List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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had the then rising prejudice against theatres.  After his return
from Virginia he and his exploits were the subject of many a stage
play and spectacle, but whether his vanity was more flattered by this
mark of notoriety than his piety was offended we do not know.  There
is certainly no sort of evidence that he engaged in the common
dissipation of the town, nor gave himself up to those pleasures which
a man rescued from the hardships of captivity in Tartaria might be
expected to seek.  Mr. Stith says that it was the testimony of his
fellow soldiers and adventurers that "they never knew a soldier,
before him, so free from those military vices of wine, tobacco,
debts, dice, and oathes."

But of one thing we may be certain: he was seeking adventure
according to his nature, and eager for any heroic employment; and it
goes without saying that he entered into the great excitement of the
day--adventure in America.  Elizabeth was dead.  James had just come
to the throne, and Raleigh, to whom Elizabeth had granted an
extensive patent of Virginia, was in the Tower.  The attempts to make
any permanent lodgment in the countries of Virginia had failed.  But
at the date of Smith's advent Captain Bartholomew Gosnold had
returned from a voyage undertaken in 1602 under the patronage of the
Earl of Southampton, and announced that he had discovered a direct
passage westward to the new continent, all the former voyagers having
gone by the way of the West Indies.  The effect of this announcement
in London, accompanied as it was with Gosnold's report of the
fruitfulness of the coast of New England which he explored, was
something like that made upon New York by the discovery of gold in
California in 1849.  The route by the West Indies, with its incidents
of disease and delay, was now replaced by the direct course opened by
Gosnold, and the London Exchange, which has always been quick to
scent any profit in trade, shared the excitement of the distinguished
soldiers and sailors who were ready to embrace any chance of
adventure that offered.

It is said that Captain Gosnold spent several years in vain, after
his return, in soliciting his friends and acquaintances to join him
in settling this fertile land he had explored; and that at length he
prevailed upon Captain John Smith, Mr. Edward Maria Wingfield, the
Rev. Mr. Robert Hunt, and others, to join him.  This is the first
appearance of the name of Captain John Smith in connection with
Virginia.  Probably his life in London had been as idle as
unprofitable, and his purse needed replenishing.  Here was a way open
to the most honorable, exciting, and profitable employment.  That its
mere profit would have attracted him we do not believe; but its
danger, uncertainty, and chance of distinction would irresistibly
appeal to him.  The distinct object of the projectors was to
establish a colony in Virginia.  This proved too great an undertaking
for private persons.  After many vain projects the scheme was
commended to several of the nobility, gentry, and merchants, who came
into it heartily, and the memorable expedition of 1606 was organized.

The patent under which this colonization was undertaken was obtained
from King James by the solicitation of Richard Hakluyt and others.
Smith's name does not appear in it, nor does that of Gosnold nor of
Captain Newport.  Richard Hakluyt, then clerk prebendary of
Westminster, had from the first taken great interest in the project.
He was chaplain of the English colony in Paris when Sir Francis Drake
was fitting out his expedition to America, and was eager to further
it.  By his diligent study he became the best English geographer of
his time; he was the historiographer of the East India Company, and
the best informed man in England concerning the races, climates, and
productions of all parts of the globe.  It was at Hakluyt's
suggestion that two vessels were sent out from Plymouth in 1603 to
verify Gosnold's report of his new short route.  A further
verification of the feasibility of this route was made by Captain
George Weymouth, who was sent out in 1605 by the Earl of Southampton.

The letters-patent of King James, dated April 10, 1606, licensed the
planting of two colonies in the territories of America commonly
called Virginia.  The corporators named in the first colony were Sir
Thos. Gates, Sir George Somers, knights, and Richard Hakluyt and
Edward Maria Wingfield, adventurers, of the city of London.  They
were permitted to settle anywhere in territory between the 34th and
41st degrees of latitude.

The corporators named in the second colony were Thomas Hankam,
Raleigh Gilbert, William Parker, and George Popham, representing
Bristol, Exeter, and Plymouth, and the west counties, who were
authorized to make a settlement anywhere between the 38th and 4Sth
degrees of latitude.

The--letters commended and generously accepted this noble work of
colonization, "which may, by the Providence of Almighty God,
hereafter tend to the glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of
Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and
miserable ignorance of all true knowledge and worship of God, and may
in time bring the infidels and savages living in those parts to human
civility and to a settled and quiet government."  The conversion of
the Indians was as prominent an object in all these early adventures,
English or Spanish, as the relief of the Christians has been in all
the Russian campaigns against the Turks in our day.

Before following the fortunes of this Virginia colony of 1606, to
which John Smith was attached, it is necessary to glance briefly at
the previous attempt to make settlements in this portion of America.

Although the English had a claim upon America, based upon the
discovery of Newfoundland and of the coast of the continent from the
38th to the 68th north parallel by Sebastian Cabot in 1497, they took
no further advantage of it than to send out a few fishing vessels,
until Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a noted and skillful seaman, took out
letters-patent for discovery, bearing date the 11th of January, 1578.
Gilbert was the half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh and thirteen years
his senior.  The brothers were associated in the enterprise of 1579,
which had for its main object the possession of Newfoundland.  It is
commonly said, and in this the biographical dictionaries follow one
another, that Raleigh accompanied his brother on this voyage of 1579
and went with him to Newfoundland.  The fact is that Gilbert did not
reach Newfoundland on that voyage, and it is open to doubt if Raleigh
started with him.  In April, 1579, when Gilbert took active steps
under the charter of 1578, diplomatic difficulties arose, growing out
of Elizabeth's policy with the Spaniards, and when Gilbert's ships
were ready to sail he was stopped by an order from the council.
Little is known of this unsuccessful attempt of Gilbert's. He did,
after many delays, put to sea, and one of his contemporaries, John
Hooker, the antiquarian, says that Raleigh was one of the assured
friends that accompanied him.  But he was shortly after driven back,
probably from an encounter with the Spaniards, and returned with the
loss of a tall ship.

Raleigh had no sooner made good his footing at the court of Elizabeth
than he joined Sir Humphrey in a new adventure.  But the Queen
peremptorily retained Raleigh at court, to prevent his incurring the
risks of any "dangerous sea-fights."  To prevent Gilbert from
embarking on this new voyage seems to have been the device of the
council rather than the Queen, for she assured Gilbert of her good
wishes, and desired him, on his departure, to give his picture to
Raleigh for her, and she contributed to the large sums raised to meet
expenses "an anchor guarded by a lady," which the sailor was to wear
at his breast.  Raleigh risked L 2,000 in the venture, and equipped a
ship which bore his name, but which had ill luck.  An infectious
fever broke out among the crew, and the "Ark Raleigh" returned to
Plymouth.  Sir Humphrey wrote to his brother admiral, Sir George
Peckham, indignantly of this desertion, the reason for which he did
not know, and then proceeded on his voyage with his four remaining
ships.  This was on the 11th of January, 1583.  The expedition was so
far successful that Gilbert took formal possession of Newfoundland
for the Queen.  But a fatality attended his further explorations: the
gallant admiral went down at sea in a storm off our coast, with his
crew, heroic and full of Christian faith to the last, uttering, it is
reported, this courageous consolation to his comrades at the last
moment: "Be of good heart, my friends.  We are as near to heaven by
sea as by land."

In September, 1583, a surviving ship brought news of the disaster to
Falmouth.  Raleigh was not discouraged.  Within six months of this
loss he had on foot another enterprise.  His brother's patent had
expired.  On the 25th of March, 1584, he obtained from Elizabeth a
new charter with larger powers, incorporating himself, Adrian
Gilbert, brother of Sir Humphrey, and John Davys, under the title of
"The College of the Fellowship for the Discovery of the Northwest
Passage."  But Raleigh's object was colonization.  Within a few days
after his charter was issued he despatched two captains, Philip
Amadas and Arthur Barlow, who in July of that year took possession of
the island of Roanoke.

The name of Sir Walter Raleigh is intimately associated with Carolina
and Virginia, and it is the popular impression that he personally
assisted in the discovery of the one and the settlement of the other.
But there is no more foundation for the belief that he ever visited
the territory of Virginia, of which he was styled governor, than that
he accompanied Sir Humphrey Gilbert to Newfoundland.  An allusion by
William Strachey, in his "Historie of Travaile into Virginia,"
hastily read, may have misled some writers.  He speaks of an
expedition southward, "to some parts of Chawonock and the Mangoangs,
to search them there left by Sir Walter Raleigh."  But his further
sketch of the various prior expeditions shows that he meant to speak

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