Into Slavery: Racial Decisions in the Virginia Colony

By Joseph Boskin | Go to book overview

8
John Smith's Thoughts on the Massacre

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Thus have you heard the particulars of this massacre, which in those respects some say will be good for the Plantation, because now we have just cause to destroy them by all meanes possible: but I thinke it had beene much better it had never happened, for they have given us an hundred times as just occasions long agoe to subject them, ...Moreover, where before we were troubled in cleering the ground of great Timber, which was to them of small use: now we may take their owne plaine fields and Habitations, which are the pleasantest places in the Countrey. Besides, the Deere, Turkies, and other Beasts and Fowles will exceedingly increase if we beat the Salvages out of the Countrey: for at all times of the yeare they never spare Male nor Female, old nor young, egges nor birds, fat nor leane, in season or out of season; with them all is one. The like they did in our Swine and Goats, for they have used to kill eight in tenne more then we, or else the wood would most plentifully abound with victuall; besides it is more easie to civilize them by conquest then faire meanes; for the one may be made at once, but their civilizing will require a long time and much industry. The manner how to suppresse them is so often related and approved, I omit it here: And you have twenty examples of the Spaniards how they got the West-Indies, and forced the treacherous and rebellious Infidels to doe all manner of drudgery worke and slavery for them, themselves living like Souldiers upon the fruits of their labours. This will make us more circumspect, and be an example to posteritie: (But I say, this might as well have beene put in practise sixteene yeares agoe as now).

Thus upon this Anvill shall wee now beat our selves an Armour of proofe hereafter to defend us against such incursions, and ever hereafter make us more circumspect: but to helpe to repaire this losse, besides his Majesties bounty in Armes he gave the Company out of the Tower, and divers other Honorable persons have renewed their adventures, we must not omit the Honorable Citie of London, to whose endlesse praise wee may speake it, are now setting forward one hundred persons: and divers others at their owne costs are a repairing; and all good men doe thinke never the worse of the businesse for all these disasters.

What growing state was thereever in the world which had not the like?...

____________________
From: John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, With the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governors From Their First Beginning. An: 1584 to This Present 1624 ( London: Printed by I.D. and I.H. for Michael Sparken, 1624).

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