THE EFFECT OF THE NEWS REACHING ENGLAND

"These years when the young colony, struck down By massacre and fear, took heart, and stood,"

We can imagine the shock sustained, not only by the London Company, but friends of the colonists in England, when news of the massacre was brought by refugees from the stricken settlements.

Let us consider, for a fee moments, the situation in the mother country. The Company `vas torn with dissension, Southhampton and Edwin Sandys, contending desperately against the intrigues of the Court Party, led by Warwick and others, who-aided and abetted by the King, were filled with consternation and alarm upon reception of the news of the massacre.

For the time being, colonization was discouraged. Antiquated arms in the "Tourer of London" were overhauled and shipped to Virginia, as being of sufficient use for defense against the weapons of the Indians, though not of any value "in modern European warfare." The King sent, as a loan, twenty barrels of powder, and Lord St. John, of Basing, made a present of sixty coats of mail, while the city of London and private citizens made contributions toward an emergency fund. The King volunteered to send over 400 young men, selected from the several shires, in place of those who had perished, but failed to keep his promise.

More ample supplies would have been sent to Virginia and assistance given, but for dissensions existing among the patentees. Made up of every class of English citizen, rival factions intrigued and debated; and the line of demarcation between the Court Party and the Country Party was becoming evident-a condition slowly leading toward the Cromwellian usurpation of the English throne.

Alarmed at the liberal opinions expressed and public spirit shown in these debates, on the one side, as against those who advocated endorsing his restrictions of the tobacco trade, on the other, the King glady seized upon the Virginia tragedy as a pretext to appoint a commission to examine into the transactions of the company- since its first establishment. It gave him the excuse to increase his effort to secure the control of affairs, annul the charter, and take over the administration through appointees of his own. With this excuse, he made use of the members of the Court Party, as pawns at chess, to checkmate the effort of the liberal minded men, who, as officers and members of the council of the company, dared to question and protest against his arbitrary ruling. To obstruct it in defense, all papers and charter books were seized, two of the principal officers were arrested, and all letters from the colony, directed to the company, were intercepted.

A great number of witnesses were interrogated, among them being Captain John Smith, who expressed the opinion that greater military precaution should have been taken. He suggested a discontinuance of transporting criminals to its shores, but refused to make accusation against the faults of any official, naively stating that "I have so much ado to amend my own, I have no leisure, to look into any other man's particular failings."

The commissioners did not permit representatives of the company to be present at the hearings, and they were only appraised of the terms of the report after the findings had been made. After a rebuke of their administration they were informed that a new charter would be issued, which would commit the powers of government into fewer hands, and if they (the members of the Company) did not voluntarily submit to the decree the King was resolved to enforce his purpose by due process of law.

Blinded by avarice and greed, he little realized (possibly he would not have cared, as long as it was to his profit), that Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador to his court, was secretly directing every move he made. Guard your King! would have been apropos as the game progressed.

Gondomar, with prophetic vision, almost uncanny, had warned his King (Philip III.) that effort should be made by intrigue, or otherwise, to check the growth of the Virginia and Bermuda colonies. "Else," said he, "from them there will arise another England in America, of equal dread and annoyance to New Spain, as that in Europe is to the Old." Gondomar was a power at court, and had the ear of the English King.

Having no thought of permitting its culmination, he arranged for a marriage between Crown Prince Charles and the Infanta of Spain. With this bait he secured assurance that no aid would be sent to the Palatonate in its contest with the League. He had the English fleet recalled from the Spanish coast, and secured the dismissal of all ministers opposed to the Spanish policy. One may ask-"How does this concern Virginia?" It was simply part of the intrigue of a nation who had never forgotten the defeat of the invincible Aramada, and who hated the English more than any other nation with whom they must contend for the commerce of the world, especially the growing trade of the new colonies along the Atlantic coast.

The founding- of the colony at Jamestown had furnished a barrier against further colonization projects of the Spanish throne, and, as Gondomar well said, would prove a menace to the future progress of those Spanish colonies already founded. It was Gondomar who whispered into the ear of the King, persuading him to demand of the Virginia Company the importation to England of 60,000 pounds of Spanish tobacco each year. The King had listened with interest, for Spanish tobacco, with a market price much higher than the product raised in Virginia, would give the King a revenue far in excess of a like amount of tobacco sent from the Virginia colony.

It was Gondomar who evidently whispered into the ear of the King that the opportune time had arrived for the overthrow of the Virginia Company-, who dared to thwart his will, when news of the massacre arrived. Had Sandys and his friends (may Virginia ever revere their memory) yielded without protest, Virginia would have suffered to such an extent the injustice intended them by the King, it is doubtful if the young colony could have survived. The tide of emigration was turning northward; new colonies were being formed on Massachusetts Bay- and other points along the New England Coast.

The Plymouth colony having settled at Plymouth Rock in December of 1620, receiving their patent from the newly chartered New England Company on June 11, 1621, were receiving new additions to their numbers, and no massacre had sent terror to the hearts of their friends and relatives, in England, to cause a stay of emigration to them.

Had Sandys and Southampton abandoned the Virginia colony-, where could it have looked for help? It is true these friends of Virginia were finally defeated in their every endeavor, notwithstanding their appeal to Parliament, and the expressed sympathy of that body, yet the Virginians had time to recover, at least in a measure, from the shock of the massacre, ere the King could succeed in annulling the charter.

In the midst of these distractions of the company and King in England, the little colony was struggling to regain a more sturdy foothold than ever before. Sir Francis Wyatt the Governor, began making overtures with Opechancanough for the return of Mrs. Boyce and nineteen other colonists who were held prisoners at Pamunkey. He invited the Indians back to their usual habitations to plant their corn. The intent was to surprise them when the corn was full-grown, drive them out of the country and confiscate the crops. For this purpose, Governor Wyat trained 500 menu but the wily Opechancanough refused to walk into the trap. There is no record of the fate suffered by the English prisoners other than - Mrs. Royce; she was sent back by Opatchapan,<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1


This indicates him still alive, although he had been reported as dead when Opechancanough succeeded him.">[1] the dethroned brother of Opechancanough. "She was naked and unapparaled, in manner and fashion like one of their Indian queens."

Among- the Indian chieftains the only friend left to the English upon whom they- could rely fur corn, was Japazaws, chief of the Patowmacks, who had delivered up Pocahontas to Argall. To him Governor West looked for assistance. Vain hope Japazaws was the unfortunate chief previously mentioned as having been imprisoned by Maddison, and compelled to witness the destruction of his village and forty of his tribe.<a href="#2" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 2


From the surroundings, he was, evidently, the same chief.">[2]

Midst these tragic surroundings (1623) George Sandys, living in Virginia, wrote his translation of the Metamorphoses of Ovid, one of the first literary productions in America. It was afterwards published in England, and dedicated to Charles the First. Dryden mentions the author with respect and commendation, in the preface of his own translation of the same work.

Notwithstanding the set-back given the Virginia colony, in 1622, Captain Francis West, of Virginia, expelled interlopers from the fisheries of New England, and ships from Jamestown carried supplies to the starving people, there seated, preventing the probable abandonment of that colony during the severe winter through which they had to pass. In 1622 there were forty-two vessels plying between Virginia and England, and by Christmas Day the 893 survivors of the massacre had been augmented by 2,500 souls, and seventeen sea-going ships were anchored off Jamestown. Their officers and crews had the opportunity to attend Christmas services in the Jamestown Church.

The colony was saved. Governor Wyatt reported that in defense against the Indians during that year, more of the red men had lost their lives than had been the total from 1607 to the time of the massacre. Truly 1622 was the crucial year in the history of the colony, and notwithstanding the many after vicissitudes, the permanence of its settlement was assured. Again, may I add, it was in 1622 that these Virginia planters showed their contempt for the orders from the King by sending tobacco in their own ships direct to Holland and refusing to transport it first to England. Sandys, in reply to the King, when complaint was made of this, informed His Majesty that, as a number of the Virginians owned their own ships, it was beyond his power to force them to accede to the order.

By direct importation, the Virginians saved the English import duty, also confiscation of one-third of their crop (to the King), as would have been the case had they accepted James' demand.

One of the colonists, Edward Waters, had been captured by, the Nansemond Indians, and taken, with his wife, a prisoner to their village on the Nansemond River. During a storm they escaped in a canoe and landed at Kicquotan. I mention this colonist especially, as he had been one of the three Englishmen (Carter, Waters and Chard) who, when shipwrecked upon the Somer Islands in 1610, discovered a block of ambergris weighing 160 pounds and valued at about 10,000 pounds sterling. The adventures of these men, and the disposition of this great block of ambergris, the largest ever found, forms an interesting story too long to dwell upon in this volume.

The death of John Berkeley and his iron workers, who were in charge of the iron foundry at Falling Creek, proved not only a misfortune, in that the iron works were destroyed, but the secret of the location of a vein of lead, known to John Berkeley alone, was lost.

No white man has ever since discovered its location, and the Indians, though they brought in samples from time to time, would never divulge the secret of its location.

Notes:

  1. This indicates him still alive, although he had been reported as dead when Opechancanough succeeded him.
  2. From the surroundings, he was, evidently, the same chief.