard, the guard tore down the tree, branches and boughs, with such violence,
that they rent the body, and made wreathes for their heads, or bedecked their
haire with the leaves. What else was done with the children was not seene; but
they were all cast on a heape in a valley, as dead: where they made a great
feast for al the company. 165.
The Werowance being demanded the
meaning of this sacrifice, answered the children were not al dad, but that the
Oke or Divell did sucke the blood from their left breast, who
chanced to be his by lot, till they were dead. But the rest were kept in the
wildernesse by the yong men till nine moneths were expired, during which time
they must not converse with any : and of these, were made their Priests and
This sacrifice they held to bee so
necessarie, that if they should omit it, their Oke or
Divel and all their
other Quiyoughcosughes (which are their other Gods) would let them have
no Deare, Turkies, Corne, nor fish: and yet besides, hee would make great
slaughter amongst them. 167.
They thinke that their Werowances
and Priests, which they also esteeme Quiyoughcosughes, when they are
dead, doe goe beyound the mountaines towardes the setting of the sun, and ever
remaine there in forme of their Oke, with their
heads painted with oile
and Pocones, finely trimmed with feathers; and shal have beades,
hatchets, copper, and tobacco, doing nothing but dance and sing with all their
But the common people, they suppose
shall not live after death. 169.
To divert them from this blind
idolatrie, many used their best indeavours, chiefly with the Werowances
of Quiyoughcohanock; whose devotion, apprehension, and good disposition
much exceeded any in those Countries: who though we could not as yet prevaile
withall to forsake his false Gods, yet this he did beleeve, that our God as much
exceeded theirs, as our Gunnes did their Bowes and Arrows; and many times did
send to the President, at James towne, men with presents, intreating them
to pray to his God for raine, for his Gods would not send him any. 170.
And in this lamentable ignorance doe
these poore souls sacrifice themselves to the Divell, not knowing their Creator.
Of the manner of the Virginians
Although the countrie people be very
barbarous; yet have they amongst them such government, as that their Magistrats
for good commanding, and their people for du subjection and obeying, excell many
places that would be counted very civill. 173.
The forme of their Comon wealth is a
monarchicall governement. One as Emperour ruleth over many kings or governours.
Their chiefe ruler is called Powhatan, and taketh his
name of the
principall place of dwelling called Powhatan. But his proper name is
Some countries he hath, which have been
his ancestors, and came unto him by inheritance, as the countrie called
Mattapanient. All the rest of his Territories expressed in the Map, they
report have beene his severall conquests. 175.
In all his ancient inheritances, hee
hath houses built after their manner like arbours; some 30, some 40 yardes long;
and at every house, provision for his entertainement, according to the time. At
Werowcomoco, he was seated upon the North side of the river
Pamaunke, some 14 miles from James Towne; where for the most part,
hee was resident, but he tooke so little pleasure in our neare neighbourhood,
that were able to visit him against his will in 6 or 7 houres, that he retired
himself to a place in the deserts at the top of the river Chickahamania
betweene Youghtanund and Powhatan. His habitation there is called
Orapacks, where he ordinarily now resideth. 176.
He is of parsonage a tall well
proportioned man, with a sower looke; his head somwhat gray, his beard so thinne
that it seemeth none at al. His age neare 60; of a very able and hardy body to
endure any labour. About his person ordinarily attendeth a guard of 40 or 50 of
the tallest men his Country doth afford. Every night upon the 4 quarters of his
house are 4 Senntinels, each standing from other a flight shoot: and at every
halfe houre, one from the Corps du guard doth hollowe; unto whom every Sentinell
doth answer round from his stand. If any faile, they presently send forth an
officer that beateth him extreamely. 177.
A mile from Orapakes in a thicket
of wood, hee hath a house, in which he keepeth his kind of Treasure, as skinnes,
copper, pearle, and beades; which he storeth up against the time of his death
and buriall. Here also is his store of red paint for ointment, and bowes and
arrowes. This house is 50 or 60 yards in length, frequented only by Priestes. At
the 4 corners of this house stand 4 Images as Sentinells; one of a Dragon,
another a Beare, the three like a Leopard, and the fourth like a giantlike man:
all made evill favordly, according to their best workmanship. 178.
He hath many women as he will: whereof
when hee lieth on his bed, one sitteth at his head, and another at his feet; but
when he sitteth, one sitteth on his right hand, and another on his left. As he
is wearie of his women, hee bestoweth them on those that best deserve them at
his hands. 179.
When he dineth or suppeth, one of his
women, before and after meat, bringeth him water in a woden platter to wash his
hands. Another waiteth with a bunch of feathers to wipe them insteed of a
Towell, and the feathers when he hath wiped are dryed againe. 180.
His kingdome descendeth not to his
sonnes nor children: but first to his brethren, whereof he hath 3 namely
Opitchapan, Opechancanough, and
Catataugh; and after their decease
to his sisters. First to the eldest sister, then to the rest: and after them to
the heires male and female of the eldest sister; but never to the heires of the
He nor any of his people understand any
letters wherby to write or read; the only lawes whereby he ruleth is custome.
Yet when he listeth, his will is a law and must bee obeyed: not only as a king,
but as halfe a God they esteeme him. 182.
His inferiour kings whom they cal
werowances are tyed to rule by customes, and have power of life and death
as their command in that nature. But this word Werowance which we call
and conster for a king, is a common worde whereby they call all commanders: for
they have but fewe words in their language, and but few occasions to use anie
officers more then one commander, which commonly they call
They all knowe their severall landes,
and habitations, and limits to fish, fowle, or hunt in: but they hold all of
their great Werowances Powhatan, unto whom they pay tribute of skinnes,
beades, copper, pearle, deare, turkies, wild beasts, and corne. What he
commandeth they dare not disobey in the least thing. It is strange to see with
what great feare and adoration all these people doe obay this Powhatan.
For at his feet, they present whatsoever he commandeth, and at the least frowne
of his browe, their greatest spirits will tremble with feare: and no marvell,
for he is very terrible and tyrannous in punishing such as offend him. 184.
For example, hee caused certaine
malefactors to be bound hand and foot, then having of many fires gathered great
store of burning coles, they rake these coles round in the forme of a cockpit,
and in the midst they cast the offenders to broyle to death. Sometimes he
causeth the heads of them that offend him, to be laid upon the altar or
sacrificing stone, and one with clubbes beates out their braines. When he would
punish any notorious enimie or malefactor, he causeth him to be tied to a tree,
and, with muscle shels or reeds, the executioner cutteth of his joints one after
another, ever casting what they cut of into the fire; then doth he proceed with
shels and reeds to case the skinne from his head and face; then doe they rip his
belly, and so burne him with the tree and all. Thus themselves reporte they
executed George Cassen.185.
Their ordinary correction is to beate
them with cudgels. Wee have seene a man kneeling on his knees; and at
Powhatans command, two men have beat him on the bare skin, till he hath
fallen senselesse in a sound, and yet never cry nor complained. 186.
In the year 1608, he surprised the
people of Payankatank, his neare neighbours and subjects, The occasion
was to us unknowne, but the manner was thus. First he sent diverse of his men as
to lodge amongst them that night, then the Ambuscadoes invironed al their
houses, and at the houre appointed, they all fell to the spoile: 24 men they
slewe, the long haire of the one side of their heades with the skinne cased off
with shels or reeds, they brought away. They surprised also the womaen the
children and the Werowance. All these they present to Powhatan.
The Werowance, women and children became his prisoners, and doe him
The lockes of hair with their skinnes he
hanged on a line unto two trees. And thus he made ostentation as of a great
triumph at Werowcomoco; shewing them to the English men that
unto him, at his appointment: they expecting provision; he to betray them
supposed to halfe conquer them, by this spectacle of his terrible crueltie. 188.
And this is as much as my memory can
call to mind wirthie of note; which I have purposely collected, to satisfie my
friends of the true worth and qualitie of Virginia. Yet some bad natures
will not sticke to slander the Countrey, that will slovenly spit at all things,
especially in company where they can find none to contradict them. Who though
they were scarse ever 10 miles from James Town, or at the most but at the
falles; yet holding it a great disgrace that amongst so much action, their
actions were nothing, exclaime of all things, though they never adventured to
knowe any thing; nor ever did any thing but devoure the fruits of other mens
labours. Being for most part of such tender educations and small experience in
martiall accidents: because they found not English cities, nor at their owne
wishes any of their accustomed dainties, with feather beds and downe pillowes,
Tavernes and alehouses in every breathing place, neither such plenty of gold and
silver and dissolute liberty as they expected, had little or no care of any
thing, but to pamper their bellies, to fly away with our Pinnaces, or procure
their means to returne for England. For the Country was to them a miserie, a
ruene, a death, a hell; and their reports here, and their owne actions there
Some other there were that had yearely
stipends to pass to and againe for transportation: who to keepe the mystery of
the businesse in themselves, though they had neither time nor meanes to knowe
much of themselves; yet al mens actions or relations they so formally tuned to
the temporizing times simplicitie, as they could make their ignorances seeme
much more then al the true actors could by their experience. And those with
their great words deluded the world with such strange promises as abused the
businesse much worse then the rest. For the businesse being builded upon the
foundation of their fained experience, the planters, the mony, tinne, and meanes
have still miscaried: yet they ever returning, and the Planters so farre absent,
who could contradict their excuses? which, stil to maintain their vaineglory and
estimation, from time to time they have used such diligence as made them passe
for truthes, though nothing more false. And that the adventurers might be thus
abused, let no man wonder; for the wisest living is soonest abused by him that
hath a faire tongue and a dissembling heart. 190.
There were many in Virginia
meerely projecting verbal and idle contemplatours, and those so devoted to pure
idlenesse that though they had lived two or three yeares in Virginia
lordly, necessitie it selfe could not compell tham to passe the
Peninsula, or Pallisadoes of
James Towne; and those wittie
spirits, what would they not affirme in the behalfe of our transporters, to get
victuall from their ships, or obtaine their good words in England to get
Thus from the clamors and the ignorance
of false informers are sprung those disasters that spring in Virginia;
and our ingenious verbalists were no lesse plague to us in Virginia, then
the Locusts to the Egyptians. For the labour of 30 of the best only, preserved
in Christianitie, by their industrie, the idle livers of neare 200 of the rest:
who lived neer 10 months of such naturall meanes, as the Country naturally of it
selfe afforded. 192.
Notwithstanding all this, and the worst
furie of the Savages, the extremitie of sicknesse, mutinies, faction,
ignorances, and want of victuall; in all that time I lost but 7 or 8 men: yet
subjected the Savages to our desired obedience, and receaved contribution from
35 of their kings, to protect and assist them against any that should assalt
them; in which order they continued true and faithful, and as subjects to his
Majestie, so long after as I did govern there, untill I left the Country: 193.
Since, how they have revolted, the
Countrie lost, and againe replanted; and the businesses hath succeeded from time
to time, I referre you to the relations of them returned from Virginia,
that have bin more diligent in such observations. 194.