In the last month of the year 1606, the party—in all, one hundred and five men—set sail in a little fleet of three vessels commanded by Captain Newport.
On the 23d of May, 1607, after a weary and distressing voyage, the Virginia colonists landed. They commenced the settlement of Jamestown. When the king’s sealed instructions were opened, and the names of the seven directors were made known, it was found that John Smith was to be one of the seven. Through the jealousy of Wingfield, who was chosen president, he was not allowed to take his place in the council.
But this did not prevent his being the ablest man among them, and the colonists were soon glad to turn to him for guidance. For now their condition was most deplorable. They were surrounded by hostile Indians; the provisions they had brought from England were soon consumed; and the diseases caused by the hot, moist climate in a short time reduced their number by one-half.
Besides, the colonists were a troublesome class to deal with. Many of them were broken-down “gentlemen,” who despised hard work. A very few were farmers or mechanics or persons fitted for the life they sought.
Day by day Smith made his influence more and more felt. He soon became the head of the colony. He put in force the good old rule that he who would not work should not eat.
Many strange adventures are told about John Smith during the two years he remained in Virginia. He left the colony in the autumn of 1609 on account of a severe wound which he received, and which obliged him to return to England to be cured.
The colonists, having lost the guidance of this resourceful man, were soon reduced to great want; still they held out and later on became a flourishing colony.
THOMAS A. EDISON
One of the greatest inventors of the age is Thomas A. Edison, and his whole life is an interesting story for young people. His mother had been a teacher, and her greatest wish for her son was that he should love knowledge and grow up to be a good and useful man.
When Edison was only twelve years of age, he secured a position as train boy on the Grand Trunk Railroad in one of the western states. He went through the train and sold apples, peanuts, papers, and books. He had such a pleasant face that everybody liked to buy his wares. He traded some of his papers for things with which to try experiments. He then fitted out an old baggage car as a little room in which he began his first efforts in the way of inventions.
One of the things he did while working as a train boy was to print a paper on the train. The “London Times” spoke of it as the only paper in the world published on a train. It was named the “Grand Trunk Herald.”
Young Edison worked as a train boy for four years, and he had in that time saved two thousand dollars, which he gave to his parents.