Jamestown vs. Plymouth Plantation

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Jamestown vs. Plymouth Plantation

The first permanent English colony in America was Jamestown that started in 1607 when three ships landed on the James River in Virginia.

The Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth in Massachusetts that began in 1620 was the first English permanent settlement in America that never abandoned its colony. That makes it the first successful permanent English colony…It also has a million visitors come every year.

The genesis of America in Jamestown is not as inspirational as Plymouth.  The character of those who settled in Jamestown was far lower than those who settled Plymouth to their north.  Jamestown was marked by failure of commitment and an atmosphere of greed. They were motivated by secular goals of finding gold.

In contrast the Pilgrims were focused on building god centered families and a happy religious community of loving friends.  As a result they thrived and laid the foundation for America’s freedom and material wealth.

Plymouth Plantation was founded on a higher standard than Jamestown. Those who founded Jamestown had a pirate mentality. They plundered ships on the way to Virginia. The Pilgrims didn’t.

The motivation of those who settled in Jamestown was one of easy wealth. The Pilgrims at Plymouth accepted work and sacrifice and looked long range. In England there were advertisements of the "New World" saying one could live there without having to work, that gold and silver were so plentiful they could be picked up in basketfuls from the ground. There was not a spirit of work in Jamestown.


Captain Newport of the Jamestown expedition spent his time searching for gold and thought he found some. He took back what he thought was some gold dust but it was pyrite or "fool’s gold." Even so on his return trip they were so centered on gold and convinced that the sample they had sent to England was the wrong ore that the captain brought goldsmiths and refiners to supervise the diggings. The atmosphere of Jamestown was "get-rich-quick." He took back as much of the "fool’s gold" as he could get on board and put it in the hold of the ship. Newport even tried a third time to look for gold.

Gold fever swept the colony. One settler wrote in disgust of how the sailors "made all men their slaves. There was no talk, no hope, no work, but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold."

Carl Bridenbough in Jamestown 1544-1699 wrote: "... the Englishmen who first went to the colony were an unskilled, improvident, and lazy lot who, 'no more sensible than beasts, would rather starve in idleness ... than feast in labor.'  Like the grasshoppers in Aesop's fable, they took little if any thought for the future, and as a result, many of them perished, not only during the 'starving time' but also for years to come because of their failure to plant crops."
First Winter at Jamestown

One survivor of the first winter in Jamestown in which half died of starvation reported, "If there were any conscience in men it would make their hearts to bleed to hear the pitiful murmurings and out-cries of our sick men without relief ... soon departing out of the world, many times three or four in a night." In spring a mutiny was attempted by some. Some froze to death. Some were killed by Indians. They were a ragged and starved people.

Third winter at Jamestown

The winter of 1609-1610 went into the records as the "Starving Time." There was death almost every day. When they ate all the animals, including horses, cats and dogs, then mice were eaten. They crawled through the woods in search of roots and berries. After that, men, women and children became cannibals eating their own dead. Some men and women who were starving crept into the woods in their last hours, dug shallow holes, covered themselves with leaves, and died. Out of 500 only 60 people survived that winter.

Lack of heart after 3 years

Almost three years to the month since they first came to Virginia, with all spirit gone and totally discouraged, they abandoned Jamestown. They had failed. They all boarded the ship and started sailing back. Jamestown was completely abandoned. They thought only of England. Just as the ship was leaving the harbor they were greeted by ships led by Lord Delaware from England. Then they decided to go back and try again.

Lord Delaware was sent as governor. He was a religious man. When he came ashore at deserted Jamestown, he knelt in prayer. He then led everyone to the dilapidated church. A pastor gave a sermon. Then the governor "delivered a stirring address, raising the morale of the colonists." They now had strict leadership.

The Cain ideals in the founding of America started with Jamestown. This darker side was secular materialism.

Socialism fails

Jamestown experimented with communist economics, but as it  proved a complete failure (as it always does) after a while, as it prompted laziness and inefficiency. One-fifth of the colony did all the work while the rest were drones. Finally, each member was given three acres of his own to cultivate. Industry and thrift then replaced idleness and there were no more famines.

In 1619, one year before of  the Pilgrims landed, Jamestown laid the seed of slavery that would eventually tear America apart.  Twenty negroes were brought as slaves. Plymouth Plantation had no slaves. This was the seed for civil war. Satan loves slavery.  God hates slavery.  Eventually, hundreds of thousands of men died because of this wrong move by Jamestown.


Another evil legacy of Jamestown was its habit of depending on one crop for cash instead of growing staples.  They became obsessed with tobacco which not only is a deadly drug, but it exhausted the earth. Another sad legacy of Jamestown was their inability to make unity with the Indians.


Hidden History of Thanksgiving

Sometimes history is colored in such a great degree that it simply becomes false. Everyone in the US and Canada and most of the world has heard the official story of Thanksgiving. It’s a nice tale of racial harmony and happy co-existing cultures sharing food in a feast and giving thanks apparently without contradictions to pantheist concepts and monotheistic myths from sun worship perverted to a self sacrificing sadomasochistic god of ego demanding worship and issuing out eternal punishment for nonbelievers and who thought it was necessary to have a son (or become a his own son) and torture and kill it as a sacrifice to himself in order to be able to save everyone from his own wrath so long as believe his masochistic tantrum. The American colonies many of which existed long before the more famous Jamestown in Virginia and Plymouth Rock colony in Massachusetts were pirate colonies. Sir Walter Raleigh of the Roanoke colony was a notorious privateer. The Jamestown colony was sent to grow and ship back tobacco to England in exchange for food often under the conditions of work or starve…

This merry little feast didn’t happen. It did not happen in Massachusetts or Virginia. In the North the English enslaved the Petuxet Indians and sent a ship full of their slaves to England in 1614 six years before the Mayflower came with colonists. Plymouth was the third colony by the English in the New World, the first being a "failure" in what is now North Carolina, in 1584, and second was the oldest successful colony, Jamestown in what is now Virginia established 1607. The Plymouth colony was not the first English speaking colony to visit what is now Massachusetts, which is a Native American word which means "at or about the great hill." They just were the first English speaking people to permanently squat there. When the English were capturing slaves, they left behind smallpox which decimated Native populations (sometimes as much as 90%!!). The Native had a lack of resistances to Old World diseases which evolved slowly in the Old World developing with the 13 different domesticated herd animals (which did not exist in the New World including horses, the Spanish brought those there) alongside their populations. Note that before vaccinations one of the first observations made in the fight against Small Pox was that milkmaids who contracted cow-pox were not getting Small Pox. Cows were also not native to the Americas.

The old Patuxet area had been nearly abandoned because of Small Pox. One survivor who had also been an English slave from a young age (and may have contracted cow-pox) was the famous man named Squanto, who could speak English. In the history books this is painted as some great chance miracle, because they don't want people to know about the previous voyages, how they had been enslaving American Indians and purposely spreading diseases.

It was quite common actually for the English to kidnap Native American youths to teach them English and the Bible and later use them as interpreters. The founding of the college of William & Mary (where I went to school) in Williamsburg/Jamestown was set up at first as a religious divinity school consisting of three subjects, Philosophy which was actually Christian theology, English, and Religion which was more like the practice of it rather than the studying of it, much like church vs. Sunday school. One of the main buildings was a house for Indians who were forced to go there. They were taught English and Jesus for the financial motives of the charter heads who nixed an agreement to Robert Boyle (of Boyle’s law) to send him his scientific requests for the New World Flora and Fauna. Converting "savages" gave the paternal English who polluted all their own rivers and at one point deforested their whole island, and had public floggings of women and executions as a stable of entertainment, a reason to justify their brutal conquests of "uncivilized" people…

The Plymouth settlers were more disruptive than any storm however. They did not see any fences on the land, a European marking of property administered by the church vestiges, and so they assumes everything was public land, and they stole land, food and children from the Wampanoag who were unlucky enough to be living near them and trust them. This lead to conflict. The Settlers were not friendly to the Natives they built an 11 foot high wall around their settlement complete with 5 cannons. The Natives quit trading with the Pilgrims who, lost in an unknown land with foreign crops, ended up in the same position as the Virginia colonies, they faced starvation.

In Virginia, however, that problem was compounded by the top down order to grow tobacco instead of food and sell it to England in order to buy food. Nathaniel Bacon put an end to that, but not in the heroic way we were all taught about the rebelling proletariat. What he did was gather a mob and go around burning other poor people’s tobacco crops insuring he and his mob could sell their own for a higher price and ensuring the others would starve. He then kidnapped the governor’s wife and the wives of his strongest supporters and had Indian allies who ignorantly/innocently saw the struggle as a rebellion against a corrupt leader.

Bacon’s tactics worked as you are all familiar with. He celebrated by having a feast with his Indian allies and he poisoned the wine of the men, killing them, and I think we know what happened to the women. That’s the part left out of PC history books. Bacon attacked the Pamunkey (who are still surviving but currently only number 58 people. It is extremely rare for any of the original Native American groups from the East coast to have survived) and the Occaneecheee and pitched a fit at Governor Berkeley for not appointing him as the General for all Indian affairs. The elite did not care, they wanted people to starve to death as it relieved them of their 7 and 6 year contracts which promised land in exchange of the indentured servitude. Once again Bacon was no more than Berkeley’s land pirate/terrorist who between the two egos nearly burned all of Jamestown. Problem, action, solution.

The belligerent compliments in the north were starving to death after walling themselves up to protect themselves from the backlash to their unchecked provocations. Ending trade, they were forced to negotiate. They invited a Native man named Massasoit to dinner, or more accurately allowed him to come into the settlement because his band had bagged 5 deer. The colony was heavily inebriated as was necessary both for the calories and control. Massaoit honored his band's fortune with the tradition of sharing and invited 100s of Natives to the feast who also brought food. The Europeans were not amused but hunger took precedence. They actually blamed the Indians for hording food. It was not long before they were murdering the Indians again. All in the good lords name of course.

In 1630s just a dozen winters or so from the arrival of the Mayflower and only a few years after the arrival of Christian Zealots known as Puritans, the real mass butchering began. In 1637 Europeans forces cornered 700 Natives mostly women and children at the mouth of the Mystic river. They shot and beat to death the men and burned everyone else in longhouse fires. Bounties were set on the head of Indians with the price for a woman’s scalp being the highest (something that lasted until the 1930s) to encourage murder. And that is where the term Redskin comes from. Native Americans are not red. The red refers to the blood stained scalps which acted like trophies. In fact when the Spanish accidentally discovered (for themselves) the new world they thought they were in India and this is why the people were ignorantly named Indians, a name that did not change despite later indisputable evidence that they were indeed not in India. There was no mention of (Asian) Indians being red, but light skinned to dark skinned browns, which they made a nifty little religiously supported racist caste system for and kept a very good record of as it was very important to them.

By 1671 the English and Dutch mercenaries were in a full scale war with the Wampanoag and Chief Metacomet who they renamed King Philip, (thus King Philip’s War) because the whole concept of a society not ruled by a (divinely appointed) central figure determined by bloodlines, was a totally alien and incomprehensible to the “civilized” English. They just invented a king to fight.


Mr. Moser

American Ideas

Puritan Perspective Articles Tasks

  1. Write a summary of each article as well as an explanation of its significance in our studies of this time period and its people.

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