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Argall, Sir Samuel, 1572-1626

English adventurer; born in Bristol, England, in 1572. He was in Virginia at a time when Powhatan was particularly hostile to the English settlers. He and his nearest neighbors would not allow the people to carry food to the English at Jamestown, and provisions became very scarce. Argall was sent with a vessel on a foraging expedition up the York River. Being near the dwelling of Powhatan, he bribed a savage by a gift of a copper kettle to entice Pocahontas on board his vessel, where he detained her a prisoner, hoping to get a large quantity of corn from her father as a ransom, and to recover some arms and implements of labor which the Indians had stolen. Powhatan rejected Argall's proposal for a ransom with scorn, and would not hold intercourse with the pirate; but he sent word to the authorities at Jamestown that, if his daughter should be released, he would forget the injury and be the friend of the English. They would not trust him, and the maiden was taken to Jamestown and detained several months, always treated with great respect as a princess. There she became the object of a young Englishman's affections; and the crime of Argall led to peace and happiness. The next year (1613) Argall went, with the sanction of the governor of Virginia, to expel the French from Acadia as intruders upon the domain of the North and South Virginia Company. He stopped on his way at Mount Desert Island, and broke up the Jesuit settlement there. The priests, it is said, feeling an enmity towards the authorities at Port Royal, in Acadia, willingly accompanied Argall as pilots thither in order to be revenged. Argall plundered the settlement, and laid the village in ashes, driving the people to the woods, and breaking up the colony. In 1617 Argall became deputy governor of Virginia. On going to Jamestown he found it fallen into decay, the storehouse used as a church; the market-place, streets, and other spots in the town planted with tobacco; the people dispersed according to every man's convenience for planting; and the number of the settlers there reduced. Argall's rule was so despotic that, in 1619, he was recalled, and Sir George Yeardly was put in his place. He returned to England with much wealth. After the death of Lord Delaware, Captain Argall took charge of his estate, and Lady Delaware charged him with gross fraud and peculation. He died in 1626.

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