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Letter from the Governor's Council to the Earl of Southampton (December 2, 1624)

In a letter to Henry Wriothesley, third earl of Southampton, dated December 2, 1624, members of the governor's Council report on the condition of the Virginia colony, including progress in their campaign to destroy crops in the fields belonging to Virginia Indians. The English colonists were then engaged in the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622–1632).

Transcription from Original

Dec. 2

Right Hono[urab]le:

We haue Receaued L[etters] from the Lords of his maties most Honorble. privie Counsell of especyall recomenda[ti]one in the behalf of Capt John Martine, dated the xixº of december. 1623. Accompened wth yours of the first of ffebruary. to the same effect, which, by divers reportes and rumors synce his arivall by him raysed he hath little deserved at your handes, Notwthstandinge in obedience to theire and your Lor[dships] L[etters], We haue and are redye to give our best asistance to the accommodation of his busines, Wherof, when it shalbe finished (wherin we will vse our best expeditione) We will give you A p[ar]ticular Accompte

As for Order Concerninge the Wyddow Smaley [Elizabeth Smalley], wee had recceavd none, till the Receipt of your last L[etters], she her self as yett is nott arived in Virgnia, but remaines in new Englande, nor hath appoynted any to Solycite her cause, Butt at her arivall shee shall finde all lawfull favor

Yt hath pleased God this yeere to give us a greate Victorie over Otiotan & ye Pomunkeys, with theire Confederates, by a hand full, beinge in all not aboue 60 ffyghtinge men (wherof 24 were ymployde only in the Cuttinge downe of Corne) Conducted by the Gouernor, in wch was shewed wt the Indyans coulde doe, havinge mantayned fighte two days together, and much therof in open fielde, The younge men beinge beaten vpp by the elder, Many slayne, and as much Corne cutt downe, as by the Estimatione of men of good Judgment, Was Sufficyent to haue Sustayned fower Thousand men for a Twellv mounthe, who were so discoraged, that they gave over fightinge and dismayedly, stood most ruthfully lookinge one while theire Corne was Cutt downe, And had we been well furnished with powder,

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the Gouernor had [pre]ceeded further to Matepany River, wherby he had hassarded the Starvinge of all those nationes, In this expeditione sixteene of the English were hurte, the firste and seconde daye wherby nyne of the best shott were made vnserviceable for that tyme, yett never A man slayne, nor none that miscaried of those hurtes (since when they haue nott greatly troubled us, nor interupted our Labors, The Indyans were never knowne to shew soe greate resolutione, either encoraged by the paucytie of ours, or theire owne greate numbers, There beinge of the Pomuckeys eight hundred bowmen, besides divers nationes that cam to asiste them, fightinge nott only for safegarde of theire howses and such a huge quantetie of Corne, but for theire reputatione wth ye rest of the Salvages: wch we now hope they haue loste, it depending much vppon the success of this Actione, The Pomunckeys havinge made greate braggs, of what they would doe, Amonge the Northerne nationes: of whom the kinge of Potuxsone sent an Indyan vnto us expressly to be an eye witnes of the evente

Yf our store of powder had been answerable to [o]ur intentions and readines, We had gone vppon our neighboringe Indyans, although we vnderstande, yt they haue quitted their former Planta[ti]ons by the harshe vissitts, wch they receaved from us the former Sumer, and as we conceave did much relye vppon releiffe from the Pomukeys, who therfore planted ye greater quantitie, Our powder is now so farr exhausted, that we shall not be able to mantayne our Plantacons, should they make anny atempt vppon us, yf shortly a s[u]pplye come not in, Yt beinge now the seconde of december and noe ship harde of, A thinge vnaccustomed, And for may reasones doth putt us to many [per]plexities, We therof earnestly desire that yf powder be not allready sente accordinge to our former L[etters], That order bee taken for the sendinge therof wth the greatest Celeritie, that possible may bee

This Sumer, god be thanked, the Colony hath very well stoode to health: wch assureth us that ye mortalitie of former yeers, is to be imputed to other accydents, and not to ye Clymate And am[o]nge so many of his benefitts God hath sent us a plentifull harvest of Corne and the industrious are well stored wth other provisiones, soe that exceptinge ye number of men the Colony hath worne owt the Skarrs of the massacre, and yf if any thinge it come shorte in many thing[s] it exceeds the former Condicone

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Thus humbly desiringe your former favor and fervency in the Supporte of this Actione and ye settlinge of our estate much shaken by rumor, wch hath bred a generall irresolutione amonge us, wee humbly take our leaues and remaine

Your devoted Servants
Fra: Wyatt
Ffra: West
George Yardley
George Sandys
Jo: Pott
Roger Smith
Raphe Hamer

James Cytie the seconde of december 1624

To the right Honoble. Henry Earle of Suthamptone, wth the Lordes and others of the Counsell & Compony of Virginia.