America and West Indies: May 1607

Pages 6-7

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1860.

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May 1607

May 21. 15. "Relation of the discovery of our river from James Fort into the Main; made by Capt. Christopher Newport, and sincerely written and observed by a gentleman of the colony." In form of a journal which commences on Thursday 21st of May 1607. Capt. Newport, having fitted out a shallop with provisions and all necessaries belonging to a discovery, took with him five gentlemen, four marines, and fourteen sailors, whose names are given, with a perfect resolution not to return without finding the head of the river or some issue. Every thing that befel them is described in detail, particularly their proceedings with the different tribes of Indians with whom they met on their voyage of discovery. On 27th May, the day before their return, "having ended their discovery" their fort was assaulted by above 200 savages and in the skirmish eleven of their men were wounded, one of whom died, and a boy was killed. Four of the Council were hurt and their President Mr. Wynckfeild [Edward Wingfield] had a shot clean through his beard, yet escaped unhurt. This journal ends on 21st June 1607, when Capt. Newport dined ashore and "invited many of us to supper as a farewell." Annexed,
15. I. Description of the now discovered river and country of Virginia; with the likelihood of ensuing riches by England's aid and industry.
15. II. Brief description of the people. Their King is called "Great Pawatan," and has at least 20 kingdoms under his dominion. Dress. General appearance. Not a grey eye among them. The women do all the work. The men hunt and go at their pleasure. Habitations. Forty or fifty dwell together in a hatto or small village. Mode of living. Proper lusty straight men, run exceedingly swiftly. Warfare. Entertainment. So practised in the art of stealing that while looking in your face they will with their toes take a chisel, knife, or any light thing, and hold it an injury to have the thing stolen taken from them. Naturally given to treachery, but were found "in our travel up the river" rather a most kind and loving people. Sacrifice tobacco to the sun. Have many wives "to whom as near as I could perceive they keep constant." Pawatan has most wives. The great disease reigns in the men generally. Observed great respect "when they saw us at prayer." A very witty and ingenious people.