Captain Samuel Argall from Walthamstow in Essex now assumes a much greater role in the settlers’ relations with
the suspicious Indian tribes who are naturally hostile to the English invaders whilst also being in frequent conflict with
each other. His first appearance in Virginia’s history was four years ago, when, as the Captain of a small barque he
was sent as a trader by a Mr Cornelius to fish for sturgeon off the coast of Jamestown. Argall’s next task on his return
to England was to transport Lord De La Warre out to the colony in 1610.
Subsequently, he captained the other vessel that set out with Sir
George Somer’s ship, bound for Bermuda from Jamestown in their abortive attempt to obtain supplies for the starving
settlers. (Scene 5, narrative 1609-10 panel). Now we find him back in Jamestown again, where he
has set about repairing the ships and boats fast going to decay ‘for lacke of pitch and tar.’ At the same time
he works on plans to subjugate the Indians and enforce a peaceful coexistence.
In the colony sporadic attacks continue to be made on the settlements,
together with murders of individuals. Kidnapping is rife. Chief Powhatan himself holds a number of English
captive but any scheme to eliminate these problems has to be tempered with the vital need to trade with the friendlier Indians
for corn and avoid starvation. Nevertheless, Argall first uses the mailed fist and burns down a hostile Indian village, as
is shown here. However, next he employs the velvet glove approach when, on his first voyage of exploration up the Potomac
in search of corn, he secures 1,100 bushels for the colony but only after giving three men and two boys as hostages to Ipazaws,
the King of Pastancy. Is this a callous act of abandonment of one’s countrymen? No. It’s a calculated gamble,
for friendly Indians whisper to him that Ipazaws’ niece Pocahontas is in the king’s encampment visiting her uncle.
It’s Argall’s big chance. He strikes, cunningly bribing Ipazaws with the present of a copper kettle to allow Pocahontas
to visit his ship. Once aboard the trap is sprung. The anchor raised. The ship sails to Jamestown. There, the now captive
Princess is treated like an honoured guest, for she is the bargaining prize to ensure the release of all the English hostages
held by her father Powatan.