and the English
were reverenced as the pupils and
favorites of Heaven.
In every town which Hariot
entered, he displayed the Bible
, and explained its truths; the Indians revered the volume rather than its doctrines; and, with a fond superstition, they embraced the book, kissed it, and held it to their breasts and heads, as if it had been an amulet.
As the colonists enjoyed uniform health, and had no women with them, there were some among the Indians who imagined the English
were not born of woman, and therefore not mortal; that they were men of an old generation, risen to immortality.
The terrors of fire-arms the natives could neither comprehend nor resist; every sickness which now prevailed among them, was attributed to wounds from invisible bullets, discharged by unseen agents, with whom the air was supposed to be peopled.
They prophesied, that
there were more of the English generation yet to come, to kill theirs and take their places; and some believed, that the purpose of extermination was already matured, and its execution begun.
Hariot, in Hakluyt, III. 324—340.
Was it strange, then, that the natives desired to be
delivered from the presence of guests by whom they feared to be supplanted?
The colonists were mad with the passion for gold; and a wily savage invented,
respecting the River Roanoke
and its banks, extravagant tales, which nothing but cupidity could have credited.
The river, it was said, gushed forth from a rock, so near the Pacific Ocean
, that the surge of the sea sometimes dashed into its fountain; its banks were inhabited by a nation skilled in the art of refining the rich ore in which the country abounded.
The walls of the city were described as glittering from the abundance