List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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Whatever may have been the justice of the charges against Smith, he
had evidently forfeited the good opinion of the company as a
desirable man to employ.  They might esteem his energy and profit by
his advice and experience, but they did not want his services.  And
in time he came to be considered an enemy of the company.

Unfortunately for biographical purposes, Smith's life is pretty much
a blank from 1609 to 1614.  When he ceases to write about himself he
passes out of sight.  There are scarcely any contemporary allusions
to his existence at this time.  We may assume, however, from our
knowledge of his restlessness, ambition, and love of adventure, that
he was not idle.  We may assume that he besieged the company with his
plans for the proper conduct of the settlement of Virginia; that he
talked at large in all companies of his discoveries, his exploits,
which grew by the relating, and of the prospective greatness of the
new Britain beyond the Atlantic.  That he wearied the Council by his
importunity and his acquaintances by his hobby, we can also surmise.
No doubt also he was considered a fanatic by those who failed to
comprehend the greatness of his schemes, and to realize, as he did,
the importance of securing the new empire to the English before it
was occupied by the Spanish and the French.  His conceit, his
boasting, and his overbearing manner, which no doubt was one of the
causes why he was unable to act in harmony with the other adventurers
of that day, all told against him.  He was that most uncomfortable
person, a man conscious of his own importance, and out of favor and
out of money.

Yet Smith had friends, and followers, and men who believed in him.
This is shown by the remarkable eulogies in verse from many pens,
which he prefixes to the various editions of his many works.  They
seem to have been written after reading the manuscripts, and prepared
to accompany the printed volumes and tracts.  They all allude to the
envy and detraction to which he was subject, and which must have
amounted to a storm of abuse and perhaps ridicule; and they all tax
the English vocabulary to extol Smith, his deeds, and his works.  In
putting forward these tributes of admiration and affection, as well
as in his constant allusion to the ill requital of his services, we
see a man fighting for his reputation, and conscious of the necessity
of doing so.  He is ever turning back, in whatever he writes, to
rehearse his exploits and to defend his motives.

The London to which Smith returned was the London of Shakespeare's
day; a city dirty, with ill-paved streets unlighted at night, no
sidewalks, foul gutters, wooden houses, gable ends to the street, set
thickly with small windows from which slops and refuse were at any
moment of the day or night liable to be emptied upon the heads of the
passers by; petty little shops in which were beginning to be
displayed the silks and luxuries of the continent; a city crowded and
growing rapidly, subject to pestilences and liable to sweeping
conflagrations.  The Thames had no bridges, and hundreds of boats
plied between London side and Southwark, where were most of the
theatres, the bull-baitings, the bear-fighting, the public gardens,
the residences of the hussies, and other amusements that Bankside,
the resort of all classes bent on pleasure, furnished high or low.
At no time before or since was there such fantastical fashion in
dress, both in cut and gay colors, nor more sumptuousness in costume
or luxury in display among the upper classes, and such squalor in low
life.  The press teemed with tracts and pamphlets, written in
language "as plain as a pikestaff," against the immoralities of the
theatres, those "seminaries of vice," and calling down the judgment
of God upon the cost and the monstrosities of the dress of both men
and women; while the town roared on its way, warned by sermons, and
instructed in its chosen path by such plays and masques as Ben
Jonson's "Pleasure reconciled to Virtue."

The town swarmed with idlers, and with gallants who wanted
advancement but were unwilling to adventure their ease to obtain it.
There was much lounging in apothecaries' shops to smoke tobacco,
gossip, and hear the news.  We may be sure that Smith found many
auditors for his adventures and his complaints.  There was a good
deal of interest in the New World, but mainly still as a place where
gold and other wealth might be got without much labor, and as a
possible short cut to the South Sea and Cathay.  The vast number of
Londoners whose names appear in the second Virginia charter shows the
readiness of traders to seek profit in adventure.  The stir for wider
freedom in religion and government increased with the activity of
exploration and colonization, and one reason why James finally
annulled the Virginia, charter was because he regarded the meetings
of the London Company as opportunities of sedition.

Smith is altogether silent about his existence at this time.  We do
not hear of him till 1612, when his "Map of Virginia" with his
description of the country was published at Oxford.  The map had been
published before: it was sent home with at least a portion of the
description of Virginia.  In an appendix appeared (as has been said)
a series of narrations of Smith's exploits, covering the rime he was
in Virginia, written by his companions, edited by his friend Dr.
Symonds, and carefully overlooked by himself.

Failing to obtain employment by the Virginia company, Smith turned
his attention to New England, but neither did the Plymouth company
avail themselves of his service.  At last in 1614 he persuaded some
London merchants to fit him out for a private trading adventure to
the coast of New England.  Accordingly with two ships, at the charge
of Captain Marmaduke Roydon, Captain George Langam, Mr. John Buley,
and William Skelton, merchants, he sailed from the Downs on the 3d of
March, 1614, and in the latter part of April "chanced to arrive in
New England, a part of America at the Isle of Monahiggan in 43 1/2 of
Northerly latitude."  This was within the territory appropriated to
the second (the Plymouth) colony by the patent of 1606, which gave
leave of settlement between the 38th and 44th parallels.

Smith's connection with New England is very slight, and mainly that
of an author, one who labored for many years to excite interest in it
by his writings.  He named several points, and made a map of such
portion of the coast as he saw, which was changed from time to time
by other observations.  He had a remarkable eye for topography, as is
especially evident by his map of Virginia.  This New England coast is
roughly indicated in Venazzani's Plot Of 1524, and better on
Mercator's of a few years later, and in Ortelius's "Theatrum Orbis
Terarum " of 1570; but in Smith's map we have for the first time a
fair approach to the real contour.

Of Smith's English predecessors on this coast there is no room here
to speak.  Gosnold had described Elizabeth's Isles, explorations and
settlements had been made on the coast of Maine by Popham and
Weymouth, but Smith claims the credit of not only drawing the first
fair map of the coast, but of giving the name " New England " to what
had passed under the general names of Virginia, Canada, Norumbaga,

Smith published his description of New England June 18, 1616, and it
is in that we must follow his career.  It is dedicated to the "high,
hopeful Charles, Prince of Great Britain," and is prefaced by an
address to the King's Council for all the plantations, and another to
all the adventurers into New England.  The addresses, as usual, call
attention to his own merits.  "Little honey [he writes] hath that
hive, where there are more drones than bees; and miserable is that
land where more are idle than are well employed.  If the endeavors of
these vermin be acceptable, I hope mine may be excusable: though I
confess it were more proper for me to be doing what I say than
writing what I know.  Had I returned rich I could not have erred; now
having only such food as came to my net, I must be taxed.  But, I
would my taxers were as ready to adventure their purses as I, purse,
life, and all I have; or as diligent to permit the charge, as I know
they are vigilant to reap the fruits of my labors."  The value of the
fisheries he had demonstrated by his catch; and he says, looking, as
usual, to large results, "but because I speak so much of fishing, if
any mistake me for such a devote fisher, as I dream of nought else,
they mistake me. I know a ring of gold from a grain of barley as well
as a goldsmith; and nothing is there to be had which fishing doth
hinder, but further us to obtain."

John Smith first appears on the New England coast as a whale fisher.
The only reference to his being in America in Josselyn's
"Chronological Observations of America " is under the wrong year,
1608: "Capt. John Smith fished now for whales at Monhiggen."  He
says: "Our plot there was to take whales, and made tryall of a Myne
of gold and copper;" these failing they were to get fish and furs.
Of gold there had been little expectation, and (he goes on) "we found
this whale fishing a costly conclusion; we saw many, and spent much
time in chasing them; but could not kill any; they being a kind of
Jubartes, and not the whale that yeeldes finnes and oyle as we
expected."  They then turned their attention to smaller fish, but
owing to their late arrival and "long lingering about the whale"--
chasing a whale that they could not kill because it was not the right
kind--the best season for fishing was passed.  Nevertheless, they
secured some 40,000 cod--the figure is naturally raised to 6o,ooo
when Smith retells the story fifteen years afterwards.

But our hero was a born explorer, and could not be content with not
examining the strange coast upon which he found himself.  Leaving his
sailors to catch cod, he took eight or nine men in a small boat, and
cruised along the coast, trading wherever he could for furs, of which
he obtained above a thousand beaver skins; but his chance to trade

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