Saturday, April 9, 2016

Smith vs. Smythe, London, 1610

John Smith’s interview in London, continued:

Ah, Captain Smith! How are you?” Sir Thomas strode into the hall, his wine-colored velvet robe sweeping behind him.
“Not so well as I’d like, or as I’d hoped to be by now,” Smith said. He planned to proceed cautiously, not knowing what conflicting reports had reached the man who stood smiling before him. Thomas Smythe, treasurer of the Virginia Company, member of the Haberdashers’ and Skinners’ Companies, the Levant Company, and at one time governor of the Muscovy Company, was also a member of one of the richest merchant families in all of England. His elegant house in Philpot Lane, not far from the tall spires of the Church of St. Margaret’s Pattens, had become the headquarters of the Virginia Company. It was here that the Company’s broadsides instructed all interested “workmen of whatever craft they may be, blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, shipwrights, turners and such as know how to plant vineyards, hunters, fishermen, and all who work in any kind of metal, men who make bricks, architects, bak- ers, weavers, shoemakers, sawyers and those who spin wool and all others, men as well as women, who have any occupation, who wish to go out” to Virginia, to come and have their names entered on the list and receive in- structions about their work for the Company and their eventual share in the division of land. Those who did not wish to go to Virginia themselves could buy a share of the joint-stock issue for twelve pounds sterling. Then, as the Virginia Company fervently hoped, the new colony’s future earnings would provide them all with handsome profits.
“Come into the library,” Sir Thomas said. When he and Smith were inside, he closed the large double doors carefully and turned the brass lock. “Now,” he said, “we can talk undisturbed—and not be overheard. I have read your letter, but I want to hear what happened in your own words.”

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