"THE STARVING TIME"
WE came to know what starvation meant during that winter,
and were I to set down here all of the suffering, of the
hunger-weakness, and of the selfishness we saw during the
six months after Captain Smith sailed for home, there would
not be days enough left in my life to complete the tale.
As I look back on it now, it seems more like some wonderful
dream than a reality, wherein men strove with women and
children for food to keep life in their own worthless bodies.
It is enough if I say that of the four hundred and ninety
persons whom Captain Smith left behind him, there were, in
the month of May of the year 1610, but fifty-eight left alive.
That God should have spared among those, Nathaniel Peacock and
myself, is something which passeth understanding, for verily
there were scores of better than we whose lives would have
advantaged Jamestown more than ours ever can, who died
 and were buried as best they could be by the few who had
sufficient strength remaining to dig the graves.
I set it down in all truth that, through God's mercy, our
lives were saved by Master Hunt, for he counseled us wisely
as to the care we should take of our bodies when our stomachs
were crying out for food, and it was he who showed us how we
might prepare this herb or the bark from that tree for the
sustaining of life, when we had nothing else to put into our
We had forgotten that Lord De la Warr was the new governor;
we had heard nothing of the ship in which it was said Sir
Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers had sailed. We were come
to that pass where we cared neither for governor nor nobleman.
We strove only to keep within our bodies the life which had
Then it was, when the few of us who yet lived, feared
moment lest the savages would put an end to us, that we saw
sailing up into the bay two small ships, and I doubt if there
was any among us who did not fall upon his knees and give
thanks aloud to God for the help which had come at the very
moment when it had seemed that we were past all aid.