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Colonial Settlement, 1600s-1763
The English Establish a Foothold at Jamestown
Jamestown Given New Life, 1610

The two documents below deal with the aftermath of "the starving time." The first document, attributed by John Smith to William Box (it is almost exactly the same text as that in A True Declaration of the Estate in Virginia), describes the arrival of Lord De La Warr. According to the author, what did De La Warr do to get Jamestown on a better footing? According to the second document, what grounds are there for optimism that the colony will survive?

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Written by William Box (from John Smith's Generall Historie)

HIs Lordship [De La Warr] arrived the ninth of June 1610. accompanied with Sir Ferdinando Waynman, Captaine Houlcroft, Captaine Lawson, and divers other Gentlemen of sort; the tenth he came up with his fleet, went on shore, heard a Sermon, read his Commission, and entred into consultation for the good of the Colonie, in which secret counsell we will a little leave them, that we may duly observe the revealed counsell of God. Hee that shall but turne up his eie, and behold the spangled canopie of heaven, or shall but cast downe his eie, and consider the embroydered carpet of the earth, and withall shall marke how the heavens heare the earth, and the earth the Corne and Oile, and they relieve the necessities of man, that man will acknowledge Gods infinite providence: But hee that shall further observe, how God inclineth all casuall events to worke the necessary helpe of his Saints, must needs adore the Lords infinite goodnesse; never had any people more just cause, to cast themselves at the very foot-stoole of God, and to reverence his mercie, than this distressed Colonie; for if God had not sent Sir Thomas Gates from the Bermudas, within route daies they had almost beene famished; if God had not directed the heart of that noble Knight to save the Fort from fiering at their shipping, for many were very importunate to have burnt it, they had beene destitute of a present harbour and succour; if they had abandoned the Fort any longer time, and had not so soone returned, questionlesse the Indians would have destroied the Fort, which had beene the meanes of our safeties amongst them and a terror. If they had set saile sooner, and had lanched into the vast Ocean, who would have promised they should have incountered the Fleet of the Lord la Ware, especially when they made for New found land, as they intended, a course contrarie to our Navie approaching. If the Lord la Ware had not brought with him a yeeres provision, what comfort would those poore soules have received, to have beene relanded to a second distruction? . . .

The Lord Governour, after mature deliberation delivered some few words to the Companie, laying just blame upon them, for their haughtie vanities and sluggish idlenesse, earnestly intreating them to amend those desperate follies, lest hee should be compelled to draw the sword of Justice, and to cut off such delinquents, which he had rather draw, to the shedding of his vitall bloud, to protect them from injuries; heartning them with relation of that store hee had brought with him, constituting officers of all conditions, to rule over them, allotting every man his particular place, to watch vigilantly, and worke painfully: This Oration and direction being received with a generall applause, you might shortly behold the idle and restie diseases of a divided multitude, by the unitie and authoritie of this government to be substantially cured. Those that knew not the way to goodnesse before, but cherished singularitie and faction, can now chalke out the path of all respective dutie and service: every man endevoureth to outstrip other in diligence: the French preparing to plant the Vines, the English labouring in the Woods and grounds; every man knoweth his charge, and dischargeth the same with alacritie. Neither let any man be discouraged, by the relation of their daily labour (as though the sap of their bodies should bee spent for other mens profit) the setled times of working, to effect all themselves, or as the Adventurers need desire, required no more paines than from six of the clocke in the morning, untill ten, and from two in the afternoone, till foure, at both which times they are provided of spirituall and corporall reliefe. First, they enter into the Church, and make their praiers unto God, next they returne to their houses and receive their proportion of food. Nor should it bee conceived that this businesse excludeth Gentlemen, whose breeding never knew what a dales labour meant, for though they cannot digge, use the Spade, nor practice the Axe, yet may the staied spirits of any condition, finde how to imploy the force of knowledge, the exercise of counsell, the operation and power of their best breeding and qualities. The houses which are built, are as warme and defensive against wind and weather, as if they were tiled and slated, being covered above with strong boards, and some matted round with Indian mats. Our forces are now such as are able to tame the furie and trecherie of the Salvages: Our Forts assure the Inhabitants, and frustrate all assaylants. And to leave no discouragement in the heart of any, who personally shall enter into this great action, I will communicate a double comfort; first, Sir George Summers, that worthy Admirall hath undertaken a dangerous adventure for the good of the Colonie.

Upon the 15. of June, accompanied with Captaine Samuel Argall, hee returned in two Pinaces unto the Bermudas, promising (if by any meanes God will open a way to that Iland of Rocks) that he would soone returne with six moneths provision of flesh; with much crosse weather at last hee there safely arrived, but Captaine Argall was forced backe againe to James towne, whom the Lord De la Ware not long after sent to the River of Patawomeke, to trade for Corne; where finding an English boy, one Henry Spilman, a young Gentleman well descended, by those people preserved from the furie of Powhatan, by his acquaintance had such good usage of those kinde Salvages, that they fraughted his ship with Corne, wherewith he returned to James towne. . . .

From A True Declaration of the Estate in Virginia (1610)

Vpon the fifteenth of Iune (accompanied with Captaine Samuel Argoll) he returned in two Pinaces vnto the Bermudos; promising (if by any meanes God will open a way to that Iland of Rockes) that he would soone returne with sixe moneths prouision of flesh, and with liue Hogges to store againe Virginia. It is but eleuen daies saile, and we hope that God will send a pillar of fire to direct his iourney. The other comfort is, that the Lord gouernour hath built two new Forts (the one called Fort Henry, and the other Fort Charles, in honor of our most noble Prince and his hopefull brother) vpon a pleasant hill, and neere a little riuelet, which we call Southhampton riuer. They stand in a wholsome ayre, hauing plenty of springs of sweet water; they command a great circuit of ground, containing wood, pasture and meadow; with apt places for vines, corne and gardens. In which Forts it is resolued, that all those that come out of England shall be at their first landing quartered; that the wearisomnes of the sea may bee refreshed in this pleasing part of the countrey.

The fertility of the soile, the temperature of the climate, the form of gouernment, the condition of our people, their daily inuocating of the name of God, being thus expressed; Why should the successe (by the rules of mortall iudgement) be despaired? Why should not the rich haruest of our hopes be seasonably expected? I dare say, that the resolution of Cæsar in Fraunce, the designes of Alexander in Greece, the discoueries of Hernando Cortes in the West, and of Emanuel, King of Portugale in the East, were not incouraged vpon so firme grounds of state and possibility. All which I could demonstrate out of their owne Records, were I not preuented with hast, to satisfie their longings, who with an open eare, hearken after the commodities of the countrey: whose appetites I will no longer frustrate, then their eyes can runne ouer this succinct Narration.

I called it a succinct Narration, because the commodities in former Treatises haue beene largely described, which I will here only epitomise, lest any man should change his resolution, when the same grounds remaine, which were the cause of his former aduenture.


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View the original documents by clicking on the links above. The documents are from The Capital and the Bay. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.