Yet the joy in Virginia
on their arrival
was of short continuance; for the new comers were chiefly vagabond gentlemen and goldsmiths, who, in spite of the remonstrances of Smith
, gave a wrong direction to the industry of the colony.
They believed they had discovered grains of gold in a glittering earth which abounded near Jamestown
; and ‘there was now no talk, no hope, no work, but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold.’
The refiners were enamored of their skill; Martin
, one of the council, promised himself honors in England
as the discoverer of a mine; and Newport
, having made an unnecessary stay of fourteen weeks, and having, in defiance of the assurances of Powhatan, expected to find the Pacific
just beyond the falls in James River
, believed himself immeasurably rich, as he embarked for England
with a freight of worthless earth.1
Disgusted at the follies which he had vainly opposed, Smith
undertook the perilous and honorable office of exploring the vast Bay of the Chesapeake
, and the numerous rivers which are its tributaries.
Two voyages, made in an open boat, with a few companions, over whom his superior courage, rather than his station as a magistrate, gave him authority, occupied him about three months of the summer, and embraced a navigation of nearly three thousand miles.2
The slenderness of his means has been contrasted with the dignity and utility of his discoveries, and his name has been placed in the highest rank with the distinguished men who have enlarged the bounds of geographical knowledge, and opened the way by their investigations for colonies and commerce.
He surveyed the Bay
of the Chesapeake
to the Susquehannah
, and left only the