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Filing Cabinet - Jamestown

The Story of Pocahontas
Her Capture, the Bargain for her Return, and her Marriage to John Rolfe

as told by Raphe Hamor, Secretary of the Jamestown Colony

An excerpt from A true discourse of the present estate of Virginia, and the successe of the affaires there till the 18 of Iune 1614. Together with a relation of the seuerall English townes and fortes, the assured hopes of that countrie and the peace concluded with the Indians. The christening of Powhatans daughter and her marriage with an English-man. Written by Raphe Hamor the yonger, late secretarie in that colony ... London, Printed by Iohn Beale for W. Welby, 1615.

It chaunced  Powhatans delight and darling, his daughter  Pocahontas, (whose fame hath even bin spred in England by the title of Nonparrella of Virginia) in her princely progresse, if I may so terme it, tooke some pleasure (in the absence of Captaine Argall (to be among her friends at Pataomecke (as it seemeth by the relation I had) imploied thither, as shopkeepers to a Fare, to exchange some of her fathers commodities for theirs, where residing some three months or longer, it fortuned upon occasion either of promise or profit, Captaine  Argall to arrive there, whom  Pocahantas, desirous to renue his familiaritie with the English, and delighting to see them, as unknowne, fearefull perhaps to be surprised, would gladly visit, as she did, of whom no sooner had Captaine Argall intelligence, but he delt with an old friend, and adopted brother of his  Iapazeus, how and by what meanes he might procure hir captive, assuring him, that now or never, was the time to pleasure him, if he entended indeede that love which he had made profession of, that in ransome of hir he might redeeme some of our English men and armes, now in the possession of her Father, promising to use her withall faire, and gentle entreaty:  Iapazeus well assured that his brother, as he promised would use her curteously promised his best indeavours and secrecie to accomplish his desire, and thus wrought it, making his wife an instrument (which sex have ever bin most powerfull in beguiling inticements) to effect his plot which hee had thus laid, he agreed that himselfe, his wife, and Pocahuntas, would accompanie his brother to the water side, whether come, his wife should faine a great and longing desire to goe aboorde, and see the shippe, which being there three or foure times, before she had never seene, and should bee earnest with her hushand to permit her: he seemed angry with her, making as he pretended so unnecessary a request, especially being without the company of women, which deniall she taking unkindely, must faine to weepe, (as who knows not that women can command teares) whereupon her husband seeming to pitty those counterfeit teares, gave her leave to goe aboord, so that it would please Pochahuntas to accompany her; now was the greatest labour to win her, guilty perhaps of her fathers wrongs, though not knowne as she supposed to goe with her, yet by her earnest perswasions, she assented: so forth with aboord they went, the best cheere that could be made was seasonably provided, to supper they went, merry on all hands, especially Iapazeus and his wife, who to expres their joy, would ere be treading upó Capt. Argals foot, as who should say tis don, she is your own. Supper ended, Pochahuntas was lodged in the Gunners roome, but Iapazeus and his wife desired to have some conference with their brother, which was onely to acquaint him by what stratagem they had betraied his prisoner, as I have already related: after which discourse to sleepe they went, Pocahuntas nothing mistrusting this policy, who nevertheless being most possessed with feare, and desire of returne, was first up, and hastened Iapazeus to be gon. Capt. Argall having secretly well rewarded him, with a small Copper kettle, and som other les valuable toies so highly by him esteemed, that doubtlesse he would have betrayed his owne father for them, permitted both him and his wife to returne, but told him, that for divers considerations, as for that his father had then eigh of our English men, many swords, peeces, and other tooles, which he had at severall times by trecherons murdering our men, taken from them which though of no use to him, he would not redeliver, he would reserve Pocahuntas, whereat she began to be exceeding pensive, and discontented, yet ignorant of the dealing of Iapazeus, who in outward appearance was no less discontented that he should be the meanes of her captivity, much a doe there was to perswade her to be patient, which with extraordinary curteous usage, by little and little was wrought in her, and so to James towne she was brought, a messenger to her father forthwith dispached to advertise him, that his only daughter was in the hands & possession of the English: ther to be kept til such times as he would ransom her with our men, swords, peeces, & other tools treacherously taken from us: the news was unwelcome, and troublesom unto him, partly for the love he bare to his daughter, and partly for the love he bare to our men his prisoners, of whom though with us they were unapt for any imployment) he made great use: and those swords, and peeces of ours, (which though of no use to him) it delighted him to view, and looke upon.

      He could not without long advise & delibertion with his Councell, resolve upon anything, and it is true, we heard nothing of him till three months after, by perswasions of others he returned us seaven of our men, with each of them a Musket unserviceable, and by them sent us word, that whensoever wee pleased to deliver his daughter, he would give us in satisfaction of his injuries done to us, and for the rest of our peeces broken and stolne from him, 500 Bushells of Corne, and be for ever friends with us, the men, and Peeces in part of payment we received: and returned him answere, that his daughter was very well, and kindely intreated, and so should be howsoever he dealt with us: but we could not believe that the rest of our Arms were either lost, or stolne from him, and therefore till he returned them all, we would not by any meanes deliver his daughter and then it should be at his choice, whether he would establish peace, or continue enemies with us. This answere as it seemed, pleased him not very wel, for we heard no more from him till in March last, when with Captaine Argalls Shippe, and some other Vessells belonging to the Colony, Sir Thomas Dale with an hundred and fifty men well appointed, went up into his owne River, where his chiefest habitations were, and carried with us his daughter, either to move them to fight for her, if such were their courage and boldnesse, as hath been reported, or to restore the residue of our demands, which were our peeces, swords, tooles. Some of the same men which he returned (as they promised) ran to him again, and because he had put us to the trouble to fetch them five hundred bushels of Corne: A great bravado all the way as we went up the River they made, demaunding the cause of our comming thither, which wee tould them was to deliver Pocahuntas, whom purposely we had brought with us, and to receive our Armes, men, & corn or else to fight with them, burn their howses, take away their Canoas, breake downe their fishing Weares, and doe them what other damages we could: Some of them to set a good face on the matter, replied, that if wee came to fight with them we were welcome, for they were provided for us, councelling us rather to retire (if wee loved our safeties) then proceed, bragging, as well they might, that wee had ever had the worst of them in that River, instancing by Capt: Ratliefe (not worthy remembering, but to his dishonor) who, with most of his company they betrayed and murthered: we told them since they durst remember us of that mischief, unlesse they made the better and more speedy agreement, we would now revenge that trechery, and with this discourse by the way as we went, we proceeded, and had no sooner entred the narrow of the river, the channell there lying within shot of the shoare, but they let their arrowes flie amongst us in the shippe themselves unseene to us, and in the forehead hurt one of our men, which might have hazarded his life without the present helpe of a skillfull Chirurgion.

      Being thus justly provoked, we presently manned our boats, went ashoare, and burned in that verie place some forty houses, and of the things we found therein, made freeboote and pillage, and as themselves afterward confest unto us, hurt and killed five or sixe of their men, with this revenge satisfying our selves, for that their presumption in shooting at us, and so the next day proceeded higher up the River, and Indians calling unto us, and demaunding why we went ashoare, burnt their houses, killed and hurt their men, and tooke away their goods. We replied that though we came to them in peaceable manner, and would have beene glad to have received our demaunds with love and peace, yet we had hearts and power to take revenge, and punish where wrongs should be offered, which having now don, though not so severely as we might, we rested content there with and are ready to imbrace peace with them if they pleased. Many excuses they seemed to pretend, that they shot not at us, but (if any such abuse were offered) it was some stragled Indian, ignorant of our pretence in comming to them, affirming that they themselves would be right glad of our love, and would indeavour to helpe us to what we came for, which being in the possession of Powhatan their King, they would without delay dispatch messengers to him, to know his purpose and pleasure, desiring faire quarter some 24 howers, for so long they pretend it would be before their messengers might returne this wee graunted, and what we promised, we ever exactly performed, the time now come, we inquired what Powhatan would doe, and had for answere, that our Englishmen lately with him, fearefull to be put to death by us, were runne away, and some of Powhatans men sent abroade in quest of them, but our swords and peeces so many as he had should be brought the next day, which meerely to delay time, they bare us in hand the next day they came not, higher up the river we went, and ancored neere unto the chiefest residencie Powhatan had, at a towne called Matchcot where were assembled (which we saw) about 400 men, well appointed with their bowes and arrowes to welcome us, here they dared us to come a shoare, a thing which we purposed before, so a shoare we went, our best landing being up a high steepe hill which might have given the enemy much advantage against us, but it seemed they as we were unwilling to begin, and yet would gladly have bin at blowes, being landed as if they had no shew of fear, they stirred not from us, but walked up and downe, by and amongst us, the best of them inquiring for our Weroance or king, with whom they would gladly consult to know the occasion of our comming thither, whereof when they were informed, they made answere that they were there ready to defend themselves, if we pleased to assault them, desiring neverthelesse some small time to dispatch two or three men once more to their king, to know his resolution, which if not answerable to our requests, in the morning if nothing else but blood would then satisfie us, they would fight with us, and thereby determine our quarrell, which was but a further delay to procure time to carrie away their provisions, neverthelesse we agreed to this their request, assuring them till the next day by noone we would not molest, hurt, nor detaine any of them, and then before we fought, our Drum and Trumpets should give them warning: upon which promise of ours, two of Powhatans sonnes being very desirous to see their sister who was there present ashore with us, came unto us, at the sight of whom, and her well fare, whom they suspected to be worse intreated, though they had often heard the contrary, they much rejoyced, and promised that they would undoubtedly perswade their father to redeem her, and to conclude a firme peace forever with us, and upon this resolution the two brothers with us retired aboarde, we having first dispatched two English men, Master John Rolfe and master Sparkes to acquaint their Father with the businesse in hand, the next day being kindly intreated, they returned, not at all admitted Powhatans presence, but spake with his brother Apachamo, his successor, one who hath already the commaund of all the people, who likewise promised us his best indeavors to further our just requests, and we because the time of the yeere being then Aprill, called us to our businesse at home to prepare ground, and set corne for our winters provisions, upon these termes departed, giving them respite till harvest to resolve what was best for them to doe, with this Proviso, that if final agreement were not made betwixt us before that time, we would thither returne again and destroy and take away all their corne, burne all the houses upon that river, leave not a fishing Weere standing, nor a Canoa in any creeke thereabout, and destroy and kill as many of them as we could.

      Long before this time a gentleman of approved behaviour and honest carriage, master John Rolfe had bin in love with Pocahuntas and she with him, which thing at the instant that we were in parlee with them, my selfe made known to Sir Thomas Dale by a letter from him, whereby he intreated his advise and fur- therance in his love, if so it seemed fit to him for the good of the Plantation, and Pocahuntas her selfe, acquainted her brethren therewith: which resolution Sir Thomas Dale wel approving, was the onely cause: he was so milde amongst them, who otherwise would not have departed their river without other conditions

      The bruite of this pretended marriage came soone to Powhatans knowledge, a thing acceptable to him, as appeared by his sudden content thereunto, who some ten daies after sent an olde uncle of hirs, named Opachisco, to give her as his deputy in the Church, and two of his sonnes to see the marriage solemnized, which was accordingly done about the fifth of Aprill and ever since we have had friendly commerce and trade, not onely with Powhatan himselfe, but also with his subjects round about us; so as now I see no reason why the Collonie should not thrive a pace. . . .

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