A MAP OF VIRGINIA.
WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE COVNTREY, THE Commodities,
People, Government and Religion.
VVritten by Captaine Smith, sometimes
Governour of the Countrey.
WHEREVNTO 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 Iournies and disccoveries.
TAKEN FAITHFVLLY AS THEY were written out of the writings of
And the relations of divers other diligent observes there present then, and now many of them in England.
By VV. S.
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 is common to the world, this booke may best satisfie the world, because 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 reiected Christopher Collumbus : that ever renowned Queene Izabell of Spaine, could pawne her Iewels to supply his wants; whom all the wise men (as they thought themselues) 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 successfull example moue the incredulous of this time, to consider, to conceaue, and apprehend Virginia, which might be, or breed vs a second India? hath not England an Izabell as well as Spaine, nor yet a Collumbus as well as Geneua? 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.
Because many doe desire to knowe the maner of their language, I haue inserted these few words.
They count no more but by tennes as followeth.
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 daies, …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The north Cape is called Cape Charles in honour of the worthy Duke of Yorke.
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.
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 probabilities.
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
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.
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 it.
On the west side of the Bay, wee said were 5 faire and delightfull navigable rivers, of which we will nowe proceed to report.
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[ding] 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.
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.
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 Peninsulaes.
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 Werowances.
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.
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 Chickahamanianeere 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.
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.
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 byYoughtanund 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Patawomekewith 160 able men.
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.
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.
Upon this river dwell the people called Acquintanacksuak, Pawtuxuntand 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.
Thirty leagues Northward is a river not inhabited, yet navigable; for the red earth or clay resembling bole Armoniack, the English called it Bolus.
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.
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.
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 conditions.
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.
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.
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 Layne.
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.
Of such things which are naturall in Virginia and how they vse them.
Virginia doth afford many excellent vegitables and liuing 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 the 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 ioints. The fruit they eate, made in bread or otherwise.
There is also some Elme, some black walnut tree, 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.
Of walnuts there is 2 or 3 kindes: there is a kinde of wood we called Cypres, because both the wood, the fruit, and 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.
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 groues. 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.
In some parts, were found some Chestnuts whose wild fruit equalize the best in France, Spaine, Germany, or Italy, to their tast[e]s that had tasted them all.
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.
They haue 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.
Of vines, [there is] 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 riuers 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.
There is another sort of grape neere as great as a Cherry, this they call Messaminnes; they bee fatte, and the iuyce thicke: neither doth the tast so well please when they are made in wine.
They haue 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 haue a berry much like our gooseberry, in greatnesse, colour, and tast; those they call Rawcomenes, and doe eat them raw or boyled.
Of these naturall fruits they liue a great part of the yeare, which they vse 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 cleaue to the fruit. Then doe they dry them againe vpon a mat ouer 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 vse.
The fruit like medlers, they call Putchamins, they cast vppon hurdles on a mat, and preserue 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 feasts.
Besides those fruit trees, there is a white populer, and another tree like vnto 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 themselues. Wee tryed conclusions to extract it out of the wood, but nature afforded more then our arts.
In the wat[e]ry valleyes groweth a berry, which they call Ocoughtanamnis, very much like vnto 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 vnlike to rie, though much smaller. This they vse for a dainty bread buttered with deare suet.
During Somer there are either strawberries which ripen in April; or mulberries which ripen in May and Iune. Raspises hurres; or a fruit that the Inhabitants call Maracocks, which is a pleasant wholsome fruit much like a lemond.
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 vsed whose names we know not.
The chiefe roote they haue 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 Potatoes. They vse to couer a great many of them with oke leaves and ferne, and then couer 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 vse this ordinarily for bread.
They haue an other roote which they call wighsacan: as th[e] 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 vse for swellings, aches, annointing their ioints, 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 vse to paint their Mattes, Targets, and such like.
There is also Pellitory of Spaine, Sasafrage, and diuers other simples, which the Apothecaries gathered, and commended to be good and medicinable.
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.
Of beastes the chiefe are Deare, nothing differing from ours. In the deserts towards the heads of the riuers, ther[e] are many, but amongst the riuers few.
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.
A small beast they haue, they call Assapanick, but we call them flying squirrels, because spreading their legs, and so stretching the largenesse of their skins that they haue 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 bignes of a Cat. Vnder her belly shee hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young. Mussascus is a beast of the forme and nature of our water Rats, but many of them smell exceeding strong of muske. Their Hares [are] no bigger than our Conies, and few of them to be found.
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 haue many Otters, which, as the Beavers, they take with snares, and esteeme the skinnes great ornaments; and of all those beasts they vse to feede, when they catch them.
There is also a beast they call Vetchunquoyes in the forme of a wilde Cat. Their Foxes are like our siluer haired Conies, of a small proportion, and not smelling like those in England. Their Dogges of that country are like their Wolues, and cannot barke but howle; and their wolues [are] not much better then our English Foxes. Martins, Powlecats, weessels and Minkeswe know they haue, because we haue seen many of their skinnes, though very seldome any of them aliue.
But one thing is strange, that we could never perceiue their vermine destroy our hennes, egges, nor chickens, nor do any hurt: nor their flyes nor serpents [to be] anie waie pernitious; where [as] in the South parts of America, they are alwaies dangerous and often deadly.
Of birds, the Eagle is the greatest devourer. Hawkes there be of diuerse sorts as our Falconers called them, Sparowhawkes, Lanarets, Goshawkes, Falcons and Osperayes; but they all pray most vpon 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 diuerse 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 vs unknowne by name. But in sommer not any, or a very few to be seene.
Of fish were best acquainted with Sturgeon, Grampus, 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 To[a]defish which will swell till it be like to brust, when it commeth into the aire.
Concerning the entrailes of the earth little can be saide for certainty. There wanted good Refiners: for these that tooke vpon them to have skill this way, tooke vp the washings from the mounetaines and some moskered shining stones and spangles which the waters brought down; flattering themselues in their own vaine conceits to haue bin supposed that they were not, by the meanes of that ore, if it proued as their arts and iudgements expected. Only this is certaine, that many regions lying in the same latitude, afford mines very rich of diuerse natures. The crust also of these rockes would easily perswade a man to beleeve there are other mines then yron and steele, if there were but meanes and men of experience that knew the mine from spare.
Of their Planted fruits in Virginia and how they vse them.
They diuide 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 vntill the midst of Nouember are the chiefe Feasts> and sacrifice. Then haue they plenty of fruits as well planted as naturall, as corne greene and ripe, fish, fowle, and wilde beastes exceeding fat.
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.
The next yeare with a crooked peece of wood, they beat vp 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 hop-yard.
In Aprill they begin to plant, but their chiefe plantation is in May, and so they continue till the midst of Iune. What they plant in Aprill they reape in August, for May in September, for Iune 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 iuice 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.
They plant also pease they cal Assentamens, which are the same they cal in Italye, Fagioli. Their Beanes are the same the Turkes call Garnanses, but these they much esteeme for dainties.
Their corne they rost in the eare greene, and bruising it in a morter with a Polt, lappe it in rowles in the leaues of their corne, and so boyle it for a daintie. They also reserue that corne late planted that will not ripe[n], 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 vse a small basket for their Temmes, then pound againe the great, and so separating by dashing their hand in the basket, receaue 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, couering 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 Ponap.
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.
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 ierkin 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.
In May also amongst their corne, they plant Pumpeons, and a fruit like vnto a muske millen, but lesse and worse; which they call Macocks. These increase exceedingly, and ripen in the beginning of Iuly, and continue vntil September. They plant also Maracocks a wild fruit like a lemmon, which also increase infinitely: they begin to ripe[n] in September and continue till the end of October.
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 obserue times and seasons, and liue of what the Country naturally affordeth from hand to mout, &c.
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 vse of man as no place is more convenient for pleasure, profit, and mans sustenance. Vnder that latitude or climat, here will liue 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.
The Bay and riuers have much marchandable fish and places fit for Salt coats, building of ships, making of iron, &c.
Muscovia and Polonia doe yearely receaue 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 asmuch for Iron, Steele, Figges, Reasons, and Sackes. Italy with 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 vncertaine 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 perogatiue of all those florishing kingdomes for the benefit of our land, whenas within one hundred miles all those are to bee had, either ready provided by nature, or else to bee prepared, were 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 haue 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 which 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.
Of the naturall Inhabitants of Virginia.
The land is not populous, for the men be fewe; their far greater number is of women and children. Within 60 miles of Iames Towne there are about some 5000 people, but of able men fit for their warres scarse 1500. To nourish so many together they haue yet no means, because they make so smal a benefit of their land, be it never so fertill.
6 or 700 haue beene the most [that] hath beene seene together, when they gathered themselues to haue surprised Captaine Smyth at Pamavnke, hauing but 15 to withstand the worst of their furie. As small as the proportion of ground that hath yet beene discouered, is in comparison of that yet vnknowne. The people differ very much in stature, especially in language, as before is expressed.
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 haue any beards. The men weare halfe their heads shaven, the other halfe long. For Barbers they vse 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 euer some part remaineth long.
They are very strong, of an able body and full of agilitie, able to endure to lie in the woods vnder a tree by the fire, in the worst of winter, or in the weedes and grasse, in Ambuscado in the Sommer.
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 iniury: they seldome steale one from another, least their coniurers should reueale it, and so they be pursued and punished. That they are thus feared is certaine, but that any can reueale their offences by coniuration I am doubtfull. Their women are carefull not to bee suspected of dishonesty without the leaue of their husbands.
Each houshold knoweth their owne lands and gardens, and must liue of their owne labours.
For their apparell, they are some time couered with the skinnes of wilde beasts, which in winter are dressed with the haire, but in sommer without. The better sort vse large mantels of deare skins not much differing in fashion from the Irish mantels. Some imbrodered with white beads, some with copper, other painted after their manner. But the common sort haue scarce to couer their nakednesse but with grasse, the leaues of trees, or such like. We haue seen some vse mantels made of Turky feathers, so prettily wrought and wouen with threeds that nothing could bee discerned but the feathers, that was exceeding warme and very handsome. But the women are alwaies couered about their midles with a skin and [are] svery shamefast to be seene bare.
They adorne themselues most with copper beads and paintings. Their women some haue their legs, hands, brests and face cunningly imbrodered with diuerse workes, as beasts, serpentes, artificially wrought into their flesh with blacke spots. In each eare commonly they haue 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 haue 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 preserue them from the heate, and in winter from the cold. Many other formes of paintings they vse, but he is the most gallant that is the most monstrous to behould.
Their buildings and habitations are for the most part by the riuers or not farre distant from some fresh spring. Their houses are built like our Arbors of small young springs [? sprigs] bowed and tyed, 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 stooues, 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.
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[e] 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.
Their houses are in the midst of their fields or gardens; which are smal plots of ground, some 20 [acres], some 40, some 100. some 200. some more, some lesse. Some times from 2 to 100 of these houses [are] togither, or but a little separated by groues of trees. Neare their habitations is [but] 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.
Men women and children haue their seuerall names according to their seuerall humor of their Parents. Their women (they say) are easilie deliuered of childe, yet doe they loue children verie dearly. To make them hardy, in the coldest mornings they wash them in the riuers, and by painting and ointments so tanne their skins, that after year or two, no weather will hurt them.
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.
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, leaues, or anie such like drie thing that will quickly burne.
In March and Aprill they liue much vpon 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 liue vpon fish, beasts, crabs, oysters, land Torteyses, strawberries, mulberries, and such like. In Iune, Iulie, and August, they feed vpon the rootes of Tocknough, berries, fish, and greene wheat.
It is strange to see how their bodies alter with their diet; euen 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 vpon hurdles as before is expressed, and keepe it till scarce time.
For fishing and hunting and warres they vse 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 vse to shoot at squirrels on trees. An other sort of arrowes they vse, made 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 ioint 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 ielly, they make a glew that will not dissolue in cold water.
For their wars also they vse Targets that are round and made of the barkes of trees, and a sworde of wood at their backs, but oftentimes they vse for swords the horne of a Deare put through a peece of wood in forme of a Pickaxe. Some, a long stone sharpened at both ends vsed in the same manner. This they were wont to vse also for hatchets, but now by trucking they haue plenty of the same forme, of yron. And those are their chiefe instruments and armes.
Their fishing is much in Boats. These they make of one tree by bowing [? burning] and scratching away the coles with ston[e]s and shels till they haue 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 vse paddles and sticks, with which they will row faster then our Barges.
Betwixt their hands and thighes, their women vse 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 vses, as about their housing, apparell; as also they make nets for fishing, for the quantity as formally braded as ours. They make also with it lines for angles.
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.
They vse also long arrowes tyed in a line wherewith they shoote at fish in the rivers. But they of Accawmack vse staues like vnto Iavelins headed with a bone. With these they dart fish swimming in the water. They haue also many artificiall weares in which they get abundance of fish.
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, Rootes, and Berris. At their huntings they leaue their habitations, and reduce themselues 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 vp towards the mountaines, by the heads of their riuers, 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 iourney without habitation. Their hunting houses are like vnto Arbours couered with mats. These their women beare after them, with Corne, Acornes, Morters, and all bag and baggage they vse. When they come to the place of exercise, euery man doth his best to shew his dexteritie, for by their excelling in those qualities, they get their wives. Forty yards will they shoot leuell, 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. Hauing found the Deare, they enuiron 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 so long within that circle, that many times they kill 6, 8, 10, or 15 at a hunting. They vse also to driue them into some narrowe point of land, when they find that aduantage; and so force them into the riuer, where with their boats they haue Ambuscadoes to kill them. When they haue 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.
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.
One Savage hunting alone, vseth 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 aduantage to approach, hauing shot him, hee chaseth him by his blood and straine till he get him.
When they intend any warres, the Werowances vsually haue the advice of their Priests and Coniurers, 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 haue many enimies, namely all their westernely Countries beyond the mountaines, and the heads of the rivers. Vpon the head of the Powhatans are the Monacans, whose chiefe habitation is at Russawmeake; vnto whome the Mouhemenchughes, the Massinnacacks, the Monahassanuggs, and other nations, pay tribut[e]s.
Vpon 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 diuerse others; all confederats with the Monacans, though many different in language, and be very barbarous, living for most part of wild beasts and fruits.
Beyond the mountaines from whence is the head of the river Patawomeke, the Savages report, inhabit their most mortall enimies, the Massawomekes vpon a great salt water, which by all likelyhood is either some part of Commada [i.e., Canada], 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 riuers, especially the Pattawomekes, the Pautuxuntes, the Sasquesahanocks, the Tockwoughes, are continually tormented by them: of whose crueltie, they generally complained, and very 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 subiection.
To which he concluded to effect. But the counsell [Council] then present, emulating his successe, would not thinke it fit to spare him 40 men to be hazarded in those vnknowne regions; hauing passed (as before was spoken of) but with 12, and so was lost that opportunitie.
Seaven boats full of these Massawomeks the discouerers encountred at the head of the Bay; whose Targets, Baskets, Swords, Tobaccopipes, Platters, Bowes and Arrowes, and euery 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 vpon some great water.
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 Captiues. They haue a method in warre, and for our pleasures, they shewed it vs; and it was in this manner performed at Mattapanient.
Having painted and disguised themselues in the fiercest manner they could devise, they divided themselues 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 themselues 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.
Hauing thus pitched the fields; from either part went a Messenger with these conditions: that whosoever were vanquished, such as escape, vpon their submission in 2 daies after, should liue; but their wiues and children should be prize for the Conquerors.
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 vse only in warres. Vpon the first flight of arrowes, they gaue such horrible shouts and screeches, as though so many infernall helhounds could not haue made them more terrible.
When they had spent their arrowes, they ioined 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.
The Monacans decreasing, the Powhatans charged them in the forme of a halfe moone: they vnwilling to be inclosed, fled all in a troope to their Ambuscadoes, on whome they led them very cunningly. The Monacans disperse themselues among the fresh men, wherevpon 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.
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.
For their musicke they vse a thicke cane, on which they pipe as on a Recorder. For their warres, they haue 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 vpon a drumme. But their chiefe instruments are Rattels made of small gourds or Pumpion shels. Of these they haue 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.
If any great commander arriue at the habitation of a Werowance, they spread a mat as the Turkes do a carpet, for him to sit vpon. Vpon an other right opposite they sit themselues. Then doe all with a tunable voice of showting bid him welcome. After this, doe 2. or more of their chiefest men make an oration, testifying ther loue. 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 haue, 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.
Their manner of trading is for copper, beades, and such like; for which they giue such commodities as they haue, as skins, fowle, fish, flesh, and their country corne. But their victuall is their chiefest riches.
Every spring they make themselues sicke with drinking the iuice 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.
Sometimes they are troubled with dropsies, swellings, aches, and such like diseases; for cure wherof they build a stoue in the form of a douehouse with mats, so close that a fewe coales therein covered with a pot, will make the pacient sweate extreamely. For swellings also they vse smal peeces of touchwood, in the forme of cloues, 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 uvlcers or putrified hurtes are seldome seene cured amongst them.
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 beleeued any Plaister would heale any hurt.
Of their Religion
There is yet in Virginia no place discouered 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.
But their chiefe God they worship is the Diuell. Him they call Oke and serue him more of feare than loue. They say they have conference with him, and fashion themselues as neare to his shape as they can imagine. In their Temples, they haue his image euill favouredly carued, and then painted and adorned with chaines, copper, and beades; and couered with a skin, in such manner as the deformity may well suit with such a God.
By him is commonly the sepulcher of their kings. Their bodies are first bowelled, then dryed vpon hurdles till they bee verie dry, and so about the most of their iointes and necke they hang bracelets or chaines of copper, pearle, and such like, as they vse to weare: their inwards they stuffe with copper beads and couer 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 haue, they set at their feet in baskets. These Temples and bodies are kept by their Priests.
For their ordinary burials, they digge a deep hole in the earth with sharpe stakes; and the corp[s]es being lapped in skins and mats with their iewels, they lay them vpon sticks in the ground, and so couer 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 [or] 2 or 3 or more. Their principall Temple or place of superstition is at Vttamussack at Pamavnke, neare vnto which is a house Temple or place of Powhatans.
Vpon 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 [none] but the Priestes and kings dare come into them: nor the Savages dare not go vp 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.
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 iewels at.
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 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.
The faces of all their Priests are painted as vgly as they can devise. In their hands, they had every one his Rattell, some base, some smaller [i.e., lighter in sound]. 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 giue a short groane.
It could not bee perceiued 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.
They haue also diuers coniurations. One they made when Captaine Smith was their prisoner; (as they reported) to know if any more of his countrymen would ariue there, and what he there intended. The manner of it was thus.
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 [above], 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 euery song a little sticke.
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 coniured; who but euery 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 themselues with much mirth. But 3 or 4 daies they continued this ceremony.
They haue also certaine Altar stones they call Pawcorances: but these stand from their Temples, some by their houses, other in the woodes and wildernesses. Vpon these, they offer blood, deare suet, and Tobacco. These they doe when they returne from the warres, from hunting, and vpon many other occasions.
They haue also another superstition that they vse in stormes, when the waters are rough in the riuers and sea coasts. Their Coniurers 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.
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 vse.
In some part of the Country, they have yearely a sacrifice of children. Such a one was at Quiyoughcohanock, some 10 miles from Iames Towne, and thus performed.
Fifteene of the properest young boyes, between 10 and 15 yeares of age, they painted white. Hauing 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 hauing a Bastinado in his hand, made of reeds bound together. This [these] made a lane betweene them all along, through which there were appointed 5 young men to fetch these children. So every one of the fiue 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 receauing all; defending the children with their naked bodies from the vnmercifell bowes they pay them soundly, though the children escape. All this while, the women weepe and crie out very passionately; prouiding mats, skinnes, mosse, and drie wood, as things fitting their childrens funerals.
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 leaues. 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.
The Werowance being demanded the meaning of this sacrifice, answered the children were not al dead, but that the Oke or Divell did sucke the blood from their left breast [of those], 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 Coniurers.
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 haue no Deare, Turkies, Corne, nor fish: and yet besides, hee would make great slaughter amongst them.
They thinke that their Werowances and Priestes, which they also esteeme Quiyoughcosughes, when they are dead, doe goe beyound the mountaines towardes the setting of the sun, and euer 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 Predecessors.
But the common people, they suppose shall not liue after death.
To diuert them from this blind idolatrie, many vsed their best indeauours, 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 preuaile withall to forsake his false Gods, yet this he did beleeue, that our God as much exceeded theirs, as our Gunnes did their Bowes and Arrows; and many times did send to the President, at Iames towne, men with presents, intreating them to pray to his God for raine, for his Gods would not send him any.
And in this lamentable ignorance doe these poore souls sacrifice themselues to the Diuell, not knowing their Creator.
Of the manner of the Virginians governement.
Although the countrie people be very barbarous; yet have they amongst them such governement, as that their Magistrat[e]s for good commanding, and their people for du[e] subiection and obeying, excell many places that would be counted very civill.
The forme of their Common wealth is a monarchicall gouernement. 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 Wahunsonacock.
Some countries he hath, which haue been his ancestors, and came vnto him by inheritance, as the countrie called Powhatan, Arrohateck, Appamatuke, Pamavnke, Youghtanu[n]d, and Mattapanient. All the rest of his Territories expressed in the Map, they report haue beene his seuerall conquests.
In all his ancient inheritances, hee hath houses built after their manner like arbours; some 30, some 40 yardes long; and at euery house, provision for his entertainement, according to the time. At Werowcomoco, he was seated vpon the North side of the river Pamavnke, some 14 miles from Iames 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 riuer Chickahamania betweene Youghtanund and Powhatan. His habitation there is called Orapacks, where he ordinarily now resideth.
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 vpon the 4 quarters of his house are 4 Senntinels, each standing from other a flight shoot: and at euery halfe houre, one from the Corps du guard doth hollowe; vnto whom every Sentinell doth answer round from his stand. If any faile, they presently send forth an officer that beateth him extreamely.
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 vp 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 Sentinels; one of a Dragon, another a Beare, the 3 like a Leopard, and the fourth like a giantlike man: all made euill favordly, according to their best workmanship.
He hath as 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 deserue them at his hands.
When he dineth or suppeth, one of his women, before and after meat, bringeth him water in a wo[o]den 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.
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 males.
[Neither] He nor any of his people vnderstand 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.
His inferiour kings whom they cal werowances are tyed to rule by customes, and haue 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 haue but fewe words in their language, and but few occasions to vse anie officers more then one commander, which commonly they call werowances.
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, vnto 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 maruell, for he is very terrible and tyrannous in punishing such as offend him.
For example, hee caused certaine malefactors to be bound hand and foot, then hauing 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 vpon 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[f] his ioints one after another, euer casting what they cut of[f] 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 themselues reported they executed George Cassen.
Their ordinary correction is to beate them with cudgels. Wee haue seene a man kneeling on his knees; and at Powhatans command, two men haue beat him on the bare skin, till he hath fallen senselesse in a s[w]ound, and yet neuer cry nor complained.
In the year 1608, he surprised the people of Payankatank, his neare neighbours and subiects. The occasion was to vs vnknowne, but the manner was thus. First he sent diverse of his men as to lodge amongst them that night, then the Ambuscadoes inuironed 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 women the children and the Werowance. All these they present[ed] to Powhatan. The Werowance, women and children became his prisoners, and doe him service.
The lockes of hair with their skinnes he hanged on a line vnto two trees. And thus he made ostentation as of a great triumph at Werowcomoco; shewing them to the English men that then came vnto him, at his appointment: they expecting provision; he, to betray them [? Captain Smith's visit, 12 Jan. 1609] [and] supposed to halfe conquer them, by this spectacle of his terrible crueltie.
And this is as much as my memory can call to mind worthie 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 euer 10 miles from Iames 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 neuer adventured to knowe any thing; nor euer 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 such faire houses, 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 siluer and dissolute liberty as they expected, [they] 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 ruine, a death, a hell; and their reports here, and their owne actions there according.
Some other there were that had yearely stipends to pass to and againe for transportation: who to keepe the mystery of the businesse in themselues, though they had neither time nor meanes to knowe much of themselues; 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 vpon the foundation of their fained experience, the planters, the mony, tinne [time], and meanes haue 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 haue vsed 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 liuing is soonest abused by him that hath a faire tongue and a dissembling heart.
There were many in Virginia meerely proiecting verbal and idle contemplatours, and those so deuoted to pure idlenesse that though they had lived two or three yeares in Virginia lordly, necessitie it selfe could not compell them to passe the Peninsula, or Pallisadoes of Iames 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 their passes?
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 vs in Virginia, then the Locusts to the Egyptians. For the labour of 30 of the best only, preserued in Christianitie, by their industrie, the idle livers of neare 200 of the rest: who liued neer 10 months of such naturall meanes, as the Country naturally of it selfe afforded.
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 subiected the Savages to our desired obedience, and receaued 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 gouern there, untill I left the Country:
Since, how they haue revolted, the Countrie lost, and againe replanted; and [how] the businesses hath succeeded from time to time, I referre you to the relations of them returned from Virginia, that haue bin more diligent in such observations.