Chapter 2: the first colonial literature
The simplest and oldest group of colonial writings is made up of records of exploration and adventure.
They are like the letters written from California
in 1849 to the “folks back East.”
Addressed to home-keeping Englishmen across the sea, they describe the new world, explain the present situation of the colonists, and express their hopes for the future.
Captain John Smith
's True Relation
, already alluded to, is the typical production of this class: a swift marching book, full of eager energy, of bluff and breezy picturesqueness, and of triumphant instinct for the main chance.
Like most of the Elizabethans, he cannot help poetizing in his prose.
Cod-fishing is to him a “sport” ; “and what sport doth yeald a more pleasing content, and lesse hurt or charge then angling with a hooke, and crossing the sweete ayre from Isle to Isle.
over the silent streams of a calme Sea?”