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Q U I C K   L I N K S

To learn more about the engraver of the 17th-century head-piece pictured to the left, see the IN BRIEF biography for Wenceslaus Hollar.

A hostile biography of Captain John Smith, by the 19th-century historian Alexander Brown — a “lamentable failure” as an historian, according to Philip Barbour (The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith, 422n1), largely because of “his personal antagonism to John Smith” — is in She-philosopher.​com’s IN BRIEF section.
  Brown never bought Smith’s warrior brand: “compiling a romance, with himself as his hero.” (Brown, The Genesis of the United States, 2 vols., 1890, 2.1009)

There is additional discussion of Capt. John Smith’s captivity narratives in the Gallery Exhibit, The “Zuñiga Chart” of Virginia.

For more on Smith’s Generall Historie (1624), and competing narratives promoting Anglo-American colonization later in the century, see the editor’s introduction to the digital reissue (2014) of Thomas Tryon’s The Planter’s Speech to his Neighbours & Country-Men of Pennsylvania, East & West-Jersey ... (1684) at the subdomain known as Roses.

The original colony of Virginia extended from 34 to 44 degrees North latitude, and “was divided into two parts; namely, the first Colony and the second: the first was to the honourable City of London, and such as would adventure with them to discover and take their choice where they would, betwixt the degress of 34. and 41. The second was appropriated to the Cities of Bristol, Exeter and Plimouth, &c. and the West parts of England, and all those that would adventure and joine with them, and they might make their choise any where betwixt the degrees of 38. and 44. provided there should bee at least 100. miles distance betwixt these 2. Colonies, each of which had lawes, privileges and authoritie, for the government and advancing their severall Plantations alike” (Captain John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, & the Summer Isles, 1624, 203), as set forth in the Letters Patents granted by James I in 1606.
  Following his troubled tenure in the first (or “old”) Virginia colony established at Jamestown — and well aware that “ill rumors and disasters” relating to “the living abuses of Virginia and the Summer Iles” were all too “fresh” in the memories of investors, officials, policy-makers, and potential emigrants alike — Smith became an avid promoter of the second (“new”) part of the British territorial claim, to the north of present-day Virginia/Maryland, in the area that “lyeth betwixt 41. and 44½ [degrees] ... in which I [Smith] have sounded about five and twenty very good Harbors” — that is, as described in his famous map of New England, the area from Cape Cod in southeastern Massachusetts to Penobscot Bay in south central Maine.
  This skipped the area around present-day New Jersey and New York — then under the de facto control of the Dutch — over which the British would not assert their rights, in person, until later in the century.
  One of the earliest narratives promoting this mid-Atlantic region, neglected by Smith, was Daniel Denton’s A Brief Description of New-York: Formerly Called New-Netherlands (1670). Cf. Denton’s evocative description of “this unregarded Countrey” (J. Smith, 205) in the second-window aside, entitled The Fragrant Coastline of Seventeenth-Century New Jersey and New York.

Further discussion of English 17th-century printed accounts of Islamic peoples is in the IN BRIEF topic, Arguments for and against learned women at the close of the 17th century.

For a comparison of 17th-century styles relating to warrior self-fashioning, see our IN BRIEF biography of another seminal figure in the founding of Virginia, Sir Walter Ralegh. Ralegh’s skill at self-presentation, both in verbal and visual genres, was legendary.
  Both men were pictured among the select list of “Englands Famous Discoverers” on the title-plate for John Seller’s 3 English waggoners, published in the final 3 decades of the century.

For a noblewoman’s take on 17th-century personal brands, see the IN BRIEF topic on the politics of naming Margaret Cavendish, alternately known as “Mad Madge” and “the Thrice Noble, Illustrious and Excellent Princess, Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle.”

A bibliography of suggested readings pertaining to study of 17th-century heraldry is in the She-philosopher.​com REFERENCES section.

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First Published:  August 2014
Revised (substantive):  19 February 2019


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^ 17th-century head-piece, showing six boys with farm tools, engraved by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677).

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