| Richard of Jamestown|
|by James Otis|
|Follow the fortunes of orphan Richard Mutton as he travels to the New World with Captain John Smith and takes up residence with him in the new colony of Jamestown. See the struggles they go through to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table while the majority of their fellow colonists shirk the work of establishing the colony for the pursuit of gold. Observe how their relationships with the native Americans change over time and how, when they are just on the point of abandoning the colony, a new contingent of colonists arrives to bring fresh hope to the Jamestown settlement. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-10 |
AN UNEQUAL DIVISION OF LABOR
FIRST I must explain upon what terms these people, the
greater number of whom called themselves gentlemen, and
therefore claimed to be ashamed to labor with their hands,
had come together under control of those merchants in London,
who were known as the London Company.
 No person in the town of James was allowed to own any land
except as he had his share of the whole. Every one was
expected to work for the good of the village, and whatsoever
of crops was raised, belonged to all the people. It was not
permitted that the more industrious should plant the land and
claim that which grew under their toil.
Ours was supposed to be one big family, with each laboring
to help the others at the same time he helped himself, and
the result was that those who worked only a single hour each
day, had as much of the general stores as he who remained in
the field from morning until night.
Although my master had agreed to this plan before the fleet
sailed from England, he soon came to understand that it was
not the best for a new land, where it was needed that each
person should labor to the utmost of his powers.
The London Company had provided a certain number of tents
made of cloth, which were supposed to be enough to give
shelter to all the people, and yet, because those who had
charge of the matter had made a mistake, through ignorance
or for the sake of gain, there were no more than would
provide for the members of the Council, who appeared to
think they should be lodged in better fashion than those
who were not in authority.
 My master could well have laid claim to one of these cloth
houses; but because of the charges which had been made
against him by Captain Kendall and Captain Martin, the sting
of which yet remained, he chose to live by himself. Thus it
was that he and I threw up the roof of branches concerning
which I have spoken; but it was only to shelter us until
better could be built.
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