Subject: English Prose II
Idea of Captain John Smith:
His books and maps may have been as important as his deeds, as they encouraged more Englishmen and women to follow the trail he had blazed and to colonize the New World. He gave the name New England to that region, and encouraged people with the comment, "Here every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land...If he have nothing but his hands, he may...by industrie quickly grow rich."
In Smith’s publication, A Description of New England (1616), he goes so far as to compare the colonists to Adam and Eve; just as Adam and Eve spread productivity throughout the world, the colonists created life in the Virginia colony. Smith essentially sympathized with gentlemen; he knew it was not their fault they were useless and that this trait was merely a product of the imposed standards of English society. He recognized that “they were imprisoned by their own self-imposed limitations. What they could and could not do was decided by their awareness of traditional roles and by the shame that they would feel if others saw them engaged in physical work.” Lemay speculates that as a result of Smith’s strict rules and the emigration to America, these men could shed these roles and create new lives for themselves in which they could celebrate the products of their labors and not feel humiliated.
One of John Smith’s main incentives in writing about his New World experiences and observances was to promote the colonization of The New World by England. Many promotional writers sugar-coated their depictions of America in order to heighten its appeal, but Smith was not one to exaggerate the facts. He was very straightforward with his readers about both the dangers and the possibilities of colonization: instead of proclaiming that there was an abundance of gold in the New World—as many writers did—Smith illustrated that what was truly...