At every available point of the crowded river-front washerwomen, with their petticoats wet to the waist, stood knee-deep in the stream, and accompanied their lively chatter with the vigorous tattoo of their active mallets. In the shadow of the houses near the landing great piles of watermelons were the centres of groups of all ages, every individual busy with the luscious, juicy fruit.
Roumanian Peasants Selling Flowers and Fruit
Woman returning from market pushing a barrow with empty baskets
Loading Grain at Braila
Bulgarian Fisherman Basket-making
Here is a sketch of the uniform of the "New Police" as they were called, copied from a satirical print of Sir Robert Peel, by the celebrated H. B. (John Doyle, father of Richard Doyle, to whom Punch owed so much). The hats were worn until a comparatively recent period, and in summer-time they wore white trousers.
But it was a very noisy city, this London. The watchmen, not altogether done away with, would croak out his "Past twelve o'clock, and a frosty morning;" the milkwoman made the early morning hideous with her shrieks, as also did the chimneysweep and the newsman, who brought your morning paper; the peripatetic vendor of fish, or cats' meat, cried out, the dustman rang a bell and yelled, whilst all sorts of street hawkers helped to swell the din. Muffin men not only cried out but rang a bell, as did also the postman; but then his bell was legalized and useful, as, on hearing it, people could rush to the door and give him the letters needing posting instead of going to a post-office, which might be some distance off, and there were no pillar-boxes in those days.
There is so much of character in his squire’s face in the picture, and that character so different from our conventional idea of a squire as he leans over the horse’s back talking to his master.
The Chapter-house was always on the east side of the court. In establishments of secular canons it seems to have been always multi-sided with a central pillar to support its groining, and a lofty, conical, lead-covered roof. In these instances it is placed in the open space eastward of the cloister, and is usually approached by a passage from the east side of the cloister court
The last cut is taken from the painted glass at Tournay of the fifteenth century, and represents marchands en gros. This illustration of a warehouse with the merchant and his clerk, and the men and the casks and bales, and the great scales, in full tide of business, is curious and interesting.
Clerk in Orders is still the legal description of a clergyman; and men whose occupation is to use the pen are still called clerks, as lawyers’ clerks, merchants’ clerks, &c. Clerks were often employed in secular occupations; for example, Alan Middleton, who was employed by the convent of St. Alban’s to collect their rents, and who is represented in the picture from their “Catalogus Benefactorum” (Nero D. vii., British Museum), is tonsured, and therefore was a clerk.
The Cellarer was in fact the steward of the house; his modern representative is the bursar of a college. He had the care of everything relating to the provision of the food and vessels of the convent. He was exempt from the observance of some of the services in church; he had the use of horses and servants for the fulfilment of his duties, and sometimes he appears to have had separate apartments. The cellarer, as we have said, wore no distinctive dress or badge; but in the Catalogus Benefactorum of St. Alban’s there occurs a portrait of one “Adam Cellarius,” who for his distinguished merit had been buried among the abbots in the chapter-house, and had his name and effigy recorded in the Catalogus; he is holding two keys in one hand and a purse in the other, the symbols of his office; and in his quaint features—so different from those of the dignified abbot whom we have given from the same book—the limner seems to have given us the type of a business-like and not ungenial cellarer.
Our woodcut represents a mediæval shop of a high class, probably a goldsmith’s. The shopkeeper eagerly bargaining with his customer is easily recognised, the shopkeeper’s clerk is making an entry of the transaction, and the customer’s servant stands behind him, holding some of his purchases; flagons and cups and dishes seem to be the principal wares; heaps of money lie on the table, which is covered with a handsome tablecloth, and in the background are hung on a “perch,” for sale, girdles, a hand-mirror, a cup, a purse, and sword.
The word clericus—clerk—was one of very wide and rather vague significance, and included not only the various grades of clerks in orders, of whom we have spoken, but also all men who followed any kind of occupation which involved the use of reading and writing; finally, every man who could read might claim the “benefit of clergy,” i.e., the legal immunities of a clerk.
Blacksmith shoeing horse
I have observed a great number if open-air stalls, which are placed either under mat coverings, or simply under large umbrellas made of dried palm-leaves. I have seen most picturesque groups standing around these stalls drinking soup, or eating boiled rice with chopsticks, or perhaps taking cakes or other light refreshment.
The Nautch Girls are the singing and dancing girls of the East. They are gorgeously attired in robes of embroidered silk and muslin, and covered with jewels. They attend the public and private festivals and entertain the company bu their soft and voluptuous songs, and graceful attitudes.
The Nautch girl in the picture was considered one of the most celebrated singers in Bengal. Her voice was extremely sweet, but sung in so low a tone, that it would have been impossible to hear a note unless within a few yards of her; but a powerful voice is not esteemed an excellence in an Indian singer.
Each Nautch Girl is attended by her own musicians, who form themselves in a circle behind her, accompanying her voice with their instruments.
Many a six pence is picked up in New-York, by the sale of this delicious fruit. They are brought to market in small baskets, which hold nearly a pint, and sell from 4 to 15 cents a basket. You may see men, women, and children, some with long poles, one in each hand, strung full of these little baskets of strawberries, travelling up and down the streets of New-York, crying as above.
From midsummer, till late in the autumn, our ears during the evenings are saluted with this cry. The corn is plucked while green, and brought to our markets fro mthe surrounding country, in great quantities. It is boiled in the husk, and carried about the streets in pails and large bowls, with a little salt, and sold from a penny to two pence an ear.
In the summer time, you may see persons in carts, and others with hand-barrows, having a load of the above articles, that they cry along the streets, and sell to those families who live a distance from the markets.
What a vast garden it would ake to raise vegetables enough for all the inhabitants of New-York! Long Island can be considered the garden of New-York: the produce brought to this city daily is very great.
This Sand is brought from the sea shore in vessels, principally from Rockaway Beach, Long-Island. It is loaded into carts, and carried about the streets of New-York, and sold for about 12 1/2 cents per bushel. Almost every little girl or boy, knows that it is put on newly scrubbed floors, to preserve them clean and pleasant.
In the sprint, we have the above cry along our streets, by children and women, who buy them of the gardeners, and for one cent a bunch profit, will trudge along the streets of New-York, with a large long basket hanging on their arm, full of radishes. They sell six radishes to a bunch, and sixpence will buy one to six of these bunches. They are esteemed en excellent relish at tea, and afford business for children most of the summer season.
Great quantities of Potatoes of different kinds, are carried about the streets of New-York, for sale. None make so much noise as those people who cry the Sweet Carolinas. These are held in high esteem by most persons, and one can buy them ready boiled and roasted at the cook-shops. They are of an oblong form, of many sizes, and when boiled,taste much like a roast chestnut. The sell from 75 cents to 1 dollar per bushel.
At the corners of our principal streets, and at the ferries, we may see men, with long baskets on their arms, full of fine yellow oranges, offering them for sale to the passengers fro from 3 to 6 cents a piece. Many a one find their way to the girls and boys in the country, who always esteem them a fine present.
They grow in the West-Indies, and the Floridas, and may be had in New-York at all seasons.
This wholesome beverage, is carried all round the city by men in carts, wagons and very large tin kettles. The cows are pastured on the Island of New-York,some along the New-Jersey shore, and large droves on Long-Island. Milk sells from 4 to 6 cents per quart, delivered at our doors every morning in the winter season and twice a day in summer.
To sell matches, is the employment of women and children, who make a few pence honestly, by splitting pine or cedar sticks, or procuring a long thin shaving, the ends of which they dip in brimstone, which when touched by a spark, will blaze directly. Though a small matter, it is a great convenience to house-keepers.
This is a very humble business, but it is not to be despised on that account.
This man may be seen with a iron ring, on which are strung a great many old keys, of various sizes, going about the streets of New-York, soliciting cusom in the way we observe in the picture. He has with him different tools, and is ready to repair Locks, or fit Keys where they may be broken or lost - What a pity is is, people are not all honest, then we should have no occasion either for locks, keys, bars or bolts.
In the summer months, when it is not lawful to sell Oysters in New-York, we have clams in abundance, brought to our doors, by people, in carts. THe price is from 25 to 62 1/2 cents per hundred. They catch them principally on the shores of Long-Island, and Shrewbury River.
"Many ways to get a living!" some might think, when the broom-dealers are seen going about the streets, with a load of Brooms and Brushes, crying aloud. These useful articles, so much prized by the nice house-wife, are made of Broom-corn whisk, chiefly; and sell from 12 1/2 to 18 3/4 cents each. Those made by the people called Shakers, are much the neatest and best, and will command from 6 to 10 cents more.
There are several men in New-York, who go about with a wheel-barrow, on which is a grind-stone, rigged in such a way as to be easily turned with the foo while the hands apply scissors or a knife to the stone. Another may be seen with his machine slung on his back, and when a customer hails, he will quickly set his grindstone in motion. They strike a bell, as they walk along,as a sign to those who may wish any knives or scissors ground.
Timbering was one of the first activities undertaken by the Jamestown colonists and was one of the first English industries in America. The day the settlers arrived they began cutting down trees, for timber was needed to build their fort and town as well as to export to the mother country. Thomas Studley, a member of the first colony, reported that clapboards were made for loading on the ships which were to return to England:
Now falleth every man to worke, the Councell contrive the fort, the rest cut downe trees to make place to pitch their tents; some provide clapboard to relade the ships, some make gardens, some nets, &c.
Captain Newport left Jamestown in June, 1607 and aboard his two ships were clapboards and other wooden products.
The Jamestown cooper was a busy craftsman. Many barrels, hogsheads, and casks were needed in the colony, and large quantities of barrel staves were made for shipping to England. (Painting by Sidney E. King.)
Farmers sowing and plowing their fields
is impressed during his first days in Cairo with the spectacle of runners in front of carriages to warn people to get out of the way. These fellows have a picturesque dress and muscular legs, and their duty is to clear the way, by keeping a few yards in advance and warning people that a carriage is coming. An appendage of this sort is called a syce, and formerly it was necessary that he should be a native born Egyptian, but at present a Nubian may aspire to the position, and it is not unusual to see syces of the complexion of charcoal in front of elegant carriages.
Everywhere through Egypt water is filtered in large jars, some of them holding nearly a barrel, and it is carried on the heads of women in lesser jars that contain from four to six gallons.
Bread Seller in the streets of Cairo
Boot-Blacks of Cairo
The police were very civil, and the “cavass,” or police officer on duty in front of our party, kept the population from crowding us in conveniently close. The “cavass” was arrayed in gorgeous style, and a franc slipped into his hand proved a good investment; where he had before used words he now used a stick, and soon 150convinced the multitude that it had no rights which he or we were bound to respect. We had front places, and the fellow even brought a couple of bricks on which the lady of our party could stand and thus preserve her feet from the dampness of the earth.
The Story Teller of the Desert
Shoe peddler in the Bazaar
Preforming tricks with Jars
This engraving exhibits a posture-master balancing two large China vases, and throwing himself into most extraordinary attitudes.
It is, perhaps, more proper to call the annexed figure, the representation of a person in the character of a female comedian, than “a female comedian,” as women have been prohibited from appearing publicly on the stage since the late Emperor, Kien Lung, took an actress for one of his inferior wives. Female characters are now therefore performed either by boys or eunuchs. The whole dress is supposed to be that of the ancient Chinese, and indeed is not very different from that of the present day. The young ladies of China display considerable taste and fancy in their head-dresses which are much decorated with feathers, flowers, and beads as well as metallic ornaments in great variety of form. Their outer garments are richly embroidered, and are generally the work of their own hands, a great part of their time being employed in this way. If it was not a rigid custom of the country, to confine to their apartments the better class of females, the unnatural cramping of their feet, while infants, is quite sufficient to prevent them from stirring much abroad, as it is with some difficulty they are able to hobble along; yet such is the force of fashion, that a lady with her feet of the natural size would be despised, and at once classed among the vulgar.
This is one of the most common of sedan chairs, used by the peasantry; though there are others still meaner, and without any covering over head. The wages of labour are so low, and the price of provisions so cheap, that any man above a common labourer can afford to be carried in his chair.
In so arbitrary a government as that of China, it would scarcely be supposed that the press should be free; that is to say, that every one who chooses it may follow the profession of a printer or a bookseller without any previous licence, or without submitting the works he may print or expose for sale to any censor appointed by government; but then he must take his chance to suffer in his person all the consequences that may result from the impression that may be made on the minds of the civil officers as to the tendency of the work. A libel against the government, an immoral or indecent book, would subject both printer and publisher to certain punishment both in his person and purse.
On all the rivers and canals of China a vast number of families live entirely in their boats, and the women are generally quite as efficient navigators as the men, particularly in rowing and steering. Their dress differs very little from that of the men, except about the head, on which the hair is suffered to grow freely, and is sometimes plaited behind like that of the men, as in this figure, but more frequently tied up in a knot upon the crown of the head. Among persons of this description the feet are allowed to grow to their full size, and they are almost invariably without shoes or other cover. They smoke tobacco and chew the betel and areca nut with as much avidity as the men.
The Leu-tzé, or fishing cormorant of China, is the pelicanus sinensis, and resembles very much the common cormorant of England, which, we are told by naturalists, was once trained up to catch fish, pretty much in the same manner as those of China are. They are exceedingly expert in taking fish, and pursue them under water with great eagerness. They are taken out, on the rivers and lakes, in boats or bamboo rafts; and though sent on the chace after long fasting, they are so well trained that they rarely swallow any of the fish they take until they are permitted to do so by their masters. Many thousand families in China earn their subsistence by means of these birds.
Throughout all the East, in India as well as in China, the luxury of champooing is enjoyed by all ranks of men; it consists of pulling the joints until they crack, and of thumping the muscles until they are sore; it is generally an operation performed by the barbers, who at the same time cleanse the ears, tickle the nose, and play a thousand tricks to please and amuse their customers, to whom and the surrounding audience they tell their gossiping stories. Of their merit in this respect we have abundant information in the Arabian Nights Entertainments.
The figure kneeling before the deities mounted on pedestals is a priest of the sect of Fo. He is burning incense, or rather paper that is covered over with some liquid that resembles gold. Sometimes, in lieu of this, tin foil is burnt before the altars of China, and this is the principal use to which the large quantities of tin sent from this country is applied. On the four-legged stool is the pot containing the sticks of fate, and other paraphernalia belonging to the temple, and behind it is the tripod in which incense is sometimes burned. These superstitious rites are performed several times by the priests every day, but there is no kind of congregational worship in China. The people pay the priests for taking care of their present and future fate.
The Chinese have full as great a variety of musical instruments as most other nations, but they are all of them indifferent, and the music, if it may be so called, produced out of them, execrable.
Some millions of Chinese live entirely on the water, in boats and barges of various kinds, some occupied in carrying articles of provisions and merchandize, others in conveying passengers, some in feeding and rearing ducks, and others in fishing. Some of these vessels have masts and sails, others are forced forwards with large sculls or pushed on with poles, some are dragged along by men, and others, but very rarely, by horses. Near the head of each vessel is suspended in some convenient place, one of those noisy instruments well known in this country by the name of gong, which is used to regulate the motions of the trackers, and to give notice to other vessels of the approach and intentions of the one that beats the signal.
The police is so well regulated in all the large cities of China, that disturbances rarely, if ever, happen during the night. The watch is set at nine, and continues till five in the morning. A gate is placed at each end of the cross streets, which are all streight, and at right angles with the main streets; from each gate a watchman proceeds till he meets his brother watchman about the middle; at every half hour he beats the hollow bamboo tube, in his left hand, with the mallet in the right, striking the same number of blows as there may be half hours elapsed from nine o’clock: the blow gives a dead, dull sound, sufficiently audible, and to a stranger sufficiently disagreeable. Each watchman is also furnished with a paper lantern. At the great gates of cities, and at certain distances in the main streets are guard-houses, at which a party of soldiers are stationed to aid the police, if necessary; but this is rarely the case, as, in addition to the common watch, every tenth housekeeper in every street is made responsible for the orderly good conduct of his nine neighbours. In the day time there is plenty of noise, and quarrelling and scuffling among the lower orders of the Chinese.
There is no nation so fond of illuminations and fire-works as the Chinese, and no nation has exerted its skill so effectually in the multitude of contrivances to exhibit light. Their lanterns are as various in shape as in materials. The most common are of painted paper. The most beautiful and ornamental of silk gauze, finely painted and stretched on frames that are not deficient in carving and curious workmanship, and decorated with tassels of silk of various colours. Other lanterns are round and cylindrical, and of one single piece of thin transparent horn, sometimes of an immense size.
It is a peculiar feature in all the Oriental nations, that the most beautiful specimens of workmanship in the various arts are made with the most simple and at the same time most clumsy tools. The artificers moreover are rarely fixed, or settled in a workshop convenient for their purposes, but generally travel about the country carrying their shop and apparatus with them. The annexed figure represents an itinerant smith, who has more tools than almost any other artificer of China, and yet performs his work the worst. Their cast iron is light and good, but their manufactures of wrought iron are very indifferent: they can neither make a hinge, nor a lock, nor even a nail that can be called good. The bellows of the smith is a box with a valvular piston, which, when not in use, serves as a seat, and also to contain his tools. The barber also makes a seat of his basket; the joiner uses his rule as a walking-stick, and the same chest that holds his tools serves him as a bench to work upon: such are the expedients which thousands resort to, both in India and China.
The Chinese merchants and tradesmen are most expert and ready reckoners; but they perform all arithmetical operations mechanically, by means of a table divided into two compartments, through which pass iron wires; and on these wires are strung in one compartment five, and in the other two, moveable balls. The principle is something of the same kind as that of the abacus of the Romans, and is with some little variation still made use of in Russia. It has been observed, that in weighing several thousand chests of tea, or bales of goods, at Canton, the Chinese accountant can invariably name the sum total long before the European can cast up his account.
Almost every necessary of life, and many articles that are not of that description, are carried about the streets for sale, and the invariable mode of bearing burthens of this kind is in baskets or boxes suspended from the two extremities of a bamboo lath, swung across the back part of the shoulder. If a Chinese should only have one basket to carry, he is sure to get a log of wood, or a large stone to counterpoise it at the opposite end, thus preferring to carry a double weight rather than place it on the head, or the shoulder, or across the arm. The Chinese are in appearance far from exhibiting any signs of great muscular powers, but in lifting, or carrying a load, they are probably not excelled by the porters even of Ireland.
Whenever the Emperor of China goes in state to transact public business, to receive ambassadors, or to hold a court, he is carried in the same kind of a sedan chair as are commonly used in Europe, and which, as well as umbrellas, have obviously been first introduced from China. The soft luxury of an Indian palanquin is unknown to the Chinese. By means of poles attached to each other the Emperor’s chair, on grand occasions, is carried by eight pair of bearers, sometimes by four pair, but on ordinary occasions he has no more than two pair. They are generally the stoutest and tallest men that can be found, and are dressed in a long yellow vest, which is the colour assumed by the imperial family.
There is every reason to believe, that Punch and his wife were originally natives of China; and that all our puppet-shows were brought from that country. The little theatre, above the head of a man concealed behind a curtain, is precisely Chinese. Les ombres Chinoises still bear the name of their inventors; but the annexed representation of a puppet-showman is somewhat different from both, and is the simple origin of the Fantoccini, which consists in giving motion to the puppets, by means of springs attached to particular parts of the figures. These little dancing puppets are not merely exhibited for the amusement of children; they furnish entertainment for the Emperor and his court, and more especially for the ladies who, from their recluse mode of life, are easily diverted with any kind of amusement, however childish. We find from Mr. Barrow, that a puppet-show was one species of entertainment given to Lord Macartney and his suite at the Emperor’s palace of Gehol in Tartary.
A Porter carrying goods
The annexed are portraits of a female servant, and of a male and female child, which will give a tolerably correct idea of the dresses worn by them respectively. That of the maid servant differs in nothing from her mistress, but in the materials; the latter generally wearing silk, and the one in question cotton. A Chinese woman of the meanest condition would feel herself degraded if not allowed to mutilate her feet.
The annexed is a portrait of a true Tartar horse, which seems to be pretty much of the same breed as those of the Cossacks. The Chinese horses are precisely of the same kind. In fact, no pains whatever appear to be taken either for improving the breed, or by attention to their food, cleanliness, or regular exercise, to increase the size, strength, or spirit of the animal. A currycomb, or any substitute for it, is unknown in China. Indeed horses are not much in use. Wherever the nature of the country admits of canals or navigable rivers, travelling and conveyance of every kind are principally performed on the water.
The Picture shows the page or body servant of a mandarin, to carry his papers, his writing apparatus, the cushion on which he sits, or lays his head; he takes care of his areca-box and his tobacco pipe, attends him on all occasions, fans him while asleep; and, if report speaks truth, serves him for other unworthy purposes. Every mandarin has one or more of these kind of boys whom, even in public, they treat with a familiarity which is not quite decorous. The upper vest, worn by the person in the annexed figure, is of fur, which in all the northern provinces is found to be absolutely necessary in the severe cold of the winter months.
This gentleman is a sort of appendage to a man in power. Some half-dozen of them generally precede a mandarin of `rank` when he goes in procession, but more especially when he attends a tribunal of justice. Their peculiar province seems to be that of keeping off the crowd. The feathers they wear in their tall conical hats are from three to six feet in length, and are apparently the tail feathers of a peculiar species of pheasant, which is represented as very scarce. Some of them wear the tail feathers of the argus pheasant.
All officers of state, whether civil or military, from the highest to the lowest, have been named by the early Portuguese writers mandarins, from a word in their own language, mandar, to command; and this name, improper as it is, has preserved its ground ever since. The figure of a bird on the embroidered breast-plate of the annexed figure points him out as a civilian. A military officer wears the figure of an animal resembling the tiger. The degree of `rank`, whether civil or military, is marked by a small globe on the top of the cap, opake red coral distinguishing the highest, and brass the lowest `rank`: the intermediate colours are transparent red, opake and transparent blue, opake and transparent white. As a mark of imperial favour, one, two, or three feathers from the tail of the peacock are appended to the back part of the bonnet. All officers, whether civil or military, invariably wear thick-quilted boots, and, when in their court-dresses, embroidered petticoats. Most of them wear chains of coral, or agate, or coloured glass round the neck, as in the annexed figure.
The official habits in which all the mandarins are compelled to appear in public being made of the thickest silk, are exceedingly cumbersome, and not well adapted for the summer months, which are excessively hot even in the most northerly provinces; they therefore in private take every opportunity of throwing off their ceremonial garb, and assume a thin loose gown, tied with a belt round the waist. Their summer-hat is also made of light rice straw. The head is not encumbered with hair, which all ranks and ages shave close off, leaving only a small lock hanging down behind. The use of fans is universal. Even the military, when drawn out on parade-duty, make use of fans. It will be observed in this figure, that the spectacles worn by the Chinese are considerably larger than ours: they are made of cristal, glass being a species of manufacture unknown in China.
The very general use of tobacco throughout the whole extensive empire of China, and the still more extensive regions of Tartary, would seem to contradict the commonly received opinion, that this herb is indigenous only in America. One can hardly suppose that the Chinese, who are so remarkably averse from the introduction of any thing novel, would, in the course of three centuries, have brought the custom of smoking into universal use; yet so it is; men of all ranks and all ages; women, whatever their condition in life may be, and children even of both sexes of eight or ten years of age, are furnished with the necessary apparatus for smoking tobacco. In walking the streets, in almost all the occupations of life, the tobacco pipe is seldom out of the mouth.
His dress is pretty nearly that of the class of people to which he belongs. The Chinese are excellent domestic servants and they are invaluable.
The practice of smoking tobacco is not more common, at least in the southern provinces of China, than that of chewing the areca nut, mixed with chunam, or lime made of shells, and wrapped up in a leaf of the betel pepper. Indeed this compound masticatory is in universal use throughout all India, the Oriental Islands, Cochin-china, and Tonquin. In addition to the little purse which every Chinese wears suspended from his belt as an appendage to his tobacco pipe and to hold the ingredients for smoking, whether tobacco, or opium, or both, he generally carries another to contain areca nuts broken into small fragments: the other materials, the betel leaf, and chunam are to be met with in every little eating shop, and on almost every stall in the bazar, or market, and are among the most common articles carried about the streets for sale.
Making lime from oyster shells in a kiln, about 1625. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Blowing glass at Jamestown in 1608. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Making “trialls” Of iron. Evidences of an earth oven or small furnace were discovered at Jamestown during archeological explorations. Small amounts of iron may have been smelted in the furnace during the early years of the settlement. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
In 1955 a pottery kiln site was discovered at Jamestown. Nearby were found many utilitarian earthenware vessels of the 1625-40 period—definite evidence that pottery was made in Virginia over 300 years ago. Although made for everyday use, many of the pieces unearthed are symmetrical and not entirely lacking in beauty. The unknown Jamestown potters were artisans, trained in the mysteries of an ancient craft, who first transplanted their skills to the Virginia wilderness.
Making lime from oyster shells in a kiln, about 1625. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
A physician bleeding a patient. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
One of the members of the first colony was a surgeon, William Wilkinson by name. As the colony grew, other surgeons, physicians, and apothecaries, emigrated to Virginia. Their lot was not easy, for it appears that they were seldom idle in an island community having more than its share of “cruell diseases, Swellings, Flixes, Burning Fevers, warres and meere famine.”
During archeological explorations, drug jars, ointment pots, bleeding bowls, mortars and pestles, small bottles and vials, and parts of surgical instruments were recovered. These, undoubtedly, were used countless times at Jamestown by unknown “chirurgions,” doctors of “physickes,” and apothecaries—men who tried to keep the colonists well with their limited medical equipment and scant supply of drugs.