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Richard of Jamestown by  James Otis


 

 

DISAGREEABLE MEASURES OF DISCIPLINE

LEST there should be any question as to whether my master intended to carry out this threat or no, William Laxon, one of the carpenters, was forthwith set to work building stocks in front of the tent where lived Master Ratcliffe, the new President of the Council. Nor was this the only change disagreeable to our gentlemen, which Captain Smith brought about. No sooner had Nicholas Skot proclaimed the order that whosoever played at bowls should be set in the stocks, than he was commanded to turn about and announce with all the strength of his lungs, so that every one in the village might hear and understand, that those who would not work should not have whatsoever to eat.


[Illustration]

[86] Verily this was a hard blow to the gentlemen of our company, who prided themselves upon never having done with their hands that which was useful.

One would have thought my master had made this rule for his own particular pleasure, for straightway those of the gentlemen who could least hold their tempers in check, gathered in the tent which Master Wingfield had taken for his own, and there agreed among themselves that if Captain Smith persisted in such brutal rule, they would overturn all the authority in the town, and end by setting the Captain himself in the stocks which William Laxon was then making.

It so chanced that Master Hunt overheard these threats at the time they were made, and, like a true friend and good citizen, reported the same to Captain Smith.

Whereupon my master chose a certain number from among those of the gentlemen who had become convinced that sharp measures were necessary if we of Jamestown would live throughout the winter, commanding that they make careful search of every tent, cave, hut or house in the village, taking therefrom all [87] that was eatable, and storing it in the log house which had been put up for the common use.

Then he appointed Kellam Throgmorton, a gentleman who was well able to hold his own against any who might attempt to oppose him, to the office of guardian of the food, giving strict orders that nothing whatsoever which could be eaten, should be given to those who did not present good proof of having done a full day's labor.

Of course the people who lay sick were excused from such order, and Master Hunt was chosen to make up a list of those who must be fed, yet who were not able to work by reason of illness.


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