Saturday, January 17, 2015

The English plot revenge for a killing.

         “Goddammit, man, you’re about to kill the wrong Indians:!” Will Sterling, his face white with anger, set his tankard of wine down so hard that some of the dark red liquid spilled over the edge. Across the table from him, George Yardley watched the stain seep into the wooden surface and said nothing. “God knows, I did not mean to come here,” Will said in a quieter voice. “But I know those Indians at Kecoughtan, and they are not the ones who killed Humphrey Blunt. Their werowance is Tanx-Powhatan, Powhatan’s eldest son, and he is upriver visiting his father. They would never act without him.” Will tried to look George in the eye but the latter turned away. “I know these Indians and you don’t, George. Spilling the wrong blood will not avenge Humphrey Blunt’s death, but it will bring Powhatan and his son and all the river tribes down on you. You must make Sir Thomas all off this attack.”
--An excerpt from JAMESTOWN: THE NOVEL (2014)

         Thomas Gates did not call off the attack in July 1610. It was not an attack, but rather a deception that lured some rhythm-loving Indians to their deaths.
         Years later, George Percy, who was there, wrote about what happened:

Then Sir Thomas Gates beinge desyreous for to be Revendged upon the Indyans at Kekowhatan did goe thither by water with a certeine number of men and amongste the rest A Taborer [drummer] with him being Landed he cawsed the Taborer to play and dawnse thereby to Allure the Indyans to come unto him . . . And then . . .a fittinge opportunety fell in upon them putt fyve to the sworde wownded many others some of them beinge after fownde in the woods with Sutche extraordinary Lardge and mortall wownds that itt seamed strange they Cold flye so far.”
--George Percy, “A Trewe Relacyon (1624).

This trickery put one more arrow in the Indians’ quivers. They would not forget that day.

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