John Smith, like many other Englishmen who came to Jamestown in 1607, nearly died there. Critically wounded in the mysterious gunpowder accident in 1609, he had little choice but to return to England.
Where he stayed, and what he did then, remain mysteries with few clues.
· After his return to England, Smith put together his book, A Map of Virginia, which was published in 1612 and dedicated “To the right honorable Sir Edward Semer Knight, Baron Beauchamp, and Earle of Hartford.”
· The dedication is in two surviving copies of Smith’s historic book. One of the copies, now in the New York Public Library, belonged to Edward Seymour.
· In the dedication, Smith writes: “It is the best gift I can give to the best friend I have. l . . In the harbour of your Lordships favour, I hope I ever shall rest secure . . . .
Did Smith, recovering from his wound, and writing his book, stay with Seymour from 1609 to 1612--and after?
· One of Seymour’s properties was Hertford House, a London town house on Cannon Row in Westminster.
Edward Seymour was a nephew of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII
The earl’s wife was Frances Howard, a great beauty. She was 34 years old in 1612. John Smith was 32.
Frances’s husband was 39 years older than she. He was 73 in 1612.
Pity that Frances did not keep a diary.