Captain John Smith
Sometimes Governour of Jamestown Virginia, and Admiral of New England
Captain John Smith
1580 – 1631
“Brass without but gold within”
from an inscription below Smith’s picture on the Map of New England (sentiment believed written by Sir Samuel Saltonstall)
Read Captain John Smith’s writings in his own words?
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John Smith’s writings of Virginia and New England are written in a very remarkable, straightforward, and a direct narrative style. It is presumed he recorded events in a diary as he lived them. This we do know he did when captured by pirates. Unfortunantly his diaries are lost but his books remain.
Captain John Smith wrote eight books. Two are autobiographies. These autobiographies may be the first English illuistrated autobiographies written. If any readers find an earlier written English illuistrated autobiography, I would like have that information.
Below is a list of books published by Smith.
Works by John Smith (1580-1631)
|1608||A True Relation of such occurrences and accidents of note as hath hapned in Virginia since the first planting of that Colony. This is a publication of a letter Smith sent back 14 months after arrival to an unidentified friend who edited it then published it. From this letter the English world will be provided provided the earliest account of the Virginia settlement. Either Smith did not mention his rescue by the Indian princess Pocahontas, or it was edited out before publication.|
|1612||A Map Of Virginia with a Description of the Country. Smith continues his account of the Jamestown settlement during his governorship.The Porceedings of the English Colonie of Virginia (second part of book) whose authors are listed as Thomas Studley, Anas Todkill, Walter Russell, Nathaniel Powell, William Phettiplace, Richard Wyffin, Thomas Abby, Thomas Hope and Richard Potts . Thomas Abby said the treastise was first concieced by Richard Potts who had been clerk of the council in 1608 and 1609. The whole work was turned over to Reverend William Symonds|
|1616||A Description of New England: or the Observations and Discoveries of Captain John Smith. Smith offers an account of his second exploration in North America during which he mapped the coastline of New England.|
|1620||New England’s Trials. Smith recommends New England as a site for colonization.This was 16 pages initially in pamphlet form describing how ships would benefit that Country by sea nd land, etc. In an expanded edition in 1622 he would describe the Pilgrims’ doubtful prospects and how they might better succeed if they would take instruction from him. Smith said in 1624 that he had caused two or three thousand to be printed.|
|1624||The General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles. Smith chronicles the colonization of Virginia, going into more detail than in his earlier, shorter history of 1608. Included is an extensive treatment of the Pocahontas story.|
|1626||An Accidence, or The Pathway to Experience Necessary for all Young Seamen. Smith’s manual of seamanship is illustrated with incidents from his own experiences. It would be enlarged as A Sea Grammar in 1627. It would be so popular that it would be brought out in repeated editions for the next 65 years. Smith’s name was still used on the title page of it’s 1691 edition.|
|1630||The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America… from 1593 to 1629. Smith provides an account of his early life and his subsequent adventures in a fascinating autobiography.|
|1631||Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New England. Written shortly before Smith’s death, this work offers practical advice to the Massachusetts settlers and includes an autobiographical poem, “The Sea-Mark.”|
Below are my favorite books about Smith .
Some used copies can be purchased cheaply at Amazon. I have placed links (click highlighted name of book) to find it at Amazon
My favorite book about Smith is –The American Dream by J.A. Leo Lemay, 1991
This book examines the character of Captain John Smith. This book is not a saga, nor ment to be a biography, but it is an examination of Smith’s life, his relationships with friends and enemies. It also includes explanations of errors written about Smith by authors of the past. This author has done a complete job in this book, leaving out nothing. I realize that this author (Lemay) has come to admire Captain John Smith as I do, as one of the most interesting and awesome individuals who has lived.
“The book corrects some of the erroneous stories of Captain John Smith contained in the Pocahontas cartoon and the recently released Hollywood movie about John Smith and Pocahontas. With the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement having recently occurred, this book will help put that important milestone into its historical perspective.”
This is available from Amazon.com, and from local bookstores. This hardcover book contains more than 180 pages and has 52 color illustrations, with a retail price is $26.95 Hardcover ISBN: 1931798834, Pub. Date: April 2006,Series: Founders of the Republic Ser, Age Range: 12 and up
My recommendation for more serious readers- Captain John Smith by Bradford Smith, 1953– (A very good read).
Bradford Smith in 1968 donated a window of John Smith in the church where Smith is burried, St. Sepulchre-without-Newgatein London. Captain Smith is shown in the central panel with his navigational instruments around his feet. The outer panels show his patrons, Robert Bertie and Samuel Saltonstall. Above are the three little ships in which the pioneers crossed the Atlantic.