List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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houses, lands, tenantements and hereditaments whatsoever, situate
lying and being in the parishes of Louthe and Great Carleton, in the
county of Lincoln together with my coat of armes"; and charges him to
pay certain legacies not exceeding the sum of eighty pounds, out of
which he reserves to himself twenty pounds to be disposed of as he
chooses in his lifetime.  The sum of twenty pounds is to be disbursed
about the funeral.  To his most worthy friend, Sir Samuel Saltonstall
Knight, he gives five pounds; to Morris Treadway, five pounds; to his
sister Smith, the widow of his brother, ten pounds; to his cousin
Steven Smith, and his sister, six pounds thirteen shillings and
fourpence between them; to Thomas Packer, Joane, his wife, and
Eleanor, his daughter, ten pounds among them; to "Mr. Reynolds, the
lay Mr of the Goldsmiths Hall, the sum of forty shillings"; to
Thomas, the son of said Thomas Packer, "my trunk standing in my
chamber at Sir Samuel Saltonstall's house in St. Sepulcher's parish,
together with my best suit of apparel of a tawny color viz. hose,
doublet jirkin and cloak," "also, my trunk bound with iron bars
standing in the house of Richard Hinde in Lambeth, together--with
half the books therein"; the other half of the books to Mr. John
Tredeskin and Richard Hinde.  His much honored friend, Sir Samuel
Saltonstall, and Thomas Packer, were joint executors, and the will
was acknowledged in the presence "of Willmu Keble Snr civitas,
London, William Packer, Elizabeth Sewster, Marmaduke Walker, his
mark, witness."

We have no idea that Thomas Packer got rich out of the houses, lands
and tenements in the county of Lincoln.  The will is that of a poor
man, and reference to his trunks standing about in the houses of his
friends, and to his chamber in the house of Sir Samuel Saltonstall,
may be taken as proof that he had no independent and permanent

It is supposed that he was buried in St. Sepulcher's Church.  The
negative evidence of this is his residence in the parish at the time
of his death, and the more positive, a record in Stow's "Survey of
London," 1633, which we copy in full:

This Table is on the south side of the Quire in Saint Sepulchers,
with this Inscription:

To the living Memory of his deceased Friend, Captaine John Smith, who
departed this mortall life on the 21 day of June, 1631, with his
Armes, and this Motto,

Accordamus, vincere est vivere.

Here lies one conquer'd that hath conquer'd Kings,
Subdu'd large Territories, and done things
Which to the World impossible would seeme,
But that the truth is held in more esteeme,
Shall I report His former service done
In honour of his God and Christendome:
How that he did divide from Pagans three,
Their heads and Lives, types of his chivalry:
For which great service in that Climate done,
Brave Sigismundus (King of Hungarion)
Did give him as a Coat of Armes to weare,
Those conquer'd heads got by his Sword and Speare?
Or shall I tell of his adventures since,
Done in Firginia, that large Continence:
I-low that he subdu'd Kings unto his yoke,
And made those heathen flie, as wind doth smoke:
And made their Land, being of so large a Station,
A hab;tation for our Christian Nation:
Where God is glorifi'd, their wants suppli'd,
Which else for necessaries might have di'd?
But what avails his Conquest now he lyes
Inter'd in earth a prey for Wormes & Flies?

O may his soule in sweet Mizium sleepe,
Untill the Keeper that all soules doth keepe,
Returne to judgement and that after thence,
With Angels he may have his recompence.
Captaine John Smith, sometime Governour of Firginia, and
Admirall of New England.

This remarkable epitaph is such an autobiographical record as Smith
might have written himself.  That it was engraved upon a tablet and
set up in this church rests entirely upon the authority of Stow.  The
present pilgrim to the old church will find no memorial that Smith
was buried there, and will encounter besides incredulity of the
tradition that he ever rested there.

The old church of St. Sepulcher's, formerly at the confluence of Snow
Hill and the Old Bailey, now lifts its head far above the pompous
viaduct which spans the valley along which the Fleet Ditch once
flowed.  All the registers of burial in the church were destroyed by
the great fire of 1666, which burnt down the edifice from floor to
roof, leaving only the walls and tower standing.  Mr. Charles Deane,
whose lively interest in Smith led him recently to pay a visit to St.
Sepulcher's, speaks of it as the church "under the pavement of which
the remains of our hero were buried; but he was not able to see the
stone placed over those remains, as the floor of the church at that
time was covered with a carpet....  The epitaph to his memory,
however, it is understood, cannot now be deciphered upon the
tablet,"--which he supposes to be the one in Stow.

The existing tablet is a slab of bluish-black marble, which formerly
was in the chancel.  That it in no way relates to Captain Smith a
near examination of it shows.  This slab has an escutcheon which
indicates three heads, which a lively imagination may conceive to be
those of Moors, on a line in the upper left corner on the husband's
side of a shield, which is divided by a perpendicular line.  As Smith
had no wife, this could not have been his cognizance.  Nor are these
his arms, which were three Turks' heads borne over and beneath a
chevron.  The cognizance of "Moors' heads," as we have said, was not
singular in the Middle Ages, and there existed recently in this very
church another tomb which bore a Moor's head as a family badge.  The
inscription itself is in a style of lettering unlike that used in the
time of James I., and the letters are believed not to belong to an
earlier period than that of the Georges.  This bluish-black stone has
been recently gazed at by many pilgrims from this side of the ocean,
with something of the feeling with which the Moslems regard the Kaaba
at Mecca.  This veneration is misplaced, for upon the stone are
distinctly visible these words:

          "Departed this life September....
            ....sixty-six ....years....
                ....months ...."

As John Smith died in June, 1631, in his fifty-second year, this
stone is clearly not in his honor: and if his dust rests in this
church, the fire of 1666 made it probably a labor of wasted love to
look hereabouts for any monument of him.

A few years ago some American antiquarians desired to place some
monument to the "Admiral of New England" in this church, and a
memorial window, commemorating the "Baptism of Pocahontas," was
suggested.  We have been told, however, that a custom of St.
Sepulcher's requires a handsome bonus to the rector for any memorial
set up in the church) which the kindly incumbent had no power to set
aside (in his own case) for a foreign gift and act of international
courtesy of this sort; and the project was abandoned.

Nearly every trace of this insatiable explorer of the earth has
disappeared from it except in his own writings.  The only monument to
his memory existing is a shabby little marble shaft erected on the
southerly summit of Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals.  By a
kind of irony of fortune, which Smith would have grimly appreciated,
the only stone to perpetuate his fame stands upon a little heap of
rocks in the sea; upon which it is only an inference that he ever set
foot, and we can almost hear him say again, looking round upon this
roomy earth, so much of which he possessed in his mind, "No lot for
me but Smith's Isles, which are an array of barren rocks, the most
overgrowne with shrubs and sharpe whins you can hardly passe them:
without either grasse or wood but three or foure short shrubby old

Nearly all of Smith's biographers and the historians of Virginia
have, with great respect, woven his romances about his career into
their narratives, imparting to their paraphrases of his story such an
elevation as his own opinion of himself seemed to demand.  Of
contemporary estimate of him there is little to quote except the
panegyrics in verse he has preserved for us, and the inference from
his own writings that he was the object of calumny and detraction.
Enemies he had in plenty, but there are no records left of their
opinion of his character.  The nearest biographical notice of him in
point of time is found in the "History of the Worthies of England,"
by Thomas Fuller, D.D., London, 1662.

Old Fuller's schoolmaster was Master Arthur Smith, a kinsman of John,
who told him that John was born in Lincolnshire, and it is probable
that Fuller received from his teacher some impression about the

Of his "strange performances" in Hungary, Fuller says: "The scene
whereof is laid at such a distance that they are cheaper credited
than confuted."

"From the Turks in Europe he passed to the pagans in America, where
towards the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth [it was in the
reign of James] such his perils, preservations, dangers,
deliverances, they seem to most men above belief, to some beyond
truth.  Yet have we two witnesses to attest them, the prose and the
pictures, both in his own book; and it soundeth much to the
diminution of his deeds that he alone is the herald to publish and
proclaim them."

"Surely such reports from strangers carry the greater reputation.
However, moderate men must allow Captain Smith to have been very
instrumental in settling the plantation in Virginia, whereof he was
governor, as also Admiral of New England."

"He led his old age in London, where his having a prince's mind
imprisoned in a poor man's purse, rendered him to the contempt of
such as were not ingenuous.  Yet he efforted his spirits with the
remembrance and relation of what formerly he had been, and what he
had done."

Of the "ranting epitaph," quoted above, Fuller says: "The
orthography, poetry, history and divinity in this epitaph are much

Without taking Captain John Smith at his own estimate of himself, he
was a peculiar character even for the times in which he lived.  He

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