Saturday, January 31, 2015

Two Cultures at War, Three Children Dead

Percy’s journal, continued:
 [I] then dispersed my fyles apointeinge my Sowldiers to burne their howses and to Cutt downe their Corne groweinge aboutt the Towne. And after we marched with the quene and her Children to our Boates ageine. Where beinge noe soener well shipped my sowldiers did begin to murmur becawse the queen and her Children weare spared. So upon the same a Cowncell beinge called itt was agreed upon to putt the children to deathe the which was effected by Throweinge them overboard and shoteinge owtt their Braynes in the water.Yett for all this Crewellty the Sowldiers weare nott well pleased and I had mutche to doe To save the quenes lyfe for thatt Tyme.
--George Percy, “Trewe Relacyon” (1625).

     Then came the order to kill the queen.

      “I won’t do it!” Percy pounded his fist on the gunwale. “I’m sick to my stomach from killing!” .  . . . He could not get the children out of his mind. There had been three of them--two little boys, no more than four or five years old, and a little girl younger than that. Handsome, they were, with their smooth brown skin and their Indian-black hair. They had been playing, naked in the hot August sun, just outside their house when the attack came. The moment they saw the soldiers, their large dark eyes grew round with fear, and they skittered inside the house like frightened squirrels. When the soldiers threw them into the river, they clung to the men’s arms like small wild creatures, scratching and screaming. They had thrashed and splashed about when they hit the water, and so, for sport, three of the soldiers took out their pistols anjd shot at them. At such close range, the shells blew away parts of the children’s skulls, and some of their brain matter came out in the water.
--Virginia Bernhard,  Jamestown: The Novel (2014).

          What was their crime?

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