Saturday, January 3, 2015

The “sacrifice” of July 6, 1610

     This is the non-fiction version (the fictional one is the blog of 12/20).

    The sixth of July, Sir Thomas Gates, lieutenant general, coming down to Point Comfort, the north wind blowing rough he found had forced the longboat belonging to Algernon Fort to the other shore upon Nansemond side, [about eight miles across] somewhat short of Weroscoick, which to recover again, one of the lieutenant general’s men, Humfrey Blunt, in an old canoe made [went] over. But the wind driving him upon the strand [shore], certain Indians watching the occasion seized the poor fellow and led him up into the woods and sacrificed him. It did not a little trouble the lieutenant governor, who since his first landing in the country, how justly soever provoked, would not by any means be wrought to a violent proceeding against them, for all the practices of villainy with which they daily endangered our men, thinking it possible by a more tractable course to win them to a better condition. But now, being startled by this, he well perceived how little a fair and noble entreaty works upon a barbarous disposition, and therefore in some measure purposed to be revenged.

--William Strachey, “A True Reportory....” July 1610. Strachey sent this long letter to a mysterious “unknown lady” in England. Its account of the shipwreck on Bermuda inspired Shakespeare’s The Tempest  in 1611.
         Revenge would come three days later.

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