A PLAGUE OF RATS
AND now am I come to the spring of 1609, when befell us
that disaster which marked the beginning of the time of
suffering, of trouble, and of danger which was so near to
wiping out the settlement of Jamestown that the people had
already started on their way to England.
The day had come when we should put into the ground our
Indian corn that a harvest might follow. The supply, which
was to be used as seed, had been stored in casks and piled
up in the big house wherein were kept our goods.
When those who had been chosen to do the planting went for
the seed, it was found to have been destroyed by rats, and
not only the corn, but many other things
 which were in the
storehouse, had been eaten by the same animals.
Master Hunt maintained, and Captain Smith was of the same
opinion, that when the Phoenix was unloaded, the rats came
ashore from her, finding lodging in that building which
represented the vital spot of our town.
Howsoever the pests came there, certain it was we should
reap no harvest that year, unless the savages became more
friendly than they had lately shown themselves, and as to
this we speedily learned.