A Second Chance for Jamestown

Some months after A true declaration was published the Company learned of the survival of Sir Thomas Gates. In May, 1610, Gates and his men appeared at Jamestown—a year late—in a ship they had constructed from the remains of the one wrecked on Bermuda. Shocked at the conditions at Jamestown, "so full of misery and misgovernment," Gates decided to abandon the colony and return to England. As the Jamestown survivors sailed down the James River they encountered the longboat of the new Governor de la Warre, who had just entered the James with 400 men and supplies for a year. The Jamestown government was formally handed over to de la Warre and the colony, instead of being abandoned, was given another chance to succeed.


[20] Military Regime, 1610-1618
William Strachey. For the colony in Virginia Britannia. Lawes divine, morall and martiall &c. (London, 1612).

Lord de la Warre realized that the survival of the colony depended on the re-establishment of order.  His commission as Captain General authorized him to attack the colony's enemies, which he did with vigor.  This list of laws covers virtually all aspects of life in the colony.

29.  No man or woman (upon paine of death) shall runne away from the Colonie, to Powhatan, or any savage weroance whatsoever.
31.  What a man or woman soever, shal rob any Garden, publike or private, being set to weed the same, or wilfully pluck up therein any root, herbe, or flower, to spoile and wast or steale the same … shall be punished with death.”


[21] A Civilized Society
"The table of such as are required to this plantation." [Virginia Company of London]. A true and sincere declaration of the purpose and ends of the plantaion begun in VIrginia. (London, 1610).

This Company pamphlet focuses on the future of Virginia, outlining past problems and possible solutions.  It provides a list of the types of skilled workers required for a successful plantation and announces that surviving Roanoke settlers had been reported in the vicinity who could be counted upon to provide aid to the new arrivals.  Of course, the "lost colonists" of Roanoke would not appear.


[22] "God will not let us fall"
Richard Rich. Newes from Virginia. The lost flocke triumphans. … With the manner of their distresse in the Iland of Devils (otherwise called Bermoothawes) where they remained 42 weeks, & builded two pynaces, into which they returned into Virginia. (London, 1610).

In verse, Rich celebrates the deliverance of Sir Thomas Gates from the hurricane and the Virginia colony from the failure predicted by its detractors.

"And to th' Adventurers thus he writes,
Be not dismayed at all:
For scandal can not doe us wrong
God will not let us fall.
Let England know our willingnesse,
For that our worke is good.
Wee hope to plant a Nation,
Where none before has stood."


[23] Pocahontas Kidnapped
Richard Hakluyt. Divers voyages. (London, 1582).

"Pocahuntas Virginiae regis filia." Theodor de Bry. Grands voyages. part 10 (Oppenheim, 1619).

Hostilities between the Americans and the Virginia colonists escalated steadily.  In the spring of 1612, Capt. Samuel Argall was trading for corn and heard that Powhatan's daughter was visiting a local chief.  With the help of the chief's brother and his wife, Pocahontas was lured on board Argall’s vessel and taken to Jamestown, giving the English leverage to exact a promise of peace from Powhatan in return for her safety.  Pictured here is Pocahontas facing the Native American couple (holding their rewards) who lured her into the English trap.


[24] Pocahontas / Matoaka / Rebecca Rolfe
"Matoaka als Rebecka." John Smith. Generall historie of Virginia, New-England and the Summer isles. (London, 1624).

Pocahontas never returned to her people. She converted to Christianity, was baptized Rebecca, and married the Virginia planter, John Rolfe, in 1614. After giving birth to a child they named Thomas, the Rolfe family returned to England where they caused a stir in London. Pocahontas fell ill at the beginning of their trip back to Virginia in 1617, died, and was buried at Gravesend, England. John Rolfe returned to Virginia, remarried, and died in 1622. Their son, Thomas, was raised in England by an uncle and returned to Virginia in 1620.

The image on the left was engraved by Simon van de Passe (ca. 1595-1647) from a drawing of Pocahontas taken from life. It was added to Smith's Generall historie by a nineteenth-century book collector who wished to "improve" the status of his edition.

  Exhibition prepared by Susan Danforth, Curator of Maps and Prints, John Carter Brown Library.
On view in the Reading Room August to November 2007.