John Rolfe Letter
John Rolfe (1585-1622) explains in this letter his reasons for marrying Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, to Sir Thomas Dale, the governor of Virginia. The tone suggests it was intended mainly for official records, but at some points Rolfe bared his true feelings. John married Pocahontas in the spring of 1614. the marriage resulted in a temporary peace with the Indians.
John Rolfe on his decision to marry Pocahontas, in a letter to Sir Thomas Dale, governor of Virginia, 1614.
Let therefore this my well advised protestation . . . condemn me herein, if my chiefest intent and purpose be not, to strive with all my
power of body and mind, in the undertaking of so mighty a matter, no way led (so far forth as man’s weakness may permit) with the
unbridled desire of carnal affection: but for the good of this plantation, for the honour of our country, for the glory of God, for my own
salvation, and for the converting to the true knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, an unbelieving creature, namely Pokahuntas. . . .
Shall I be of so untoward a disposition, as to refuse to lead the blind into the right way? Shall I be so unnatural, as not to give bread to
the hungry? or uncharitable, as not to cover the naked? Shall I despise to actuate these pious duties of a Christian? Shall the base fears
of displeasing the world, overpower and withhold me from revealing unto man these spiritual works of the Lord, which in my
meditations and prayers, I have daily made known unto him? God forbid. . . .
Now if the vulgar sort, who square all men’s actions by the base rule of their own filthiness, shall tax or taunt me in this my godly
labour: let them know, it is not any hungry appetite, to gorge my self with incontinency; sure (if I would, and were so sensually inclined)
I might satisfy such desire, though not without a seared conscience, yet with Christians more pleasing to the eye, and less fearful in the
offence unlawfully committed.