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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



6
L385Wash'nSt.Boston




FOURTH IMPRESSION



The American Trail Blazers

"THE STORY GRIPS AND THE HISTORY STICKS"

These books present in the form of vivid and fascinating
fiction, the early and adventurous phases of American
history. Each volume deals with the life and adventures
of one of the great men who made that history, or with
some one great event in which, perhaps, several heroic
characters were involved. The stories, though based upon
accurate historical fact, are rich in color, full of dramatic
action, and appeal to the imagination of the red-blooded
man or boy.

Each volume illustrated in color and black and white
1 2 mo. Cloth.

LOST WITH LIEUTENANT PIKE

GENERAL CROOK AND THE FIGHTING
APACHES

OPENING THE WEST WITH LEWIS AND
CLARK

WITH CARSON AND FREMONT
DANIEL BOONE: BACKWOODSMAN

BUFFALO BILL AND THE OVERLAND
TRAIL

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH
DAVID CROCKETT: SCOUT
ON THE PLAINS WITH CUSTER
GOLD SEEKERS OF '49
WITH SAM HOUSTON IN TEXAS




THE TERRIFIED FRENCHMAN DROPPED HIS SWORD AND FELL UPON

HIS KNEES Page 77



CAPTAIN
JOHN SMITH



BY

C. H. FORBES- LINDSAY

AUTHOR OF "INDIA: PAST AND PRESENT," "AMERICA'S INSULAR
POSSESSIONS," "DANIEL BOONE, BACKWOODSMAN," ETC.



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR BY

HARRY B. LACHMAN




PHILADELPHIA & LONDON

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY ... 23

II LONDON TOWN IN SHAKESPEARE'S DAY 36

III THE SOLDIER APPRENTICE 48

IV DUPED AND ROBBED 60

V A DUEL WITH A DASTARD 72

VI DARKNESS AND DAWN 83

VII SOME STRATAGEMS 95

VIII THE DIN OF BATTLE 107

IX GUERILLA TACTICS 119

X THE THREE TURKS 130

XI BRAVE HEARTS AND TRUE 144

XII SLAVERY AND A SEA-FIGHT 155

in XIII A BAD BEGINNING 171

g XIV POWHATAN AND HlS PEOPLE 1 82

XV TREASON AND TREACHERY 193

XVI CAPTIVE TO THE INDIANS 204

<$ XVII POCAHONTAS TO THE RESCUE 215

XVIII FIRE AND STARVATION 226

XIX A TURN IN THE TIDE 238

XX DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND 250

XXI SOME AMBUSCADES 262

XXII A CURIOUS COMBAT 274

XXIII A HUMBLED CHIEFTAIN 285

XXIV A DISMAL TALE 296



4^- ,



FOREWORD

THE history of the world furnishes few lives so
romantic and replete with stirring incident as that
of John Smith, the founder of the first English
colony in America that settlement at Jamestown
in Virginia, of which the United States of today
is the outgrowth.

John Smith began life in the year 1580, in the
glorious reign of Good Queen Bess. It was a world
of turmoil into which our hero came, but a most
fitting field for so adventurous a spirit. In France,
the gallant Henry of Navarre was fighting for a
kingdom and his faith against the Catholic League.
In the Low Countries, the sturdy Dutchmen, under
Maurice of Orange, were defending their homes
from the invasion of the arrogant and bigoted
Spaniard, who deemed it his duty to punish every
Protestant people. In the east of Europe, the
Ottomans Asiatics from Turkestan and other
countries maintained an incessant and savage
warfare against the subjects of the Emperor of
Germany.

There was but one peaceful spot in all Christen
dom, and that the " right little, tight little island "
of our forefathers. There were, however, thousands
of Englishmen who, like John Smith, had no

9



FOREWORD

stomach for a life of ease and they were to be found
in every army on the continent, fighting for gain or
religion, and often for sheer love of the life of action.
Moreover Cabot, the first on the coast of America,
had started that movement which was to create the
greatest colonial empire in the history of the world,
and Raleigh had already made his first futile attempt
to settle Virginia, where John Smith was destined
to play a master part.

On the seas, vessels of each nation preyed upon
those of every other, for a tacit condition of enmity
prevailed among them regardless of the status of
their several countries. Navies were composed
mainly of the merchant marine, for every ocean
going ship carried cannon and small arms. Com
monly their captains were furnished with letters of
marque, commissions issued by their sovereigns
authorizing the holders to attack the sails of other
countries hostile to their own and to take prizes
and prisoners. The possession of letters of marque
saved a captain and his crew from the disgrace and
the penalty of piracy, but it was often no more than
a cloak for the practice. Two ships flying different
flags hardly ever met, but the stronger attacked the
other and, if victorious, plundered her, and that
without any consideration for the friendly relations
that might at the time exist between their respective
countries. The age of the robber barons had passed
away, to be succeeded by a somewhat less immoral

10



FOREWORD

state of society in which the powerful refrained from
preying upon their countrymen but recognized no
law of justice in dealing with foreigners. Judged
by our standards, Dampier and Drake were pirates ;
Pizzaro and Cortes, bandits.

Smith, with a less acute sense of honor and a
lower regard for right, might have amassed a ready
fortune in the days when such qualities as his
ensured wealth to the unscrupulous adventurers on
land and sea, whose predatory careers were coun
tenanced and abetted by monarchs and men in high
places. In his latter years, when embittered by his
failure to secure money for legitimate exploration,
he writes :* " Had I set myself to persuade men
that I knew of a mine of gold, as I know many
to have done in sheer deception ; or had I advanced
some wild scheme for a passage to the South Sea;
or some plot to loot a foreign monastery; or the
equipment of a fleet to make prizes of rich East
Indiamen; or letters of marque to rob some poor
merchant or honest fisherman, multitudes with their
money would have contended to be first employed."

Queen Elizabeth, the wisest and the most humane
sovereign of her time, had ample excuse for the

* Here, and in a few instances in the following pages, I
have made slight changes in the wording, without affecting
the meaning, of Smith's expressions. Although he is a very
clear writer, the English of Shakespeare's time is not always
readily understandable by us. C. H. F-L.

II



FOREWORD

license which she extended to her sea captains in the
matter of attacking the Spanish possessions and
ships. It was a measure of self-defence, designed
for the protection of the liberties and religion of her
subjects against the aggressive power of Spain,
which, after the discovery of America, bid fair,
unless checked, to make her the mistress of the
world. Smith was in his ninth year when our daunt
less ancestors, by shattering the great Armada,
scotched the pride of Philip and halted his ambition.
This was of all naval battles, perhaps, the most
momentous to the Anglo-Saxon race and certainly
of vital consequence to America, for had Philip's
fleet gained a victory on that occasion, we, as a
nation, had never been. It is more than probable
that the old religion would have been re-established
in England, with a stop to the march of liberty and
independence, and certain that Spain would have
found no obstacle to the acquisition of the entire
American continent. The immediate effect of Eng
land's victory was to set her on the highway to the
naval supremacy of the world, and the generation
to which John Smith belonged maintained a constant
struggle for the command of the seas. Later gen
erations of Englishmen carried on the contest with
Holland and afterwards with France.

We have seen that John Smith lived in a period
of the world that afforded the adventurer ample
and varied scope for the exercise of talents and

12



FOREWORD

energy, but in any other age than his own a man
of Smith's extraordinary parts must have taken
a prominent place among his contemporaries. In
the period following the decline of the Roman
power, when the nations of Europe were in the for
mative stage, such a man would surely have been one
of the great dukes (duces), or leaders who founded
dynasties of kings. At the present day he might
be an explorer, a captain of industry, or a states
man for Smith had the qualities that ensure success
in any walk of life.

It is a wonderful and inspiring story, that of the
stripling who, without money or friends, boldly left
his native land and, abandoning himself to the chance
currents of a strange world, at the age when the
modern schoolboy is seeking distinction on the foot
ball field, was learning the art of arms in the practi
cal school of war. Dame Fortune surely smiled
upon the errant boy and, whilst she led him into
constant adventure and danger, as frequently saw
him safely out of them.

During his checkered career as a soldier of fortune
his lot is often cast in hard places and his life is
constantly endangered. He is shipwrecked and nar
rowly escapes drowning. Robbed and landed upon
a foreign shore with empty purse, he is forced to
sell his cloak in order to meet his needs. Like Jonah
of old, he is thrown overboard by a superstitious
crew, but contrives to swim to an uninhabited island.

13



FOREWORD

He is sorely wounded in battle and captured by the
Turks, who sell him into slavery.

The life was always arduous, for in those days
mere travel was beset by dangers and difficulty, but
as we follow the lad in his adventures we are cheered
by many a bright spot and many a fine success.
For John Smith was never the kind to be depressed
or defeated by adversity. Indeed, he reminds one
of those toys, called " bottle imps," that may be
rolled over in any direction but cannot be made to
lie down. Hardly has he met with a reverse than
he sets about repairing it and always with success.
To-day he is cold, hungry, and half clad, his purse
as flat as a flounder, but soon afterwards we see
him going gayly on his way with a pocket full of
sequins, his share in a prize which he had helped
to capture. He wins his spurs in the Low Countries
and in the war against the Turks is granted a coat
of arms for the exploit of defeating three of the
enemy's champions in single combat. His military
services earn for him the title of captain and the
command of a regiment of horse.

All these things, and many more equally remark
able, befall John Smith before he has reached the
age of twenty-four. He has now spent eight years
abroad, except for a brief return to England, and
all this time he is fighting on land and at sea, or
roaming through foreign countries in search of
experience and adventure. Keenly observant al-

14



FOREWORD

ways, he extracts from each occasion as the bee
gathers honey from every flower some knowledge
to be turned to useful account in later life.

Smith has no other purpose during this early
period of his life than to learn what he can of the
world and the practice of arms in short to qualify
himself for a life of action in an age when brawn
is no less essential to success than brain. It is a
stern school in which he acquires his training but an
effective one, and he makes the most of his oppor
tunities. We see. the expansion of his mind keeping
pace with the development of his muscle, until the
Captain John Smith who joins the colonists bound
for Virginia appears as a man of perfect physique
and mature judgment. It is not improbable that the
hardships and exposure of his life may have sown
the seeds of disease but, if so, he has not contributed
to such a condition by his habits. In that day the
soldiers of all nations were addicted to brawling,
drinking, pillaging, and gambling. But these prac
tices had no attraction for Smith. His sword never
lagged in the scabbard on good occasion for its use,
but he was no swashbuckler seeking unnecessary
trouble; he drank wine sparingly but found no
pleasure in gluttony ; he paid for what he took, even
in an enemy's country and counted it a disgrace
to rob a defenceless man; in the matter of money,
as in everything else, he was the most generous
of mortals and had rather hand a man his purse

15



FOREWORD

than to win that of the other by dicing. Withal he
did not set himself up to be better than his fellows
and we have the testimony of two of his countrymen,
who followed him through the wars in Transylvania,
that he was respected and beloved by his comrades
and the soldiers under his command.

Hitherto Smith has been associated with men
whose experience was greater than his own. They
have been his masters, both in the sense of teachers
and commanders. As a subordinate he has per
formed his duties so well as to call forth the praise
and admiration of his superiors. Now we find him
going out to a land which is equally strange to him
and to his companions. No man of them enjoys
the advantage of knowing more than the others
about those distant parts and their people. Rank
and money will count for little in the new life. Each
man's worth will be measured by his character and
his actions. Under such conditions, a man of
Smith's extraordinary ability must sooner or later
become the leader, even among others much older
than himself.

The foundation of Virginia and, as I have said,
that of the United States was laid by Captain John
Smith in spite of tremendous difficulties. Some of
these were such as would naturally attend the settle
ment of a strange land among hostile inhabitants,
but it is not too much to say that the greater part
of them were due to the incompetence of the colo-

16



FOREWORD

nists and their constant quarrels among themselves.
More than once they brought affairs to such a pass
that nothing but the prompt and energetic action
of Smith saved the colony from total destruction.

These differences broke out before they had
reached the shores of America, and we see Captain
John Smith landed in chains, a prisoner under absurd
charges trumped up by pettifoggers who are envious
of his evident fitness for command and accuse him
of a design to usurp it. They scheme to send him
back to England, but at the very outset they learn
that they cannot dispense with the services of this,
the ablest man among them. It is he who shows
them how to fortify the settlement. He repels the
attacks of the Indians. He and he only, dares lead
exploring expeditions into unknown regions. Cap
tured by the most powerful chief of that part of the
country, Smith converts him into an ally. He makes
treaties with the surrounding tribes and secures
their friendship for the settlers. Time and again,
when improvidence has brought famine upon the
colonists, he saves them from starvation by pro
curing supplies at the risk of his life. In short he
continually preserves this mixed company of mal
contents and incompetents from the worst conse
quences of their folly and controls them with the
firmness and tact of a master. In his dealings with
the Indians, he carefully avoids unnecessary blood
shed or harshness, frequently sacrificing prudence
2 17



FOREWORD

at the dictate of humanity. Yet he gained the
respect of the savages by his courage, steadfastness,
honesty and when occasion demanded by the
weight of his strong arm, for Captain John Smith
was no less stern than just.

In the days when news traveled slowly and was
often delivered by word of mouth, the truth of dis
tant events was hard to ascertain, and great men
were frequently the victims of malice and envy.
Smith, like many another, failed to receive at the
hands of his countrymen the honor and recognition
which he deserved. They had been misled by ex
travagant fables of the wealth of America and were
disappointed that Smith did not send home cargoes
of gold, spices, and other things which the country
did not produce. False tales of his tyranny over the
colonists and his cruelty to the savages had preceded
his return to England, and he found himself in dis
favor. He made two voyages to New England, as
he called the region which still bears that name, but
little came of them. This was mainly on account
of the determination of the promoters to search for
gold lodes where none existed. Smith with rare
foresight strove to persuade his contemporaries that
they had better develop commerce in the products of
the sea and the field. Few would listen to him,
however, whilst the rich argosies of Spain, freighted
with ore from South America, inflamed their minds
with visions of similar treasures in the north. The

18



FOREWORD

spirit of speculation had taken possession of the
country. Smith could obtain money for none but
wild or dishonest ventures and in such he would
not engage. His generous soul disdained the pur
suit of mere wealth, and we see him, after having
" lived near thirty-seven years in the midst of wars,
pestilence, and famine, by which many a hundred
thousand died " about him, passing his last days in
the comparative poverty which had been his condi
tion through life. Captain John Smith had not yet
reached the prime of life indeed, he was hardly
more than forty years of age when he was com
pelled to retire from active life. Despairing of
honorable employment, he settled down to write
the many books that issued from his pen. It would
be difficult to surmise what valuable services he
might, with better opportunity, have performed for
his country, during this last decade of his life. The
time was well spent, however, that he occupied in
the composition of his life and historical works. He
is a clear and terse writer. We are seldom at a loss
to fully understand him, and the only complaint that
we feel disposed to make against Captain John Smith
as a writer is that he too often fails to give an
account of his own part in the stirring events which
he records. In fact he combined with the modesty
usually associated with true greatness, the self-
confidence of the man whose ultimate reliance is
upon an all-powerful Providence. " If you but

10



FOREWORD

truly consider," he writes in the history of Virginia,
"how many strange accidents have befallen these
plantations and myself, you cannot but conceive
God's infinite mercy both to them and to me . . .
Though I have but my labor for my pains, have
I not much reason publicly and privately to acknowl
edge it and to give good thanks ? "

Few men have compassed in fifty years of life
so much of noble action and inspiring example as
did John Smith. He died, as he had lived, a God
fearing, honorable gentleman, rich in the conscious
ness of a life well spent and in the respect of all
who knew him. He was a connecting link between
the old world and the new, and we, no less than
England, should keep his memory green.



THE SOLDIER OF
FORTUNE



John Smith

Gentleman Adventurer
i.

WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY



JACK SMITH is INTRODUCED TO THE READER HE TAKES PART

IN THE REJOICING AT THE DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA
HlS RELATIONS TO THE SONS OF LORD WlLLOUGHBY HE
RUNS AWAY FROM SCHOOL AND SELLS HIS BOOKS AND
SATCHEL HE IS STARTING FOR LONDON WHEN HIS FATHER
DIES HE IS APPRENTICED TO A MERCHANT AND SHIPOWNER
HE TIRES OF LIFE AT THE DESK AND DESERTS THE COUNT
ING-HOUSE HlS GUARDIAN CONSENTS TO HIS GOING INTO
THE WORLD AND FURNISHES HIM WITH TEN SHILLINGS
JACK TAKES THE ROAD TO LONDON WITH A BUNDLE ON HIS
BACK HE MEETS PEREGRINE WlLLOUGHBY.

IT was the day following that memorable Mon
day in August, 1588, when the English fleet scat
tered the galleons and galleasses of Spain and Por
tugal and chased them into the North Sea. The
bells were pealing from every steeple and church
tower in Merry England, whilst beacon fires flashed
their happy tidings along the chain of hill-tops from
Land's End to John O'Groats. The country was

23



THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE

wild with joy at the glorious victory over the Great
Armada, and well it might be, for never was a fight
more gallant nor a cause more just. It was night
and long past the hour when the honest citizens
of Good Queen Bess's realm were wont to seek
their couches and well-earned repose, but this night
excitement ran too high to admit of the thought of
sleep.

In the little village of Willoughby, Master Gard
ner, portly and red- faced, was prepared to keep the
D'Eresby Arms open until daylight despite law and
custom. The villagers who passed up and down the
one street of the hamlet exchanging greetings and
congratulations had more than a patriotic interest in
the great event, for at least half of them had sons
or brothers amongst the sturdy souls who had
flocked from every shire and town to their country's
defence at the first call for help.

Beside the fountain in the market place, interested
spectators of the scene, stood a lusty lad and an
elderly man, bowed by broken health.

" The Lord be praised that He hath let me live
to see this glorious day," said the man, reverently
and with a tremor in his voice. " Our England hath
trounced the proud Don, my son. I' faith! 'tis
scarce to be believed that our little cockle-shells
should overmatch their great vessels of war. Thank
the Lord, lad, that thou wast born in a land that
breeds men as staunch as the stuff from which their

24



WHERE THERE'S A WILL

ships are fashioned. If one who served with some
distinction if I say it under the great Sir Francis,
might hazard a prediction, I would say that the sun
of England hath risen over the seas never to set."

"Would I had been there, Sir!" cried the boy
with eyes aglow.

" Thou, manikin ! " replied his father smiling,
as he patted the bare head. " Thou ! But it glad
dens my heart that a Smith of Willoughby fought
with Drake on the Revenge in yester battle and I'll
warrant that my brother William demeaned himself
as becomes one of our line."

" And thus will I one day," said the lad earnestly.

" Nay, nay child ! " quickly rejoined the man.
" Harbor not such wild designs John, for thou art
cast for a farmer. Thou must train thy hand to
the plow and so dismiss from thy mind all thought
of the sea. Come, let us return. Thy mother will
be aweary waiting."

Perhaps it is not strange that Master George
Smith, who had followed the sea in his younger
days, should have sought to dissuade his son from
thought of a similar course. The career of adven
ture had not resulted in any improvement of the
father's fortune. On the contrary, he had finally
returned home with empty pockets and wrecked
health to find the farm run down and the mother
whom he had loved most dearly, dead. Now, feel
ing that but few more years of life remained to

25



THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE

him, it was his aim to improve the property and
his hope that John would grow up to be a thrifty
farmer and take care of his mother and the younger
children.

Master George Smith came of a family of armi-
gers, or gentlemen, and was accounted a well-to-do
farmer in those parts. His holding lay within the
estate of the Baron Willoughby, the Lord of the
Manor, and he held his lands in perpetuity on what
was called a quit rent. This may have consisted
of the yearly payment of a few shillings, a firkin
of butter, or a flitch of bacon any trifle in short
which would suffice to indicate the farmer's acknowl
edgment of the Baron as his overlord.

In the earlier feudal period, lands were granted
in consideration of military service. The nobleman
received his broad acres from the king upon con
dition of bringing a certain number of armed re
tainers into the field whenever summoned. The
lord, in order to have the necessary retainers always
at command, divided up his domain into small hold
ings amongst men who pledged themselves to join
his banner when called upon. As a reminder of his
obligation, each retainer was required to make some
slight payment to his lord every year, and this was
deemed an acquittance of rent. In the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, feudal tenure that is the holding
of lands in consideration of military service had
ceased to exist, but the custom of paying quit rent

26



WHERE THERE'S A WILL

continued and it is observed in many parts of Eng
land to this day.

Master Smith sent his son to the grammar school
in the neighboring village of Alford. It was per
haps one of the many schools of the kind founded
by the wise young king, Edward the Sixth, for the
benefit of the great mass of his subjects who could
not afford to have their sons educated at the more
expensive colleges. John was an apt scholar and
made good progress, but even in early boyhood his
mind was, as he tells us, " set upon brave adven
ture." And so, although he applied himself dili
gently to learning' whilst at school, he was impatient
to cut loose from his books and go into the world of


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Online LibraryCharles Harcourt Ainslie Forbes-LindsayCaptain John Smith; → online text (page 1 of 17)