« PreviousContinue »
Don, a garrison of the Russians; where, he says, "the governor, after a due examination of those his hard events, took off his irons, and so kindly used him, he thought himself new risen from death, and the good lady Calamata largely supplied his wants." This last clause is characteristic of Smith. His gentlemanly courtesy prompts him to acknowledge the kind attentions of a lady, while his modesty forbids him to mention any of the reasons which induced her to take an interest in him, still less to exaggerate that interest into a warmer feeling.
Being furnished by the friendly governor with letters of recommendation, he travelled, under the protection of convoys, to Hermaudstadt in Transylvania. His journey through these desolate regions was made delightful by the kind attentions which he constantly received. He says, "in all his life, he seldom met with more respect, mirth, content, and entertainment, and not any governor, where he came, but gave him somewhat as a present, beside his charges." Their own exposed situation on the frontiers made them constantly liable to be carried into slavery by the Tartars, and they could sympathize with one who had just escaped a fate of which they were continually apprehensive.
On his arrival in Transylvania, where he found many of his old friends and companions in arms,
and where his brilliant exploits had made him generally known and popular, he was received with enthusiasm, as one risen from the grave, and overwhelmed with honors and attentions. He says, that he was glutted with content and near drowned with joy," and that he never would have left these kind friends, but for his strong desire to "rejoice himself" in his own native country, after all his toils and perils. At Leipsic he met with his old Colonel, the Earl of Meldritch, and Prince Sigismund, who gave him a diploma, confirming the title of nobility he had previously conferred upon him, and fifteen ducats to repair his losses. From thence he travelled through Germany, France, and Spain, visiting the places most worthy of note in each.
Hearing that a civil war had broken out in Barbary, eager to gain new honors and encounter new perils, he sailed in a French ship of war to the African coast, and went to the city of Morocco; but, finding that the contending parties were equally treacherous and unworthy, he refused to throw his sword into either scale. He describes some of the objects most worthy of note in the cities of Morocco and Fez, and gives a slight sketch of the conquests and discoveries of the Portuguese in the southern portions of Africa. He departed from Morocco in the same vessel in which he had come, and
which, on the voyage, sustained a desperate fight against two Spanish men-of-war, and succeeded in beating them off. He returned to his own country about the year 1604.
State of public Feeling in England in regard to Colonizing the Coast of America.- Smith becomes interested in the Subject. — Establishment of the Virginia and Plymouth Companies. An Expedition sets Sail from England. - Dissensions on the Voyage.-Arrival in Virginia.
THE times, of which we are writing, were fruitful alike in great enterprises and in great men. The brilliant discoveries of the Portuguese in the East, and of Columbus and Sebas. tian Cabot in the West, had startled the civilized world like the sound of a trumpet, and given to the human mind that spring and impulse, which are always produced by remarkable events. The fiery and adventurous spirits of Europe found the bounds of the old world too narrow for them, and panted for the untried spheres of our new and broader continents.
The wealth and fertility of the newly discovered lands, of course, lost nothing in the narratives of the few, who had by chance visited them, and returned home to astonish their admiring and less fortunate friends with tales of what they had seen and heard. They had seen climes which were the favorites of the sun, and his burning glances filled the earth, the air, and the sea with strange beauty. There were birds of gorgeous plumage, dazzling the eye with their motions and colors, flowers of the richest hues and most delicate odors, and aromatic forests that made the air faint with perfume, and "old Ocean smile for many a league." But the most extravagant accounts were given of the mineral treasures of the new countries. Gold and silver were so plentiful, that the most common utensils were made of them; and every one had some story to tell of "the Eldorado, where" (in the words of Mike Lambourne in "Kenilworth ") "urchins play at cherry-pit with diamonds, and country wenches thread rubies for necklaces instead of rowan-tree berries; where the pantiles are made of pure gold, and the paving-stones of virgin silver." The good and bad passions of men were alike stimulated. There were savages to be civilized and heathen to be converted; there were worlds to be conquered and laurels to be won; avarice was allured by dreams of untold wealth,
and enterprise by prospects of boundless ad
England was strongly infected by the general feeling, and the genius and accomplishments of Sir Walter Raleigh kindled in all ranks a strong passion for foreign adventures. Several attempts had been made in the reign of Elizabeth, under the auspices of that remarkable man, to plant a colony in North America, the earliest settlement having been made, in 1585, on the island of Roanoke, in Albemarle Sound, on the coast of North Carolina; but no one had taken firm root. The history of these short-lived colonies, and an examination of the causes which led to their failure, would be out of place here. *
At the time of Smith's arrival in England there was not any English colony on the continent of North America; but the public attention had been strongly awakened to the subject by the animated representations of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, who, in 1602, had made a prosperous voyage to the coast of New England, and had, on his return, spoken in the warmest terms of its fertility and the salubrity of its climate, and strongly urged upon his coun
*The reader will find a minute and accurate account of their fortunes in Stith's History of Virginia, and a succinct and well-written one in Grahame's History of the United States.