Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

end for that purpose, when she was suddenly seized with the small-pox, and, after a few days' illness, died at that place in the twenty-second year of

her age.

The fate of Pocahontas called forth in England the sympathy of all who knew how much she had done to support the cause, and save the lives, of the early British settlers in America. Her death was also deeply regretted by the old Indian king her father, who continued faithfully to keep his promise of friendship to the English. Powhatan expressed his joy that her son lived, and hoped that, after the boy should have grown up, and become strong, he would again return from beyond the great salt lake, and visit him.

After his mother's death young Rolfe remained in England to be educated under the care of an uncle. He afterwards went to Virginia, and rose to distinction and affluence in his native country. By his marriage he had a daughter, an only child, from whom have descended some of the principal families, including many highly respected individuals, of Virginia. Among the latter, it may be permitted to the compiler of these Notes to mention, with peculiar regard, the name of John Randolph of Roanoake, with whom he had the good fortune to become personally acquainted in America - one who has eminently signalized himself in the United States, during a long and stormy period

in which he has sat as a representative in Congress for his native state of Virginia, and who, highly and justly distinguished by his countrymen as an orator and a scholar, perhaps esteems himself in nothing more fortunate than that there flows in his veins the blood of Pocahontas.

CHAPTER VI.

KINDNESS OF THE INDIANS TO THE EARLY COLO

NISTS IN NEW ENGLANDIMPRUDENT CONDUCT OF THE ENGLISH HOSTILITIES IN WHICH THE SETTLERS WERE ENGAGED WAR WITH THE PEQUOTS.

ONE of the most unfortunate errors into which the early settlers of New England appear to have fallen, was their propensity to disperse themselves all over the face of the country. Instead of forming a compact body, sufficiently strong to resist with effect any serious attack from the natives, and continuing that system until they had obtained a complete knowledge of the Indian manners, habits, and prejudices, and afterwards gradually extending as from a common centre, they at once scattered themselves along the coast, and throughout the interior. The successive bodies of emigrants from the mother country seemed never disposed to plant themselves in the same district, but endeavoured to obtain rival patents, and exclusive grants of land, in dispersed and distant situations ; commencing settlements which they were unable to defend, and building churches where they could not in safety gather a congregation. They were obliged,” says Dr. Trumbull, “ to keep a constant watch and

[ocr errors]

guard at their houses of worship on the Lord's day, and at other seasons, whenever they convened for the public worship.” And, “ In Connecticut every family, in which there was a man capable of bearing arms, was obliged to send one complete in arms every Lord's day.”

In the scattered situations in which they had thus placed themselves, it was impossible for the. settlers to cultivate their farms without running the constant risk of injury from the natives when at war with each other. The alliances, offensive and defensive, which the English were soon induced to form with some of the tribes, had also the effect of raising against them numerous and powerful bands of Indians, whom they were never at any subsequent period enabled to conciliate. At the first landing of the colonists, they had met with the utmost kindness from the Indians in their neighbourhood; and indeed, without their assistance, the emigrants would probably bave all perished. Common prudence ought to have taught them to shun the slightest interference in the contests and quarrels existing between the tribes; and they ought never to have given any active assistance to either party

Do not win the favour of savages, says Lord Bacon,“ by helping them to invade their enemies."

The consequence of an opposite line of

* Trumbull's History of Connecticut, book i. ch. 5 and 7.

conduct on the part of the settlers, was the inveterate hostility of the natives ; and the English colonists found, when too late, that the Indians were not to be injured with impunity.

The histories of the first British settlements in North America, and particularly those relating to the extensive colonies of New England, were compiled principally by the resident ministers of the various churches which were early established in that country.

These historians appear to have taken much pains in collecting the details of those contests with the Indians, in which they naturally felt a peculiar interest; and although their writings display no small degree of rancour against the native population, yet enough may be gathered from them to satisfy every unprejudiced reader, that the Indians were treated by the Europeans with extreme injustice. To this treatment is chiefly to be ascribed the signal miseries which both parties experienced for a long period of time. Great allowance, indeed, ought to be made for the unfortunate circumstances in which most of the first New England settlers were placed. Driven from their native land by tyrannical bigotry and persecution, they had transported themselves across the Atlantic, taking refuge among the wilds and forests of an unexplored continent, where they were surrounded by savage tribes, and almost destitute of the necessaries of life. But, whatever sympathy

« ElőzőTovább »