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CAPT. JOHN SMITH.
CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH.
HERE are few romances written, that con
tain more interesting or exciting inci
dents than the life of Captain John Smith. Works of fiction reach the feelings chiefly through the medium of the imagination; but the actual facts of a biography appeal directly to the heart.
John Smith, who is truly called the founder of Virginia, was born in Lincolnshire, England, in a town called Willoughby, during the year 1579. Though he might easily have received far better instruction in his youth than he did, he had no one to blame for the deficiency but himself. Such education as the free schools in the vicinity offered was quite enough to prepare
him to act intelligently in whatever situation he might afterwards be thrown; but his ardent temper and uncontrollable impulses were always very serious obstacles in the way of his improvement. Even at so early an age as thirteen, so adventurous and daring had his spirit become, he sold his books and satchel for funds with which to get ready to go to sea. The sudden death of his father, however, for the time prevented him. Before this event, it appears, he had likewise lost his mother. What little property his father left immediately fell to him, though he was obliged to be placed, with his money, in the care of guardians till he should come of age. Those guardians, however, as such persons often do, proved unfaithful to the trust reposed in them, and, knowing his desire for roving and adventure, secretly approved of the course he was so anxious to pursue. Though they allowed him very little money, - probably keeping a sharp look-out for themselves in regard to that, -- they nevertheless gave him great personal liberty, rarely offering to interfere with any wandering whim that happened to seize him.
Had they been a little more liberal in giving
him money, it is not likely that he would have stood in the way of their dishonest projects much longer; but, being as destitute as he was, he knew that he could ill afford to venture very far out of their reach without a more adequate supply. So he remained for a time where he was. At last, however, they resolved to apprentice him out with a merchant in Lynn, a man engagel very extensively in traffic, and with whom the uneasy youth might have grown in time to be a prosperous man. But there was another mission in the world for young John Smith. He was not destined to the drudgery of a store, and the comparatively trifling employments of one whose duty it is to stand behind a counter and wait upon coming customers; it was reserved for him yet to establish a far-off colony, to pave the way for future generations in a hitherto unexplored and trackless wilderness, and to lay the foundations of a nation that was to spread in an incalculably short time from the shores of one vast ocean to the other.
With his present employer he remained but a short time, his thoughts brooding continually over the brilliant and indescribable pictures that