The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture

By John C. Miller | Go to book overview

Pocahontas

Captain John Smith

Smith's story of his rescue by Pocahontas, together with his account of his exploits against the Turks in Hungary, have prompted some historians to accuse him of being an errant liar. Not until 1622-24, did Smith see fit to make public an event which he alleged had occurred almost fourteen years previously. But in 1608, when Smith wrote his first description of Virginia, he had good reason for concealing the hostility of the Indians and he certainly took no pride in having been rescued by a twelve-year-old girl. After Pocahontas' marriage to John Rolfe and her subsequent sensational popularity in England, Smith found it to his advantage to speak out. Suffering the pangs of an unrequited thirst for fame, Smith was now eager to associate his name with a celebrity like Pocahontas, even though she had been dead for six years.


CAPT. SMITH'S PETITION TO HER MAJESTY, IN BEHALF OF POCAHONTAS, DAUGHTER TO THE INDIAN EMPEROR POWHATAN.

To the most High and Virtuous Princess,

Queen ANNE, of Great Britain.

Most Admir'd Madam;

The Love I bear my God, my King and Country, hath so often embolden'd me in the worst of extreme Dangers, that now Honesty doth constrain me to presume thus far beyond myself, to present your Majesty this short Discourse. If Ingratitude be a deadly Poison to all honest Virtues, I must be guilty of that Crime, if I should omit any Means to be thankful.

So it was,

That about Ten Years ago, being in Virginia, and taken Prisoner by the Power of Powhatan, their chief King, I receiv'd from this great Savage exceeding great Courtesy, especially from his Son Nantaquaus; the manliest, comeliest, boldest Spirit I ever saw in a Savage; and his

____________________
Travels and Works of Captain John Smith. Edited by Edward Arber.

-231-

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The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 15
  • Part I - Arrivals 41
  • The Plymouth Plantation 43
  • A Description of New England 66
  • The New English Canaan 76
  • Letters 77
  • The Crossing to Pennsylvania! 83
  • Part II - Daily Life 99
  • Pirates in Plymouth 101
  • Thomas Morton of Merrymount 103
  • The Merrymount Colony 108
  • Edifying Incidents 113
  • An Exemplary Christian 115
  • Inoculation for Smallpox 118
  • Courtship 132
  • Marriage 141
  • On Taking a Mistress 154
  • The Speech of Polly Baker 156
  • Riding through Virginia 159
  • Part III - God and the Devil 167
  • Religious Tolerance 169
  • In Defence of Intolerance 175
  • Witchcraft in Salem 179
  • Witchcraft in Salem 185
  • Witchcraft in Salem 190
  • The Devil in the Shape of a Woman 193
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 207
  • Personal Narrative 212
  • Part IV - The Indians 221
  • The Indians in Virginia 223
  • Pocahontas 231
  • The Pequot War 239
  • The Pequot War 244
  • Indian Customs and Manners 248
  • Captured by Indians 257
  • Part V - The South 291
  • Virginia 293
  • History of the Dividing Line 310
  • Part VI - Literature 351
  • Anne Bradstreet 353
  • Michael Wigglesworth 357
  • Edward Taylor 367
  • Bacon's Epitaph 370
  • Ebenezer Cook 372
  • Benjamin Franklin 377
  • Part VII - Four Colonial Views 387
  • Itinerarium Dr. Alexander Hamilton 389
  • Autobiography 419
  • Journal 437
  • Letters from an American Farmer 479
  • Bibliography 499
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