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[127] a night; in the morning, their bodies were trailed out
Chap IV.} 1607
of the cabins, like dogs, to be buried. Fifty men, one half of the colony, perished before autumn; among them Bartholomew Gosnold, the projector of the set-
Aug. 22
tlement, a man of rare merits, worthy of a perpetual memory in the plantation,1 and whose influence had alone thus far preserved some degree of harmony in the council.2

Disunion completed the scene of misery. It became necessary to depose Wingfield, the avaricious president, who was charged with engrossing the choicest stores, and who was on the point of abandoning the colony and escaping to the West Indies. Ratcliffe, the new president, possessed neither judgment nor industry; so that the management of affairs fell into the hands of Smith, whose deliberate enterprise and cheerful courage alone diffused light amidst the general gloom. He possessed by nature the buoyant spirit of heroic daring. In boyhood he had sighed for the opportunity of ‘setting out on brave adventures;’ and though not yet thirty years of age, he was already a veteran in the service of humanity and of Christendom. His early life had been given to the cause of freedom in the Low Countries, where he had fought for the independence of the Batavian Republic. Again, as a traveller, he had roamed over France; had visited the shores of Egypt; had returned to Italy; and, panting for glory, had sought the borders of Hungary, where there had long existed an hereditary warfare with the followers of Mahomet. It was there that the young English cavalier distinguished himself by the bravest leats of arms, in the sight of Christians and infidels,

1 Edmund Howes, 1018.

2 Smith, i. 154. Percy, in Purchas, IV. 1690. Smith and Percy were both eye-witnesses.

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