John Smith

1580 - 1631

A Quote by John Smith on absence, admiration, contentment, execution, fatherhood, fighting, friendship, good, home, lies, romance, and understanding

Did young Pocahontas really intercede to prevent the execution of Captain John Smith? This romantic tale is conspicuously absent from Smith's initial accounts of his captivity under Powhatan: "Arriving at Werawocomoco, their Emperour [Powhatan] proudly lying uppon a Bedstead a foote high upon tenne or twelve Mattes... and with such grave and majesticall countenance, as drave me into admiration to see such a state in a naked salvage, he kindly welcomed me with good wordes, and great Platters of sundrie victuals, assuring me his friendship, and my libertie within foure days... In describing to him the territories of Europe, which was subject to our Great King whose subject I was, the innumerabl e multitude of his ships, I gave him to understand the noyse of Trumpets, and terrible manner of fighting were under captain Newport my father... At his greatnesse hee admired, and not a little feared... [A]nd thus having with all the kindnes hee could devise, sought to content me: he sent me home..."

John Smith (1580 - 1631)

Source: A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate as Hath Happened in Virginia..., 1608

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Smith on books, daughters, death, devil, friendship, history, imagination, popularity, and salvation

In 1617, a new edition of Smith's True Relation went into print, in which the Pocahontas episode was appended as a sequence of footnotes to the narrative of Smith's captivity under Powhatan. Six years later, the story of Smith's salvation, now quite colorfully detailed, was incorporated into an extensively amended reprint of Symond's Proceedings, published as Book III of Smith's own history of Virginia. Since then, the tale has been firmly fixed in the popular imagination. "At last they brought him [Smith] to Meronocomoco, where was Powhatan their Emperor. ...[H]aving feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan : then as many as could layd hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beate out his braines, Pocahontas the kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her own upon his to save him from death: whereat the Emperour was contented he should live to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper... Two days after, Powhatan having disguised himselfe in the most fearfullest manner he could, caused Captaine Smith to be brought forth to great house in the woods... [T]hen Powhatan more like a devil then a man with some two hundred more as blacke as himselfe, came unto him and told him now they were friends, and presently he should goe to James towne..."

John Smith (1580 - 1631)

Source: The Generall History of Virginia, 1623

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Smith on age, christianity, compassion, daughters, debt, execution, fatherhood, heart, history, husbands, power, respect, salvation, sister, success, and women

Smith's first report of his salvation at the hands of Pocahontas evidently occurs in a 1616 letter to Queen Anne, written to notify the Crown of his debt to the Indian princess "before she [Pocahontas] arrived at London. . . . "(John Smith, The General History of Virginia) Pocahontas disembarked at Plymouth, England with her husband, John Rolfe, on June 31, 1616, to become the first Indian woman ever to visit Britain. Her subsequent success with the royal court is well-known. "That some ten yeeres agoe being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan their chiefe king, I received from this great Salvage exceeding great courtesie, especially from his sonne Nantaquaus . . . and his sister Pocahontas, the kings most deare and wel-beloved daughter, being but a childe of twelve or thirteen yeeres of age, whose compassionate pitifull heart, of my desperate estate, gave me much cause to respect her: I being the first Christian this proud king and his grim attendants ever saw: and thus inthralled in their barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of want that was in the power of those my mortall foes to prevent, notwithstanding al their threats. After some six weeks fatting amongst those Salvage Courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she hazarded the beating out of her owne braines to save mine, and not onely that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to James towne..."

John Smith (1580 - 1631)

Source: Letter to Queen Anne, 1616

Contributed by: Zaady

Syndicate content