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The colony that almost failed

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Jamestown has the distinction of being the first permanent English colony in North America. Not the first English colony ever, but the first to survive. It nearly floundered, however, because of a lack of willingness on the part of many colonists to work. But when all the the other members of the council were drowned at sea during a storm, Captain John Smith was left in charge and instituted some basic reforms, including the Biblical injunction, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat" (2 Thess. 3:10). The company was divided into squads of ten or fifteen, and assigned to the necessary duties of the colony. Six hours each day were devoted to their tasks, the rest in pastimes and merry exercises. But such was the untowardness of many among them, to whom labor was equally new and irksome, that our President was compelled to give them sharp counsel after his peculiar fashion.“Countryman,” he said, “the long experience of our late miseries, I hope, is sufficient to per…