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 a colony he wished to plant there. A large expedition was promised, and he received the title “Admirall of New England” ; but nothing came of his hopes save the title, which he invariably attached to his name thereafter. It was evidently by accident that Smith became a historian. In the spring of 1608 Wingfield, one of his opponents at Jamestown, a cousin by marriage to the Earl of Southampton, departed for England, his mind full of his wrongs. Two months later another ship departed, carrying a long letter from Smith to his friends filled with a hopeful account of the colony. This letter was handed about among the members of the Company and late in the year came into the hands of one who had it published with the title, A true relation of such Occurrences and accidents of Noate as Hath Hapned in Virginia since the first planting of that Collony. A preface explained: “Somewhat more was by him written, which being as I thought (fit to be private) I would not adventure to make it publicke.” The True relation is the first printed American book, and of all Smith's writings it is the one which posterity most esteems. It is not boastful, or controversial, although it is very personal. The style is direct, vivid, and generally simple. It was well received, and seems to have awakened literary ambitions in its author. Smith's second effort was made in 1612, when he published A map of Virginia. With a description of the Countrey. It contained a good map of the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, and an account of the natural history of Virginia, together with supplementary chapters on events in the colony from June, 1608, to the end of 1609. These accounts were written by some of his friends and are in his praise. Smith calls them “examinations” and had them taken down while their authors were in London. They were evidently prepared to revive his waning fortunes. In 1616, after his return from New England, he published A description of New England, and in 1620 New Englands Trials, a tract on the fisheries. The Trials was brought down to date in 1622, and an account of the colony at Plymouth was included in it. Smith was now a confirmed hack writer. Possibly he had Purchas and Hakluyt in mind when in 1624 he gave to the world a book containing all that he knew about Virginia. It
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