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James Otis

Stealing the Company's Goods

If I have made it appear that during all this time we lived in the most friendly manner with the savages, then have I blundered in the setting down of that which happened.

Although it shames one to write such things concerning those who called themselves Englishmen, yet it must be said that the savages were no longer in any degree friendly, and all because of what our own people had done.

From the time when Captain Smith had declared that he who would not work should not eat, some of our fine gentlemen who were willing to believe that labor was the greatest crime which could be committed, began stealing from the common store iron and copper goods of every kind which might be come at, in order to trade with the savages for food they themselves were too lazy to get otherwise.

They even went so far, some of those who thought it more the part of a man to wear silks than build himself a house, as to steal matchlocks, pistols, and weapons of any kind, standing ready to teach the savages how to use these things, if thereby they were given so much additional in the way of food.


As our numbers increased, by reason of the companies which were brought over by Captain Newport and Captain Nelson, so did the thievery become the more serious until on one day I heard Master Hunt tell my master, that of forty axes which had been brought ashore from the Phoenix and left outside the storehouse during the night, but eight were remaining when morning came.