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James Otis

The New Laws

Now you must understand that with the coming of this fleet we of Jamestown were told that the London Company had changed all the laws for us in Virginia, and that Lord De la Warr, who sailed on the ship from which nothing had been heard, was to be our governor.

From that hour did it seem as if all the men in Jamestown, save only half a dozen, among whom were Captain Smith, Master Hunt and Master Percy, strove their best to wreck the settlement.

Because Lord De la Warr, the new governor, had not arrived, many of the new comers refused to obey my master, and they were so strong in numbers that it was not possible for him to force them to his will.

Each man strove for himself, regardless of the sick, or of the women and children. Some banded themselves together in companies, falling upon such Indian villages as they could easily overcome, and murdered and robbed until all the brown men of Virginia stood ready to shed the blood of every white man who crossed their path.

Then came that which plunged Nathaniel and me into deepest grief.