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Letter from Sir Thomas Dale to the
"R. and my most esteemed friend Mr. D.M. at his house at F. Ch. in London,"

June 18, 1614

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.

RIght Reuerend Sr by Sr Thomas Gates I wrot vnto you, of such occasions as then presented themselues, and now again by this worthy Gentleman Captaine Argall I salute you: for such is the reuerend regard I haue of you, as I cannot omit any occasion to expres the sincere affection I beare you. You haue euer giuen me encouragements to perseuer in this religious Warfare, vntill your last Letters; not for that you are now lesse well affected thereunto: but because you see the Action to bee in danger by many of their non performances who vnder tooke the businesse. I haue vndertaken, and haue as faithfully, & with all my might indeauored the pro secution with all allacrity, as God that knoweth the heart, can beare me record, what recompence, or what rewards, by whom, or when I know not where to expect; but from him in whose vineyard I labor, whose Church with greedy appetite I desire to erect. My glorious master is gone, that would haue ennamelled with his fauours the labours I vndertake, for Gods cause, and his immortall honour. He was the great Captaine of our Israell, the hope to haue builded vp this heauenly new Ierusalem he interred (I think) the whole frame of this businesse, fell into his graue: for most mens forward (at least seeming so) desires are quenched, and Virginia stands in desperate hazard.

 You there doe your duties, I will no way omit mine, the time I promised to labour, is expired: it is not a yoke of Oxen hath drawn me from this feast: it is not the marriage of a wife maks me hast home, though that sallat give an appetite to cause me returne. But I have more care of the Stock, then to set it upon a die, and rather put my selse to the curtesie of noble & worthy censures then ruine this worke; and have a iury (nay a million) of soule mouthed detracters, scan upon my endeauours, the ends whereof they cannot diue into. You shall briefely understand, what hath betide since my last, and how we now stand, and are likely to grow to perfection, if we be not altogeather neglected, my stay grounded upon such reason, as had I now returned, it would have hazarded the ruine of all.

Sir Thomas Gates having imbarqued himselfe for England, I put my selfe into Captaine Argalls ship, with a hundred and fifty men in my frigot, and other boats went into Pamaunkie riuer, where Powhatan hath his residence, and can in two or three daies, draw a thousand men togeather, with me I carried his daughter, who had been long prisoner with us, it was a day or two before we heard of them: At length they demaunded why we came; I gaue for answere that I came to bring him his daughter, conditionally he would (as had been agreed upon for her ransome) render all the armes, tooles, swords, and men that had runne away, and give me a ship full of corne, for the wrong he had done unto us: if they would doe this, we would be friends, if not burne all. They demaunded
maun-time to send to their King; I assented, I taking, they receiuing two pledges, to carrie my message to Powhatan. All night my two men lay not far from the water side, about noon the next day they told them the great King was three daies iourney off, that Opochankano was hard by, to whom they would have had them deliuer their message, saying, that what he agreed upon and did, the great King would confirme. This Opocankano is brother to Powhatan, and is his and their chiefe Captaine: and one that can as soone(if not sooner)as Powhatan commaund the men. But my men refused to doe my message unto any save Powhatan, so they were brought back, and I sent theirs to them, they tould me that they would fetch Simons to me, who had thrice plaid the runnagate, whose lies and villany much hindred our trade for corne: But they delayed us, so as we went ashore they shot at us, we were not behinde hand with them, killed some, hurt others, marched into the land, burnt their houses, tooke their corne, and quartered all night ashore.

The next day we went further up the riuer, they dogged us and called to know whither we went; wee answered, to burne all, if they would not doe as we demaunded, and had been agreed upon. They would they said, bring all the next day,so wee forbare all hostility, went ashore, their men in good numbers comming amongst us. but we were very cautious, & stood to our arms. The Kings daughter went ashore, but would not talke to any of them scarce to them of of the best sort, and to them onely, that if her father
had loued her, he would not value her lesse then olde swords, peeces, or axes: wherefore she would stil dwel with the English men, who loued her. At last came one from Powhatan, who tould us, that Simons was run away, to Nonfowhaticond, which was a truth, as afterwards appeared, but that the other English man was dead, that proued a lie: for since, Mr Hamor, whom I employed to Powhatan brought him to mee, our peeces, swords, and tooles within fifteen daies, should be sent to Iames towne, with some corne, and that his daughter should be my childe, and euer dwell with mee, desiring to be euer friends, and named such of his people, and neighbour Kings, as he desired to be included, and haue the benefit of the peace, promising if any of our men came to him, without leaue from me, he would send them back: and that if any of his men stole from us, or killed our cattel, he would send them to us to bee punished as we thought fit. With these conditions we returned, and within the time limited, part of our Arms were sent, and 20. men with corne, and promised more, which he hath also sent. Opachankano desired I would call him friend, and that he might call me so, saying he was a great Captaine, and did alwaies fight: that I was also a great Captaine, and therefore he loved mee; and that my friends should be his friends. So the bargain was made, and euery eight or ten daies, I had messages and presents from him, with many apparances that he much desireth to continue friendshippe.

Novv may you iudge Sir, if the God of battailes haue not a helping hand in this, that having our swords dravvn, killing their men, burning their houses, and taking their corne: yet they tendred us peace, and striue with all allacrity to keep us in good oppinion of them; by which many benefits arise unto us. First, part of our Armes, disgracefully lost long agoe, (kept by the Sauages as Monuments and Trophies of our shames) redeliuered, some repaire to our honor. Our catle to increase, without danger of destroying, our men at liberty, to hunt freely for venison, to fish, to doe anything else, or goe any whither, without danger; to follow the husbanding of their corne securely, whereof we have aboue fiue hundred Acres set, and God be praised, in more forwardnesse, then any of the Indians, that I haue seene, or heard off this yeere, roots, and hearbs we haue in abundance; all doubt of want is by Gods blessing quite vanished, and much plenty expected. And which is not the least materiall, we may by this peace, come to discouer the countrey better, both by our own trauells, and by the relation of the Sauages, as we grow in familiarity with them.

Powhatans daughter I caused to be carefully instructed in Christian Religion, who after shee had made some good progresse therein, renounced publickly her countrey Idolatry, openly confessed her Christian faith, was, as she desired, baptised, and is since married to an English Gentleman of good understanding, (as by his letter unto me, containing the reasons for his marriage of her you may perceiue) an other knot to binde this peace the stronger. Her Father, and friends gaue approbation to it, and her Vncle gaue
her to him in the Church: she liues ciuilly and louingly with him, and I trust will increase in goodnesse, as the knowledge of God increaseth in her. She will goe into England with me, and were it but the gayning of this one soule, I will thinke my time, toile, and present stay well spent.

Since this accident the Gouernours and people of Checkahomanies, who are fiue hundred bow-men, and better, a stout and warlike Nation, haue made meanes to haue us come unto them, and conclude a peace, where all the Governours would meete me. They hauing thus three or foure times importuned mee, I resolued to goe; so taking Captain Argall, with fifty men in my frigot, and barge I went thither: Captaine Argall with forty men landed, I kept aboord for some reasons. Vpon the meeting they tould Captain Argall they had longed to be friends, that they had no King, but eight great men, who gouernd them. He tould them that we came to be friends, asked them if they would haue King Iames to be their King, & whether they would be his men? They after som conference between themselues, seemed willing of both, demaunding if we would fight against their enemies, he tould them that if any did them iniurie, they should send me word, and I would agree them, or if their aduersaries would not, then I would let them haue as many men as they would to help them: they liked well of that, and tould him that all their men should helpe us. All this being agreed upon, C. Argall gaue euery Councellor a Tamahawk, and a peece of Copper, which was kindly taken; they requested further, that if their boats should happen to meet with our boats, and that they said they were the Chikahominy Englishmen, and King Iames his men, we would let them passe: we agreed unto it, so that they pronounced them selues English men, and King Iames his men, promising within fifteen daies to come unto Iames town to see me, and conclude theese conditions; euery bowman being to giue me as a Tribute to King Iames two measures of Corne euery haruest, the two measures contayning two bushells and a halfe, and I to giue every bowman a small Tamahawke, and to euery Counseller a suit of red cloath, which did much please them. This people neuer acknowledged any King, before; no nor euer would acknowledge Powhatan for their King, a stout people they be, and a delicate seat they haue.

Now Sir you see our conditions, you, and alworthy men may iudge, whether it would not be a griefe to see these faire hopes frostbitten and these fresh budding plants to wither? which had I returned, had assuredly followed: for heer is no one that the people would haue to gouern them, but my selfe: for I had now come away, had I not found a generall desire in the best fort to returne for England: letter upon letter, request upon request from their friends to returne, so as I knew not upon whom to conferre the care of this busines in my absence. whom I thought fitte was generally distasted, so as seeing the eminent ensuing danger, should I haue left this multitude, not yet fully refined, I am resolued to stay till haruest be got in, and then settle things according to my poore understanding, and returne: if in the interim there come no authorised Gouernour from England.

Consider I pray you since things be brought to this passe as you see, and that I should haue come away, if then through their factions, humors, mutinies, or indiscretion of the Chiefes I had left behind, this should fall to ruine: I then should receiue the imputation; I incurre the blame, for quitting the Plantation, although I might doe it, both with my honour, my promised stay of time being expired, and hauing warrant from my Soueraigne, the Kings Maiesty: but the precedent reasons moued me and that this action of such price, such excellency, and assured profit to mine own knowledge should not die to the scorne of our Nation, and to giue cause of laughter to the Papists that desire our ruine. I can assure you, no countrey of the world affoordes more assured hopes of infinit riches, which both by mine own peoples discouery, & the relation of such Sauages, whole fidelity we haue often found assureth me.

Oh why should so many Princes, and noble men ingage themselues and therby intermedling herein, haue caused a number of soules transport themselues, and be transported hither? why should they (I say) relinquish this so glorious an Action: for if their ends bee to build God a Church, they ought to perseuer: if othewise, yet their honour ingageth them to be constant. Howsoeuer they stand affected, heer is enough to content them, let their ends be either for God, or Mammon.

These things haue animated me to stay for a little season, to leaue those, I am tied in conscience to returne unto, to leaue the assured benefits of my other fortunes the sweete society of my friends, and acquaintance, with all mundall delightes, and reside heer with much turmoile, which I will constantly doe, rather then see Gods glorie diminished, my King and Countrey dishonoured, and these poore people, I haue the charge of ruined. And so I beseech you to answere or me, if you heare me taxed for my staying, as some may iustly do, and that these are my chiefe motiues God I take to witnesse. Remember me, and the cause I haue in hand, in your daily meditations, and reckon me in the number of those that doe sincerely loue you and yours, and will euer rest in all offices of a friend, to doe you seruice.

From Iames towne in Virginia the 18 of June, 1614.

Thomas Dale

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