Saturday, March 1, 2014

Winter, 1610 at Jamestown: "A world of miseries"

The next part of George Percy’s journal is too grim to be paraphrased. It deserves quoting in full, just as he wrote it:
         Now all of us at James Towne beginneinge to feele the sharp pricke of hunger, which noe man [can] trewly descrybe but he which hath Tasted the bitternesse thereof. A world of miseries ensued . . . in so much that some to satisfye their hunger have Robbed the store [storehouse], for the which I Caused them to be executed. Then haveinge fedd upon horses and other beastes as longe as they Lasted [that would have been the horse and four mares, and the goats and sheep that John Smith’s presidency had left], we weare gladd to make shifte with vermin, as doggs, Catts Ratts, and myce, All was fishe thatt Came to Nett to satisfye Crewell hunger, as to eat Bootes shoes, or any other leather some could come by. And those being Spente and devoured, some were inforced to search the woodes and to feed upon Serpentts and snakes and to digge the earthe for wylde and unknowne Rootes, where many of our men weare Cutt off and slayne by the Savages.

Inside the log fort, starvation; outside it, “savages.”
JAMESTOWN: THE NOVEL (2014) is now available on

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