of colonists in Virginia
, the power of the natives was
despised; their strongest weapons were such arrows as they could shape without the use of iron, such hatchets as could be made from stone; and an English mastiff seemed to them a terrible adversary.1
Nor were their numbers considerable.
Within sixty miles of Jamestown
, it is computed, there were no movie than five thousand souls, or about fifteen hundred warriors.
The whole territory of the clans which listened to Powhatan as their leader or their conqueror, comprehended about eight thousand square miles, thirty tribes, and twenty-four hundred warriors, so that the Indian
population amounted to about one inhabitant to a square mile.2
The natives, naked and feeble compared with the Europeans, were no where concentrated in considerable villages, but dwelt dispersed in hamlets, with from forty to sixty in each company.
Few places had more than two hundred; and many had less.3
It was also unusual for any large portion of these tribes to be assembled together.
An idle tale of an ambuscade of three or four thousand is perhaps an error for three or four hundred; otherwise it is an extravagant fiction, wholly unworthy of belief.4 Smith
once met a party, that seemed to amount to seven hundred; and, so complete was the superiority conferred by the use of fire-arms, that with fifteen men he was able to withstand them all.5
The savages were therefore regarded with contempt or compassion.
No uniform care had been taken to conciliate their