Days of the Discoverers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about Days of the Discoverers.
On a rocky island four leagues from shore, in latitude 431/2, he made a garden in May which gave them all salad vegetables through June and July.  Not a man of the twenty-five was ill even for a day.  Cod, they learned, were abundant from March to the middle of June, and again from September to November, for cor-fish—­salt fish or Poor John.  The Indians said that the herring were more than the hairs of the head.  Sturgeon, mullet, salmon, halibut and other fish were plentiful.  Smith had a vision of comfortable independent mariners settled on farms all along the coast, sending their fish to market the year round, and sleeping every night at home.  It seemed to him that here, in a hardy thrifty province which gold-seekers and gentlemen adventurers might scorn, he could contentedly end his days.

There was a pleasant inlet on the coast of a bold headland, north of Cape Cod, which he thought would be his choice for his plantation.  This headland he had named Cape Tragabigzanda.  There were three small round islands to be seen far to seaward, which he called the Three Turks’ Heads.  One Sunday, “a faire sunshining day,” he climbed a green height above Anusquam, and sitting on a huge boulder surveyed the bright and peaceful landscape and chose the site for his house.  Good stone there would be in abundance, and mighty timbers that had been growing for him since the days of Noah.  In this Province of New England a strong and fearless race would found new towns with the old names—­Boston, Plymouth, Ipswich, Sandwich, Gloucester.  So he dreamed until the sun went down under a canopy of crimson and gold, while the boat rocked in the little bay where he would have his wharf.

In 1619, when English Puritans began preparations for the founding of a new colony, he offered his services, but the older men would have none of him.  He was a “Church of England Protestant” and one of the unregenerate with whom they had no fellowship.  They took his map as a guide, and settled, not on Cape Tragabigzanda, which Prince Charles had re-named Cape Anne, but in the bay which he had called Plymouth.  He spent some years in London writing an account of his adventures, and died in 1631 at the age of fifty-two—­Captain John Smith, Admiral of New England.


The account of Captain John Smith’s adventures among the Turks was at one time considered apocryphal, but good authorities now see no reason to regard his narrative of his own career as in any way inaccurate.  The perils and strange chances which an adventurous man encountered in such times often seem almost incredible in a more peaceful age, but there is really no more reason to doubt them than to discredit authentic accounts of men like Daniel Boone, Francis Drake, or other men of similar disposition.


    Through tangled mysteries of old romance
      Knights, Latin, Celt or Saxon, pass a-dream,
    Seeking the minarets of magic towers
      Through the witched woods that gleam.

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Days of the Discoverers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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