Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Princess Pocahontas   By: (1872-)

Book cover

First Page:








[Illustration: Decorative]


To most of us who have read of the early history of Virginia only in our school histories, Pocahontas is merely a figure in one dramatic scene her rescue of John Smith. We see her in one mental picture only, kneeling beside the prostrate Englishman, her uplifted hands warding off the descending tomahawk.

By chance I began to read more about the settlement of the English at Jamestown and Pocahontas' connection with it, and the more I read the more interesting and real she grew to me. The old chronicles gave me the facts, and guided by these, my imagination began to follow the Indian maiden as she went about the forests or through the villages of the Powhatans.

We are growing up in this new country of ours. And just as when children get older they begin to feel curious about the childhood of their own parents, so we have gained a new curiosity about the early history of our country. The earlier histories and stories dealing with the Indians and the wars between them and the colonists made the red man a devil incarnate, with no redeeming virtue but that of courage. Now, however, there is a new spirit of understanding. We are finding out how often it was the Indian who was wronged and the white man who wronged him. Many records there are of treaties faithfully kept by the Indians and faithlessly broken by the colonists. Virginia was the first permanent English settlement on this continent, and if not the most important, at least equally as important to our future development as that of New England. From how small a seed, sown on that island of Jamestown in 1607, has sprung the mighty State, that herself has scattered seeds of other states and famous men and women to multiply and enrich America. And amid what dangers did this seed take root! But for one girl's aid as far as man may judge it would have been uprooted and destroyed.

In truth, when I look over the whole world history, I can find no other child of thirteen, boy or girl, who wielded such a far reaching influence over the future of a nation. But for the protection and aid which Pocahontas coaxed from Powhatan for her English friends at Jamestown, the Colony would have perished from starvation or by the arrows of the hostile Indians. And the importance of this Colony to the future United States was so great that we owe to Pocahontas somewhat the same gratitude, though in a lesser degree, that France owes to her Joan of Arc.

Pocahontas's greatest service to the colonists lay not in the saving of Captain Smith's life, but in her continued succour to the starving settlement. Indeed, there are historians who have claimed that the story of her rescue of Smith is an invention without foundation. But in opposition to this view let me quote from "The American Nation: A History." Lyon Gardiner Tyler, author of the volume "England in America" says:

"The credibility of this story has been attacked.... Smith was often inaccurate and prejudiced in his statements, but that is far from saying that he deliberately mistook plain objects of sense or concocted a story having no foundation."

and from "The New International Encyclopaedia":

"Until Charles Deane attacked it (the story of Pocahontas's rescue of Smith) in 1859, it was seldom questioned, but, owing largely to his criticisms, it soon became generally discredited. In recent years, however, there has been a tendency to retain it."

It is in Smith's own writings, "General Historie of Virginia" and "A True Relation," that we find the best and fullest accounts of these first days at Jamestown. He tells us not only what happened, but how the new country looked; what kinds of game abounded; how the Indians lived, and what his impressions of their customs were... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books