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Powhatan Address to Captain John Smith, 1609

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:43 am
by admin
Powhatan Address to Captain John Smith, 1609

"I am now grown old and must soon die, and the succession must descend in order, to my brothers, Opitchapam, Opechancanough, and ekataugh, and then to my two sisters, and their two daughters.

I wish their experience was equal to mine, and that your love to us might not be less than ours to you. Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? We can hide our provisions and fly into the woods. And then you must consequently famish by wrongdoing your friends.

What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed and willing to supply your wants if you come in a friendly manner; not with swords and guns as to invade an enemy. I am not so simple as not to know that it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children; to laugh and be merry with the English...

I, therefore, exhort you to peaceable councils, and above all I insist that the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away."

Discussion Questions:
1. What do you think was Powhatan’s overall message to John Smith?

2. What do you think Powhatan meant by “you must consequently famish by wrongdoing your friends”?