shared with his contemporaries the restless spirit of roving and adventure which resulted from the invention of the mariner's compass and the discovery of the New World; but he was neither so sordid nor so rapacious as many of them, for his boyhood reading of romances had evidently fired him with the conceits of the past chivalric period. This imported into his conduct something inflated and something elevated. And, besides, with all his enormous conceit, he had a stratum of practical good sense, a shrewd wit, and the salt of humor. If Shakespeare had known him, as he might have done, he would have had a character ready to his hand that would have added one of the most amusing and interesting portraits to his gallery. He faintly suggests a moral Falstaff, if we can imagine a Falstaff without vices. As a narrator he has the swagger of a Captain Dalghetty, but his actions are marked by honesty and sincerity. He appears to have had none of the small vices of the gallants of his time. His chivalric attitude toward certain ladies who appear in his adventures, must have been sufficiently amusing to his associates. There is about his virtue a certain antique flavor which must have seemed strange to the adventurers and court hangers-on in London. Not improbably his assumptions were offensive to the ungodly, and his ingenuous boastings made him the object of amusement to the skeptics. Their ridicule would naturally appear to him to arise from envy. We read between the lines of his own eulogies of himself, that there was a widespread skepticism about his greatness and his achievements, which he attributed to jealousy. Perhaps his obtrusive virtues made him enemies, and his rectitude was a standing offense to his associates. It is certain he got on well with scarcely anybody with whom he was thrown in his enterprises. He was of common origin, and always carried with him the need of assertion in an insecure position. He appears to us always self-conscious and ill at ease with gentlemen born. The captains of his own station resented his assumptions of superiority, and while he did not try to win them by an affectation of comradeship, he probably repelled those of better breeding by a swaggering manner. No doubt his want of advancement was partly due to want of influence, which better birth would have given him; but the plain truth is that he had a talent for making himself disagreeable to his associates. Unfortunately he never engaged in any enterprise with any one on earth who was so capable of conducting it as himself, and this fact he always made plain to his comrades. Skill he had in managing savages, but with his equals among whites he lacked tact, and knew not the secret of having his own way without seeming to have it. He was insubordinate, impatient of any authority over him, and unwilling to submit to discipline he did not himself impose. Yet it must be said that he was less self-seeking than those who were with him in Virginia, making glory his aim rather than gain always; that he had a superior conception of what a colony should be, and how it should establish itself, and that his judgment of what was best was nearly always vindicated by the event. He was not the founder of the Virginia colony, its final success was not due to him, but it was owing almost entirely to his pluck and energy that it held on and maintained an existence during the two years and a half that he was with it at Jamestown. And to effect this mere holding on, with the vagabond crew that composed most of the colony, and with the extravagant and unintelligent expectations of the London Company, was a feat showing decided ability. He had the qualities fitting him to be an explorer and the leader of an expedition. He does not appear to have had the character necessary to impress his authority on a community. He was quarrelsome, irascible, and quick to fancy that his full value was not admitted. He shines most upon such small expeditions as the exploration of the Chesapeake; then his energy, self-confidence, shrewdness, inventiveness, had free play, and his pluck and perseverance are recognized as of the true heroic substance. Smith, as we have seen, estimated at their full insignificance such flummeries as the coronation of Powhatan, and the foolishness of taxing the energies of the colony to explore the country for gold and chase the phantom of the South Sea. In his discernment and in his conceptions of what is now called "political economy" he was in advance of his age. He was an advocate of "free trade" before the term was invented. In his advice given to the New England plantation in his "Advertisements" he says: "Now as his Majesty has made you custome-free for seven yeares, have a care that all your countrymen shall come to trade with you, be not troubled with pilotage, boyage, ancorage, wharfage, custome, or any such tricks as hath been lately used in most of our plantations, where they would be Kings before their folly; to the discouragement of many, and a scorne to them of understanding, for Dutch, French, Biskin, or any will as yet use freely the Coast without controule, and why not English as well as they? Therefore use all commers with that respect, courtesie, and liberty is fitting, which will in a short time much increase your trade and shipping to fetch it from you, for as yet it were not good to adventure any more abroad with factors till you bee better provided; now there is nothing more enricheth a Common-wealth than much trade, nor no meanes better to increase than small custome, as Holland, Genua, Ligorne, as divers other places can well tell you, and doth most beggar those places where they take most custome, as Turkie, the Archipelegan Iles, Cicilia, the Spanish ports, but that their officers will connive to enrich themselves, though undo the state." It may perhaps be admitted that he knew better than the London or the Plymouth company what ought to be done in the New World, but it is absurd to suppose that his success or his ability forfeited him the confidence of both companies, and shut him out of employment. The simple truth seems to be that his arrogance and conceit and importunity made him unpopular, and that his proverbial ill luck was set off against his ability. Although he was fully charged with the piety of his age, and kept in mind his humble dependence on divine grace when he was plundering Venetian argosies or lying to the Indians, or fighting anywhere simply for excitement or booty, and was always as devout as a modern Sicilian or Greek robber; he had a humorous appreciation of the value of the religions current in his day. He saw through the hypocrisy of the London Company, "making religion their color, when all their aim was nothing but present profit." There was great talk about Christianizing the Indians; but the colonists in Virginia taught them chiefly the corruptions of civilized life, and those who were despatched to England soon became debauched by London vices. "Much they blamed us [he writes] for not converting the Salvages, when those they sent us were little better, if not worse, nor did they all convert any of those we sent them to England for that purpose." Captain John Smith died unmarried, nor is there any record that he ever had wife or children. This disposes of the claim of subsequent John Smiths to be descended from him. He was the last of that race; the others are imitations. He was wedded to glory. That he was not insensible to the charms of female beauty, and to the heavenly pity in their hearts, which is their chief grace, his writings abundantly evince; but to taste the pleasures of dangerous adventure, to learn war and to pick up his living with his sword, and to fight wherever piety showed recompense would follow, was the passion of his youth, while his manhood was given to the arduous ambition of enlarging the domains of England and enrolling his name among those heroes who make an ineffaceable impression upon their age. There was no time in his life when he had leisure to marry, or when it would have been consistent with his schemes to have tied himself to a home. As a writer he was wholly untrained, but with all his introversions and obscurities he is the most readable chronicler of his time, the most amusing and as untrustworthy as any. He is influenced by his prejudices, though not so much by them as by his imagination and vanity. He had a habit of accurate observation, as his maps show, and this trait gives to his statements and descriptions, when his own reputation is not concerned, a value beyond that of those of most contemporary travelers. And there is another thing to be said about his writings. They are uncommonly clean for his day. Only here and there is coarseness encountered. In an age when nastiness was written as well as spoken, and when most travelers felt called upon to satisfy a curiosity for prurient observations, Smith preserved a tone quite remarkable for general purity. Captain Smith is in some respects a very good type of the restless adventurers of his age; but he had a little more pseudo-chivalry at one end of his life, and a little more piety at the other, than the rest. There is a decidedly heroic element in his courage, hardihood, and enthusiasm, softened to the modern observer's comprehension by the humorous contrast between his achievements and his estimate of them. Between his actual deeds as he relates them, and his noble sentiments, there is also sometimes a contrast pleasing to the worldly mind. He is just one of those characters who would be more agreeable on the stage than in private life. His extraordinary conceit would be entertaining if one did not see too much of him. Although he was such a romancer that we can accept few of his unsupported statements about himself, there was, nevertheless, a certain verity in his character which showed something more than loyalty to his own fortune; he could be faithful to an ambition for the public good. Those who knew him best must have found in him very likable qualities, and acknowledged the generosities of his nature, while they were amused at his humorous spleen and his serious contemplation of his own greatness. There is a kind of simplicity in his self-appreciation that wins one, and it is impossible for the candid student of his career not to feel kindly towards the "sometime Governor of Virginia and Admiral of New England."
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