Samuel Argall 1613, to Nicholas Hawes, from "A Letter of Sir Samuell Argall touching his Voyage to Virginia, and Actions there"
Whilst I was in this business, I was told by certaine Indians, my friends, that the Great Powhatans Daughter Pokahuntis was with the great King Patowoneck, whether I presently repaired, resolving to possesse myselfe of her by any strategem that I could use, for the ransoming of so many Englishmen as were prisoners with Powhatan; as also to get such armes and tooles, as hee, and other Indians had got by murther and stealing from others of our Nation, with some quantitie of corne, for the Colonies reliefe.
From "A TRUE DISCOURSE OF THE PRESENT ESTATE OF VIRGINIA" by Ralph Hamor, printed 1615
The general letters upon my knowledge, directed and sent to the honourable Virginia Councell, being most of them (though my selfe most unworthy) by me penned have intimated, how that the everworthy gentlemá Capt. Argall in the heate of our home furies & disagreements by his best experience of the dispositió of those people, partly by gentle usage & partly by the composition & mixture of threats hath ever kept faire & friendly quarter with our neighbours bordering on other rivers of affinity, yea consanguinity, no lesse neere then brothers to Powhatan, such is his well knowne temper and discretion, yea to this passe hath he brought them, and they assuredly trust upon what he promiseth, and are as carefull in performing their mutuall promises, as though they contended to make that Maxim, that there is no faith to be held with Infidels, a meere and absurd Paradox: Nay as I have heard himselfe relate, who is fide dignus, they have even bin pensive and discontented with themselves, because they knew not how to doe him some acceptable good turne, which might not onely pleasure him, but even be profitable to our whole Collonie, and Plantation, yea ever assuring him that when the times should present occasion, they would take hold of her forelocke, and be the instruments to worke him con-B2tent, and even thus they proved themselves as honest performers, as liberall promisers. It chaunced Powhatans delight and darling, his daughter Pocahontas, (whose fame hath even bin spred in England by the title of Nonparrella of Virginia) in her princely progresse, if I may so terme it, tooke some pleasure (in the absence of Captaine Argall (to be among her friends at Pataomecke (as it seemeth by the relation I had) imploied thither, as shopkeepers to a Fare, to exchange some of her fathers commodities for theirs, where residing some three months or longer, it fortuned upon occasion either of promise or profit, Captaine Argall to arrive there, whom Pocahantas, desirous to renue his familiaritie with the English, and delighting to see them, as unknowne, fearefull perhaps to be surprised, would gladly visit, as she did, of whom no sooner had Captaine Argall intelligence, but he delt with an old friend, and adopted brother of his Iapazeus, how and by what meanes he might procure hir captive, assuring him, that now or never, was the time to pleasure him, if he entended indeede that love which he had made profession of, that in ransome of hir he might redeeme some of our English men and armes, now in the possession of her Father, promising to use her withall faire, and gentle entreaty: Iapazeus well assured that his brother, as he promised would use her curteously promised his best indeavours and secrecie to accomplish his desire, and thus wrought it, making his wife an instrument (which sex have ever bin most powerfull in beguiling inticements) to effect his plot which hee had thus laid, he agreed that himselfe, his wife, and Pocahuntas, would accompanie his brother to the water side, whether come, his wife should faine a great and longing desire to goe aboorde, and see the shippe, which being there three or foure times, be- fore she had never seene, and should bee earnest with her hushand to permit her: he seemed angry with her, making as he pretended so unnecessary a request, especially being without the company of women, which deniall she taking unkindely, must faine to weepe, (as who knows not that women can command teares) whereupon her husband seeming to pitty those counterfeit teares, gave her leave to goe aboord, so that it would please Pochahuntas to accompany her; now was the greatest labour to win her, guilty perhaps of her fathers wrongs, though not knowne as she supposed to goe with her, yet by her earnest perswasions, she assented: so forth with aboord they went, the best cheere that could be made was seasonably provided, to supper they went, merry on all hands, especially Iapazeus and his wife, who to expres their joy, would ere be treading upó Capt. Argals foot, as who should say tis don, she is your own. Supper ended, Pochahuntas was lodged in the Gunners roome, but Iapazeus and his wife desired to have some conference with their brother, which was onely to acquaint him by what stratagem they had betraied his prisoner, as I have already related: after which discourse to sleepe they went, Pocahuntas nothing mistrusting this policy, who nevertheless being most possessed with feare, and desire of returne, was first up, and hastened Iapazeus to be gon. Capt.Argall having secretly well rewarded him, with a small Copper kettle, and som other les valuable toies so highly by him esteemed, that doubtlesse he would have betrayed his owne father for them, permitted both him and his wife to returne, but told him, that for divers considerations, as for that his father had then eigh of our English men, many swords, peeces, and other tooles, which he had at severall times by trecherons murdering our men, taken from them which though of no use to him, he would not redeliver, he would reserve Pocahuntas, whereat she began to be exceeding pensive, and discontented, yet ignorant of the dealing of Iapazeus, who in outward appearance was no less discontented that he should be the meanes of her captivity, much a doe there was to perswade her to be patient, which with extraordinary curteous usage, by little and little was wrought in her, and so to James towne she was brought, a messenger to her father forthwith dispached to advertise him, that his only daughter was in the hands & possession of the English: ther to be kept til such times as he would ransom her with our men, swords, peeces, & other tools treacherously taken from us: the news was unwelcome, and troublesom unto him, partly for the love he bare to his daughter, and partly for the love he bare to our men his prisoners, of whom though with us they were unapt for any imployment) he made great use: and those swords, and peeces of ours, (which though of no use to him) it delighted him to view, and looke upon.
link to "A True Discourse" at Virtual Jamestown: First-hand Accounts
From The General Historie of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles by John Smith (1624) link
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Sir Thomas Smith Treasurer. Captaine Argals arriuall.
How Pocahontas was taken prisoner.
Since there was a ship fraughted with prouision, and fortie men; and another since then with the like number and prouision, to stay twelue moneths in the Countrie, with Captaine Argall, which was sent not long after. After hee had secreated and refreshed his Companie, hee was sent to the Riuer Patawomeake, to trade for Corne, the Saluages about vs hauing small quarter, but friends and foes as they found aduantage and opportunitie: But to conclude our peace, thus it happened. Captaine Argall, hauing entred into a great acquaintance with Iapazaws, an old friend of Captaine Smiths, and so to all our Nation, euer since hee discouered the Countrie: hard by him there was Pocahontas, whom Captaine Smiths Relations intituleth the Numparell of Virginia, and though she had beene many times a preseruer of him and the whole Colonie, yet till this accident shee was neuer seene at Iames towne since his departure, being at Patawomeke, as it seemes, thinking her selfe vnknowne, was easily by her friend lapazaws perswaded to goe abroad with him and his wife to see the ship, for Captaine Argall had promised him a Copper Kettle to bring her but to him, promising no way to hurt her, but keepe her till they could conclude a peace with her father; the Saluage for this Copper Kettle would haue done any thing, it seemed by the Relation; for though she had seene and beene in many ships, yet hee caused his wife to faine how desirous she was to see one, and that hee offered to beat her for her importunitie, till she wept. But at last he told her, if Pocahontas would goe with her, hee was content: and thus they betraied the poore innocent Pocahontas aboord, where they were all kindly feasted in the Cabbin. Iapazaws treading oft on the Captaines foot, to remember he had done his part, the Captaine when he saw his time, perswaded Pocahontas to the Gun-roome, faining to haue some conference with Iapazaws, which was onely that she should not perceiue hee was any way guiltie of her captiuitie: so sending for her againe, hee told her before her friends, she must goe with him, and compound peace betwixt her Countrie and vs, before she euer should see Powhatan, whereat the old Iew and his wife began to howle and crie as fast as Pocahontas, that vpon the Captaines faire perswasions, by degrees pacifying herselfe, and Iapazaws and his wife, with the Kettle and other toies, went merrily on shore, and shee to Iames towne. A messenger forthwith was sent to her father, that his daughter Pocahontas he loued so dearely, he must ransome with our men, swords, peeces, tooles, &c. hee trecherously had stolne.
John Smith was in England (or off voyaging somewhere) at the time of Pocahontas's abduction, and so in his account, he is relying on the writings of Ralph Hamor. He was nowhere near Virginia and so his account has no eyewitness validity. Hamor's account, too, was probably secondhand, and Smith just repeated Hamor's words (plagiarism not being much of a thing in those days), so the accounts are virtually the same and of unknown accuracy. Smith does take the opportunity to interject "and thus they betraied the poore innocent Pocahontas," showing at least some level of regret for what happened to her. Smith seems to throw his "old friend" Japazaws under the bus, saying "the old Iew and his wife began to howle and crie". In the end, Smith, being English, doesn't seem to disagree with Argall's general strategy, as he says that the swords, pieces and tools of the settlers had been "trecherously ... stoln" by Powhatan (meaning Powhatan's men). However, he is repeating Hamor's choice of words when he says 'treacherously stolen,' giving the account a 'copy & paste' quality.
The American History Podcast has an episode in its Jamestown series called The Kidnapping of Pocahontas. The account of the kidnapping itself is dealt with fairly briefly in this podcast, as Sarah Tanksalvala (the narrator) chooses to spend more time. on the aftermath and Pocahontas's life in captivity. A transcript accompanies the audio on the website. The kidnapping incident is discussed around the 1:00 minute mark on the audio, and the podcast runs about 30 minutes total. As much as I like this podcast series in general, I find it disappointing that Tanksalvala takes Custalow's claims about Mattaponi history seriously. Hopefully someday she'll stumble across my page on his fictional account..