Friday, July 5, 2013

The Death of Oppechancanough

When Sir William Berkeley was made the royal governor of the colony of Virginia, Oppechancanough, "by his great age, and the fatigues of war, was now grown so decrepid, that he was not able to walk alone, but was carried about by his men wherever he had a mind to move. His flesh was all macerated, his sinews slackened, and his eyelids became so heavy, that he could not see, but as they were lifted up by his servants. In this low condition he was, when Sir William Berkeley, hearing that he was at some distance from his usual habitation, resolved at all adventures to seize his person, which he happily effected. For with a party of horse he made a speedy march, surprised him in his quarters, and brought him prisoner to Jamestown, where, by the governor's command, he was treated with all the respect and tenderness imaginable. Sir William had a mind to send him to England, hoping to get reputation by presenting his majesty with a royal captive, who at his pleasure, could call into the field ten times more Indians, than Sir William Berkeley had English in his whole government. Besides, he thought this ancient prince would be an instance of the healthiness and long life of the natives of that country. However, he could not preserve his life above a fortnight. For one of the soldiers, resenting the calamities the colony had suffered by this prince's means, basely shot him through the back, after that he was made prisoner, of which wound he died."

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