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Colonial Settlement, 1600s-1763
Virginia's Early Relations with Native Americans
Pocahontas Marries John Rolfe, 1613

When John Rolfe asked Governor Sir Thomas Dale's permission to marry Pocahontas, he suggested it was "for the good of this plantation, for the honour of our country, for the glory of God, for my own salvation, and for the converting to the true knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, an unbelieving creature, Pokahuntas . . . ." What is John Smith's view of the marriage? What does Smith suggest happened as a result of this marriage?

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Two of Powhatans sonnes come to see Pocahontas.

Upon this promise, two of Powhatans sonnes came unto us to see their sister, at whose sight, seeing her well, though they heard to the contrarie, they much rejoiced, promising they would perswade her father to redeeme her, and for ever be friends with us. And upon this, the two brethren went aboord with us, and we sent Master John Rolfe and Master Sparkes to Powhatan, to acquaint him with the businesse; kindly they were entertained, but not admitted the presence of Powhatan, but they spoke with Opechancanough, his brother and successor; hee promised to doe the best he could to Powhatan, all might be well. So it being Aprill, and time to prepare our ground and set our Corne, we returned to James Towne, promising the forbearance of their performing their promise, till the next harvest.

The mariage of Pocahontas to Master John Rolfe, 1613.

Long before this, Master John Rolfe, an honest Gentleman, and of good behaviour, had beene in Jove with Pocahontas, and she with him, which thing at that instant I made knowne to Sir Thomas Dale by a letter from him, wherein hee intreated his advice, and she acquainted her brother with it, which resolution Sir Thomas Dale well approved: the brute of this mariage came soone to the knowledge of Powhatan, a thing acceptable to him, as appeared by his sudden consent, for within ten daies he sent Opachisco, an old Uncle of hers, and two of his sons, to see the manner of the marriage, and to doe in that behalfe what they were requested, for the confirmation thereof, as his deputie; which was accordingly done about the first of Aprill: And ever since wee have had friendly trade and commerce, as well with Powhatan himselfe, as all his subjects.

The Chicahamanias desire frienship.

Besides this, by the meanes of Powhatan, we became in league with our next neighbours, the Chicahamanias, a lustie and a daring people, free of themselves. These people, so soone as they heard of our peace with Powhatan, sent two messengers with presents to Sir Thomas Dale, and offered him their service, excusing all former injuries, hereafter they would ever be King James his subjects, and relinquish the name of Chickahamania, to be called Tassautessus, as they call us, and Sir Thomas Dale there Governour, as the Kings Deputie; onely they desired to be governed by their owne Lawes, which is eight of their Elders as his substitutes. This offer he kindly accepted, and appointed the day hee would come to visit them.

When the appointed day came, Sir Thomas Dale and Captaine Argall with fiftie men well appointed, went to Chickahamania, where wee found the people expecting our comming, they used us kindly, and the next morning sate in counsell, to conclude their peace upon these conditions:

Articles of Peace.

First, they should for ever bee called Englishmen, and bee true subjects to King James and his Deputies. Secondly, neither to kill nor detaine any of our men, nor cattell, but bring them home. Thirdly, to bee alwaies ready to furnish us with three hundred men, against the Spaniards or any. Fourthly, they shall not enter our townes, but send word they are new Englishmen. Fiftly, that every fighting man, at the beginning of harvest, shall bring to our store two bushels of Corne, for tribute, for which they shall receive so many Hatchets. Lastly, the eight chiefe men should see all this performed, or receive the punishment themselves: for their diligence they should have a red coat, a copper chaine, and King James his picture, and be accounted his Noblemen.

All this they concluded with a generall assent, and a great shout to confirme it: then one of the old men began an Oration, bending his speech first to the old men, then to the young, and then to the women and children, to make them understand how strictly they were to observe these conditions, and we would defend them from the furie of Powhatan, or any enemie whatsoever, and furnish them with Copper, Beads, and Hatchets; but all this was rather for feare Powhatan and we, being so linked together, would bring them againe to his subjection; the which to prevent, they did rather chuse to be protected by us, than tormented by him, whom they held a Tyrant. And thus wee returned againe to James towne.


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