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by William Hughes
Sunday, May. 27, 2007 at 11:59 AM
Virginia is steeped in history. Recently, I decided to take in Jamestown. It sits on the James River, not far from the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1607, by the Brits, it almost went the way of the lost colony of Roanoke. However, Captain John Smith, a so-called “commoner,” saved the day. By the time, the Native Americans leaders figured out what a mortal threat the British interlopers posed to them, it was too late for them to do anything about it.
a_ship_docked_at_jamest.jpg, image/jpeg, 320x240
“History...has no present, only the past rushing into the future.” - John F. Kennedy, our martyred President. (1)
Jamestown, VA - For some reason, I wasn’t invited by the British Embassy to welcome QE II to the 400th reunion bash, which celebrated the founding of the colony here a few weeks back. It might have had something to do with the fact that the last time I was in Her Majesty’s presence, it was at a major league baseball game at the now-defunct Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, on May 15, 1991. That was a protest action dealing with spotlighting the moral issue of dismantling the police state in the British occupied north of Ireland. Went the tune, “God Save the Queen,” was played before the game began, a group of several hundred protesters, located in the right field grandstands--I was one of them--turned their collective backs on the Queen. That particular night, she was the guest of Dubya’s father, Bush 1, the then U.S. President. It was a strange evening! Besides being hot and humid, and having to put up with the Royals’ entourage and presidential coat holders, the Cal Ripken-led Orioles lost to the Oakland A’s, in a sloppy game, by a 6 to 3 score. Bummer!
So, on May 18, 2007, since I was in Richmond, VA, on a business trip, I went to Jamestown sans the Royal brigade in tow. It is about 50 miles southeast of the former capital of the Confederacy. First, however, I made the rounds of Richmond, a gracious city on the James River. (2) I must say that the State House, located in the center of town, is a truly glorious building--one of a kind. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson himself and is worth a trip to Richmond just to see it. In addition to all of the Civil War historical sites, like the Tredegar Iron Works, that one can visit, there is the well preserved home of one of my heroes, the great U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Hon. John Marshall. Marshall was also a patriot, who fought gallantly in the Revolutionary War, as part of the famed “Virginia Line,” and was the first biographer of George Washington. He was also the trial judge in the sensational Aaron Burr Treason case, which was held in Richmond in the State House.
Founded before Richmond, Jamestown was the first permanent British settlement in the “New World.” Jamestown gave birth to “British America” in 1607. The Spanish had been in the area, around 1560, long before the Brits, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, but they failed to put down any roots, even though at the time, they had a very powerful Navy to support any settlement. A good book to read about the Colonial expedition, privately financed by the “Virginia Company of London,” is a riveting tome by David A. Price, entitled, “Love & Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas and the Start of a New Nation.” Price knows how to tell a story and what a wild tale of murder, mayhem, love, intrigue, backbiting and betrayal it is. You could make ten Hollywood flicks out of it. Although the settlers feared the Native Americans might be cannibals, it was the settlers themselves, who during the “Starving Time,” (1609-10), turned on each other to survive.
One of the sites you see when you visit Jamestown is a re-creation of what it may have looked like in 1607. It is a small fort, with a few buildings inside, including a church and edifices to protect the food, stores and weapons. It was built up the James River, about 40 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, in order to defend it from any possible attack from any European powers. (No attack like this ever came.) Close by, an archaeology dig has been taking place and many artifacts are continuing to be found there. Fortunately, Virginians love their history, and along with the National Park Service, this area has received a protected status worthy of its importance. (3)
From the beginning, Jamestown was a profit motivated settlement, whose backers were primarily looking for gold, a water “trade route” to the Pacific Ocean, and an opportunity to convert the unsuspecting natives to Christianity. (Oh, shades of the late Evangelical preacher, the Rev. Jerry Falwell!) What’s clear from Price’s account was how bountiful the land and the waters were with game and fish and shellfish alike. Gold, of course, was never found in Virginia, nor was the water trade route to the Pacific. Today, sadly, nearly forty percent of the once pristine Chesapeake Bay contains “dead zones” where the fish can’t even breathe. Most of the pollution of the Bay comes from the growing commercial and residential developments along its shores and the farm chemicals runoffs into the Susquehanna River, its main source of fresh water. As a result, the Bay’s oyster population, once so abundant that is was seen as a threat to navigation, is also on the brink of extinction. The blue crab is in serious danger, as well. (4)
The Native American leader at the time of the Jamestown venture was Chief Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas. A wise old man, he knew instinctively that the Brits were up to no good. But, as Price underscored, he hesitated in striking a fatal blow against the grasping usurpers. After they got their footings, the Brit transplants were also able to cunningly play their imperial game--of divide and conqueror--with the Native American tribes which were based along the numerous tributaries of the Chesapeake. By the time all of the tribal chiefs got their act together, it was much too late for them to deal with the interlopers. The Brits were here to stay, with horrific consequences to follow for Native Americans.
Price also debunks the fable about Captain Smith being in love with Pocahontas and that that was supposedly the reason why she saved his life. At the time of the incident, on Dec. 30, 1607, the Indian princess was only a young girl of about twelve years of age. Smith was held captive by Chief Powhatan, in his village of “Werowocomoco, on the north side of the present day York River.” Later on, Pocahontas would, in fact, fall in love with an Englishman, one John Rolfe, who was then living at Jamestown. She was in 1611, literally kidnapped by the settler leader, the beastly Sir Thomas Dale, and sent back to England, with Rolfe, as a PR stunt. She died in England and never returned to America. Sir Dale, in the tradition of another raving homicidal maniac, Oliver Cromwell, liked to punish petty offenses by burning people “at the stake,” or tying them to a tree, so that they would “starve to death.” Despite having a wife back in England, the lecherous Sir Dale, a pompous hypocrite and Bible-quoting nut case, also attempted to marry one of Powhatan’s daughters, according to Price. She was only eleven years old!
Absent the energetic Captain Smith being on this journey of adventure, the Jamestown, aka “Jamestowne,” expedition may have ended like the ill-fated lost colony of Roanoke, off the North Carolina coast in 1587. That settlement was pushed by a favorite of QEI, Sir Walter Raleigh, and his half-brother, Humphrey Gilbert. Author Price reminds us that both of these blood stained, money-grubbing characters were known for their “enthusiastic butchery of the Irish...in that country, not sparing women or children.” Today, such mass killings, which was authorized and condoned by QEI, is called by its proper name--genocide! (5)
Captain Smith was the only “commoner” in a leadership role in the initial Jamestown effort. The rest, it is fair to say, were of a middling lot, according to Price. They believed working with their hands was simply out of the question for “a gentleman.” That was also why some of them died off quickly in the colony. An ex-soldier, Captain Smith from Willoughby by Alford, Lincolnshire, was mostly self educated and very well read. Indeed, he was a true Renaissance man, all five foot, four inches of him. He was familiar with explosives, horsemanship, and codes, too, and had plenty of guts. In one of his side trips, he navigated and mapped much of the Chesapeake Bay region. And, also, because of his respect for the indigenous peoples, Captain Smith maintained for historical purposes, the original Native American names of the many rivers and villages that he visited along the Chesapeake. (6)
Finally, I strongly recommend a visit to Jamestown. If you can, read Price’s book first. It will surely enhance the experience of your encounter with the history of early America, which is an important part of our enfolding national drama. God only knows how it will all end. I say that because I firmly believe that the Bush-Cheney Gang is running the country into the ground and the mostly cowardly U.S. Congress is in cahoots with it. Meanwhile, those slippery New World Order operatives are forever plotting our demise. Who knows? Unless the people wake up soon and take decisive action, the Endgame might be just around the corner!
1. I suspect, but I can’t prove, that JFK was murdered on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, by agents of the New World Order, and that the monstrous crime has been covered up. See, my commentary at: http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/10349/index.php
4. http://www.cbf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homev3 and
5. “The Way of the Aggressor” by John Michael.
© William Hughes 2007.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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