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cene Five
    1613-14 PANEL

Sitting at the dining table of Captain William Parker’s house in St Andrew’s Street in Plymouth (the house on 1605 panel), Smith recounts to Parker and Gorges the details of his and Hunt’s successful and profitable voyage. He tells how they built seven small boats (the custom is to take such small craft out in sections on board) and whilst thirty-seven of their crewmen were employed catching 47,000 fish, he, Smith, went off in one of the boats, explored, made his map and bartered with the natives for hundreds of furs and skins (top scene). All the furs, oil and some fish that are in the hold of his ship that lies in Sutton Harbour now was bartered for a few trifles. It will fetch a small fortune in England when sold to merchants such as Plymouth’s Mayor John Scobel (named in Scene One), whilst the salted fish aboard Hunt’s vessel is on its way to be sold in Spain.

Gorges and Parker are duly impressed with Smith’s colourful account and see in him the possible saviour of the almost defunct Plymouth Adventurers Company, particularly in view of his energetic explorations of the region and his cartography. So they persuade the other Company members to make him ‘Admiral of New England’, which should lead to repeated expeditions to Virginia and a fairly generous income. The first venture will be next year.

Leaving Plymouth, Smith’s next destination is London, where news of his recent success prompts the city merchants to try to overbid Plymouth with four good ships before Plymouth’s are ready. “I find so many promise me such assistance.”  However, as a matter of honour, Smith, to his credit, remains loyal to the West Country backers.

Smith also knows where his bread is best buttered – at Court, so, being smart, he takes his map of Virginia to the King’s palace of Whitehall for young fourteen-year old Prince Charles to change the Indian names into English ones ‘so posteritie might say Prince Charles was their God Father.’  Thus we have Cape Charles, Cape Henry, Cape Ann and, to honour the map maker, Smith’s Isles.



SLOE  Prunus sylvestris. ‘ The juice of Sloes doth stop the belly, the lask and bloody flix’ Gerard

SOW THISTLE  Sonchus oleraceus. ‘ Given in broth taketh away the gnawings of the stomacke proceeding of a hot cause.’ Gerard

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