Dating William STRACHEY’S ‘A TRUE REPORTORY OF THE WRACKE AND REDEMPTION OF SIR THOMAS GATES’:
A comparative textual study
In their article published in the September 2007, Review of English Studies, Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky claim that a letter written by William Strachey drew on several sources published after its putative composition date of 15 July 1610, and was completed at least 2 years later, too late to be used by Shakespeare as a source for The Tempest. But a close textual comparison between the letter, the published sources and other contemporary documents, including a relatively newly discovered draft of the Strachey letter, demonstrates the primacy of Strachey’s letter and confirms its use as a source in the Virginia Company tract published in November 1610, therefore preserving its accessibility as a source for Shakespeare.
For their kind suggestions during the writing of this article, I thank Jacqueline Foertsch, David Kathman, Lynne Kositsky, Irvin Matus, Tom Veal and especially Alden T. Vaughan.
The Review of English Studies, New Series © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press 2009; all rights reserved doi:10.1093/res/hgp107
In the summer of 1609, the Virginia Company of London sent nine ships to re-supply its ﬂedging hard-luck Jamestown colony in Virginia. The ﬂeet ran into a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic and the ﬂagship Sea Venture, carrying the colony's new governor, Sir Thomas Gates, became separated from the ﬂeet and was presumed lost by those who weathered the storm and made it to Virginia. But Gates and all 150 passengers and crew members had actually been shipwrecked on the uninhabited island of Bermuda.
During the next ten months they managed not only to survive, but also to build two new vessels and complete the journey to Virginia. When they ﬁnally arrived at Jamestown in May 1610, they found the colony in total collapse, suffering from famine and Indian attacks that had reduced the 600 colonists to fewer than 70. Gates ordered the surviving colonists into the ships to sail home. However, they met with a new supply ﬂeet before clearing the Chesapeake Bay, and so they turned back to renew the ultimately successful colony. The survival and escape to safety of Gates' colonists and the deliverance of the Jamestown colony galvanised London when the news reached England in September 1610.
For more than a century, most Shakespeare scholars have agreed that William Shakespeare used a letter narrating the events written by an eyewitness, William Strachey, as a source for writing The Tempest because of similarities of theme, incident, language and imagery between the letter and the play.1 The letter, dated 15 July 1610, was not published until 15 years later by Samuel Purchas as 'A True Reportory of the Wracke and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates'.2
But the use of Strachey's letter by Shakespeare has not been universally accepted. Some critics ﬂatly oppose the claim; some see little similarity beyond general phrases that would be common to any shipwreck narrative; and some believe it a probable but not proven source.3 The latest dissenters, Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky, are unique in claiming that the Strachey letter is a literary construction ﬁnished at least two years after the date found in Purchas.4
This supposition is the foundation upon which they base their argument that Shakespeare did not use Strachey as a source for The Tempest, but instead drew on different, earlier sources that they say were also used by Strachey in composing his letter.5 If Strachey's letter can be eliminated as a source because it was not yet written, then the earlier sources—sources that for the most part have been examined and rejected by earlier scholars in favour of Strachey—by default become those most likely used by Shakespeare, according to Stritmatter and Kositsky's reasoning.
Most historians of the period believe that Strachey's letter was used as a source by the anonymous author of A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colony in Virginia, a promotional pamphlet published by the Virginia Company in November 1610, because both contain identical passages.6 But Stritmatter and Kositsky attempt to reverse the traditionally accepted chronology of the two texts and say that Strachey must have used the Virginia Company pamphlet as a source because of the evidence of those common passages, their own interpretation of parts of Strachey's narrative, and his reputation as a plagiarist.7
They also claim that similarities between parts of Strachey's published letter and some passages in John Smith's Map of Virginia prove that Strachey's letter was not put into its ﬁnal form until after Smith's work was published in 1612.8 These similar passages, they say, prove that Strachey composed the letter after the publication of Smith and True Declaration, and so it could not have been written and sent to London before the ﬁrst recorded performance date of The Tempest on 1 November 1611, thereby disqualifying it as even a possible source for the play.9
Colonial America historian and Arden Tempest editor Alden T. Vaughan convincingly refutes Stritmatter and Kositsky by citing historical evidence that disproves several of their key statements.10 While Vaughan and I both arrive at the same conclusion, I take a different tack in this article by closely examining the textual relationships between Stracheys letter and the texts Stritmatter and Kosistsky claim he plagiarised'.
Stritmatter and Kositsky's study of the letter, its asserted sources, and other relevant contemporary texts is cursory and ﬂawed, casting suspicion on their interpretation of the evidence. A careful study of the similar passages in the relevant texts shows that Strachey makes a number of speciﬁc factual statements that appear either verbatim or summarised in True Declaration, but in no other documents. My study also reveals subtle differences of language that strongly suggest that the most likely direction of inﬂuence was from Strachey to True Declaration, contrary to Stritmatter and Kositsky's assertion that there is no evidence for the inﬂuence of Strachey's letter on either True Declaration or The Tempest.11 In addition, in their eagerness to paint Strachey as a plagiarist, Stritmatter and Kositsky say that certain passages in the letter were taken by Strachey from later sources, even though they admit in their paper that those same passages are present in an earlier source that was signed by Strachey. My study also demonstrates that the slight verbal similarities between Strachey and John Smith cannot be attributed to Strachey copying Smith.12
Methodology of the study
The published Strachey letter divides topically into two main sections: the ﬁrst describes the 1609 voyage and shipwreck of the colonial supply ship on Bermuda and the subsequent escape of the survivors to Virginia, and the second describes the state and governance of the Virginia colony after the belated arrival of the shipwreck survivors.
To establish the most probable chronology of the composition of the texts, in this article I closely compare the Bermuda section of the Strachey letter published in Purchas to three major texts: a relatively newly discovered draft of the letter, an early published account of the shipwreck by another eyewitness, and the section in True Declaration concerning the shipwreck. I also compare it to one minor text, a short letter from the admiral of the ﬂeet, Sir George Somers.13 I then compare the Virginia section of the letter to a report sent to London from Virginia by the colonys governor, Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, and to the section in True Declaration describing the state of the colony. Finally, I compare the Smith and Strachey excerpts to similar passages in True Declaration to disprove Stritmatter and Kositskys charges that Strachey used Smith as a source.
To be consistent with Stritmatter and Kositsky's quotations, I use modernised spelling versions of all the texts for easier comparison. Listed below are the texts I used in this study, presented in the generally accepted chronological order in which they were produced. All references are to these editions, unless otherwise noted.
- What appears to be a copy of an early draft of the Strachey letter was found in 1983 in an old trunk owned by the Tucker family of Bermuda. Designated the B’ text by its discoverer, the Virginia historian and archaeologist Ivor Noe¨l Hume, it was published in 2001.14 It treats the Bermuda episode in detail, but summarises the state of the Virginia colony in about 200 words, leading Noe¨l Hume to conclude that the letter was hastily ﬁnished after the arrival of De La Warr on 7 June 1610.15
- A letter from Sir George Somers, admiral of the ﬂeet, who was a passenger on the Sea Venture, to Robert Cecil, dated 15 June 1610, is a minor source with perfunctory descriptions of the storm and shipwreck that are relevant to the relationship of Stracheys letter and True Declaration.16
- A dispatch to the Virginia Company in London dated 7 July 1610 and signed by Governor De La Warr and the members of the his council in Virginia (which included Strachey), treats only the Virginia colony material.17
- The Strachey letter P’ text,18 ‘A True Reportory of the Wracke and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates, was published by Purchas in volume IV of Haklvytvs posthumus, or, Pvrchas his Pilgrimes. Contayning a history of the world, in sea voyages, & lande-trauells, London, 1625, pages 1734–58.19
- Silvester Jourdains A discovery of the Bermudas, otherwise called the isle of devils, dedicated 13 October 1610 and published shortly thereafter, describes the storm and the Bermuda shipwreck as experienced by Jourdain, a passenger.
- The Virginia Company publication, A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colony in Virginia, was registered with the Stationers Company on 8 November 1610 by Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Maurice Berkley, Sir George Coppin and Master Richard Martin, all members of the company council in London, and none of whom were eyewitnesses. It was published shortly afterward.21
Establishing an authoritative Strachey text
Although it exists as a published text, establishing an authoritative and usable version was more complex in the case of the P’ text of the Strachey letter, since a 1,700-word excerpt from True Declaration is appended to the end. Most Strachey and Purchas scholars agree that the material from True Declaration and the preceding introductory paragraph were added by Purchas to continue the narrative and lead into the next account.22 But Stritmatter and Kositsky argue that Strachey included it in his manuscript and insist that if it was added by anyone other than Strachey, its inclusion in the published version clouds the letters integrity and renders the original text unknowable.23
But the evidence, both internal and external, and a review of Purchass editorial practice make it clear that Purchas appended the section. The letters formal closing precedes the excerpt:
And thus (right noble Lady), once more this famous business, as recreated and dipped anew into life and spirit, hath raised it (I hope) from infamy, and shall redeem the stains and losses under which she hath suffered since her ﬁrst conception. Your graces still accompany the least appearance of her, and vouchsafe her to be limned out with the beauty which we will beg and borrow from the fair lips. Nor fear you that she will return blushes to your cheeks for praising her, since (more than most, excellent Lady) like yourself (were all tongues dumb and envious) she will praise herself in her most silence. May she once be but seen or but her shadow lively by a skillful workman set out indeed, which here (bungerly as I am) I have presumed (though defacing it) in these papers to present unto Your Ladyship.24
It is clear that this closing lacks only a few formal ﬂourishes, I remain, your most humble and obedient, etc.’ and Stracheys signature. It is then followed by this introduction to the excerpt:
After Sir Thomas Gates’ arrival, a book called A True Declaration of Virginia was published by the Company, out of which I have here inserted this, their public testimony of the causes of the former evils, and Sir Thomas Gates’ report upon oath of Virginia.25
That Strachey did not write this is evident from several observations. First, the forms of address for Gates are different—much plainer—than those used habitually by Strachey, who almost without fail includes the titles held by men of rank at the time he wrote about them. In the case of Gates, those titles were governor’ and lieutenant general. Only once in the letter does Strachey refer to Gates without one or the other title: the description of the short interval between Gatess resignation as governor and just before being sworn as lieutenant-general.26 Even two years afterward, Strachey refers to Gates as our right famous sole Governor then, now Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Gates Knight.27
Secondly, while Purchas has been roundly castigated for his editorial practices, whenever he deletes or adds material he usually signals the reader either in the text, a marginal note, chapter headings or the table of contents.28 This passage explicitly states I have here inserted this ..., the same type of comment used by both Purchas and Hakluyt to signal editorial interpolations in the narratives they published.29 That this is not Stracheys voice is further substantiated by the title description in the table of contents and repeated almost verbatim in the title of the work: 'A True Reportory of the Wreck and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates, Knight, upon and from the Islands of the Bermudas: His Coming to Virginia and the Estate of that Colony Then and After, under the Government of the Lord La Warr, July 15, 1610, written by William Strachey, Esquire', in which Purchas plainly does not credit Strachey with any material concerning Gatess voyage to England or the report he made to the company in London.30 He makes it redundantly clear that Strachey did not write that material by the ﬁnal chapter title: The Lord La Warrs beginnings and proceedings in Jamestown; Sir Thomas Gates sent into England; his and the Company’s testimony of Virginia and cause of the late miseries’ (my emphasis).31
Finally, the material reprinted from the company pamphlet is set entirely in italic type, as distinct from the Strachey text, which uses italic only for proper names, chapter titles, Latin phrases and short quotations, standard early modern printing practice. When considered all together, these textual characteristics authoritatively establish that Stracheys original letter ends with the letters formal closing addressed to the lady.
When considering texts written closely together in time and sharing many similar and sometimes identical passages, it is difﬁcult to determine the direction of inﬂuence and consequently the chronological order in which they were produced. However, in this case that task is aided by the fact that Strachey, whether or not he was a plagiarist, was undeniably an eyewitness to the wreck of the Sea Venture and the subsequent events, and he makes a number of speciﬁc factual statements about those events in the two extant documents that he wrote. True Declaration states the same facts that must have been obtained from a ﬁrst-hand source but that appear in no other known documents. In fact, as the comparisons below demonstrate, other possible sources disagree with Strachey and True Declaration on several of those points. In addition, a comparison of those similar passages reveals that the author of True Declaration developed some rhetorical ﬁgures of Stracheys more fully and summarised other passages, strong evidence for the inﬂuence of the Strachey letters on the colonial publication. Finally, the comparisons indicate that the passages claimed by Stritmatter and Kositsky to have been plagiarised’ by Strachey from Smith are summarised in True Declaration, which was published two years before Smith, further evidence that the writer of True Declaration was following Stracheys text or another unknown source that happened to parallel Strachey on each point, a source for which there is no evidence.
I have set up the passages below, with common passages indicated in bold for easy comparison. Although I have compared every similar passage in all the texts, I exclude passages that contribute little to the understanding of the chronology of the texts or that could be construed as general descriptions.
Comparisons of the Bermuda material
These six comparisons use ﬁve texts: the Strachey B’ text, the letter of Sir George Somers to Salisbury, the Strachey P’ text (True Reportory), Jourdains Discovery of the Barmudas, and A True Declaration.
Location and date of storm
|Strachey B, 7 June 1610||Not present||24 July 1609|
|Somers’ letter, 15 June 1610||Not present||23 July 1609|
|True Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July 1610||between 26 and 27 degrees (Strachey, 3-4)||24 July 1609|
|Jourdains Discovery, 13 Oct. 1610||30 degrees or thereabouts (Jourdain, 105)||25 July 1609|
|True Declaration, 8 Nov. 1610||27 degrees (Virginia Company, 252)||24 July 1609|
Both Strachey texts give the same date for the storms beginning, and the True Declaration author follows, even though other evidence indicates that the author also used Jourdains account. The location is also the same for the P’ text and True Declaration, so the B’ text was probably not the report used by the pamphlet writer. All sources conﬁrm that land was sighted and the party landed on Bermuda shortly after noon on Friday, 28 July.
Description of the leak
|Strachey B’ 7 June 1610||a dangerous leak sprang in the beginning of the storm ... . Many leaks were thus found; and hastily stopped; but the principle one could not be discovered... . The leak was at length discovered in the hold on Tuesday morning. (Noe¨l Hume 70–71)|
from Tuesday noon until Friday noon,we discharged 2,000 ton (Noe¨l Hume 73)
Somers’ letter 15 June 1610
|we had such a leak in our ship insomuch that there was in her nine foot of water before we knew of any such thing (Somers 445)||We pumped with two pumps and bailed in three or four places with certain barracados, and then we kept 100 men always working night and day from the 23rd, until the 28th of the same July, being Friday (Somers 445)|
|True Reportory’ (Strachey P) 15 July 1610||we had received likewise a mighty leak ... . the leak (if it were but one) which drunk in our greatest seas and took in our destruction fastest could not then be found, nor ever was, by any labor, counsel, or search (8–9)||from Tuesday noon till Friday noon we bailed and pumped two thousand ton (14)|
|Jourdains Discovery 13 October 1610||With the violent working of the seas our ship became so shaken, torn, and leaky (105)||our men ... continually pumped for three days and three nights together (105)|
|True Declaration 8 November 1610||the ship most violently leaked ... . one only ship by a secret leak was endangered (252–53)||two thousand ton of water by pumping from Tuesday noon till Friday noon was discharged (252)|
Only Stracheys P’ text includes the detail that the source of the leak could not be found. However, the B’ text includes the information that the source of the leak was eventually discovered, so evidently the authors of True Declaration used the letter later published in Purchas instead of the B’ text. Strachey's are also the only accounts that disclose the amount of water discharged by the pumps. True Declaration closely follows his wording of the passage.
Landing on the island, part 1
|Strachey B’||we were under the necessity of running on shore as earthe land as we could (74)|
|Somers’ letter 15 June 1610||our ship lieth upon the rock a quarter of a mile distant|
|'True Reportory’ (Strachey P) 15 July 1610||we were enforced to run her ashore as near the land as we could ... . great strokes of thunder, lightning, and rain in the extremity of violence; which (and it may well be) hath so sundered and torn down the rocks and whirred whole quarters of islands into the main sea (15, 20)|
|Jourdain’s Discovery 13 October 1610 |
And there neither did our ship sink, but more fortunately in so great a misfortune fell in between two rocks, where she was fast lodged and locked, without further budging (107)
|True Declaration 8 November 1610||they were forced to run their ship on shore, which through Gods providence fell betwixt two rocks that caused her to stand ﬁrm and not immediately to be broken ... . They fell betwixt a labyrinth of rocks, which they conceive are moldered into the sea by thunder and lightning (252)|
The author of True Declaration obviously read and incorporated both Jourdain's and Strachey's accounts. The ship actually grounded on sand between two coral reefs about 30 feet below the surface of the sea, as conﬁrmed by archaeological investigations.32 The explanation given by True Declaration about the origin of the rocks probably derives from the quoted description of the climate and topography of the islands in the Strachey P’ text. Gates, who was not a sailor, apparently could not explain to the satisfaction of the Virginia Company exactly how the ship was lodged betwixt two rocks’ (indeed, it was described as such for centuries until the 1958 discovery of the wreck). The writer looked to Strachey but could ﬁnd what he considered a reasonable explanation only in the description of the island, which he summarised and used in a different context.
Landing on the island, part 2
Strachey B’ 7 June 1610
When getting out our boat by the of God (sic) we landed all the men, women and children to the number of one hundred and ﬁfty (74)
Somers’ letter 15 June 1610
we saved all our lives and afterward saved much of our goods, but all our bread was wet and lost ... . which in number were 140 men and women at the coming to the island ... . there was saved a little meal ... and this with ﬁsh we lived and this allowance nine months (445–46)
True Reportory’ (Strachey P) 15 July 1610
by the mercy of God unto us, making out our boats, we had ere night brought all our men, women, and children, about the number of one hundred and ﬁfty, safe into the island. (16)
Jourdains Discovery 13 October 1610
We gained not only sufﬁcient time, with the present help of our boat and skiff, safely to set and convey our men ashore (which were one hundred and ﬁfty in number), but afterwards had time and leisure to save some good part of our goods and provision which the water had not spoiled, with all the tackling of the ship and much of the iron about her (107)
True Declaration 8 November 1610
God continuing his mercy unto them, that with their longboats they transported to land before night all their company, men, women, and children, to the number of one hundred and ﬁfty. They carried to shore all the provision of unspent and unspoiled victuals, all their furniture and tackling of the ship (252)
These passages also show that the writer of True Declaration used Jourdain as a source along with Strachey. In numbering the saved passengers, the B’ text appears slightly closer in language than the later version, but the P’ text, with the introductory clause suggesting divine intervention and the time the passengers landed, is closer still.
Departure from Bermuda and arrival in Virginia
|Strachey B’ 7 June 1610||Being on the 10th of May ... . On that day about 10 in the morning we set sail ... On the morning of Monday 21st we came within 2 miles of Cape Comfort, and the captain of the fort discharged a warning piece, which brought us to our anchor, and we sent off our long boat to inform him who we were. (84–85)|
|Somers’ letter 15 June 1610||We departed from the Bermuda the 12 of May and arrived in Virginia the 23rd of the same month, and coming to Cape Henry the captain there told us of the famine that was at Jamestown (445) The tenth of May early ... . About ten of the clock, that day being Thursday, we set sail ... . The one-and-twentieth, being|
|'True Reportory’(Strachey P) 15 July 1610||Monday in the morning, we came up within two miles of Point Comfort, when the captain of the fort discharged a warning piece at us, whereupon we came to an anchor and sent off our longboat to the fort to certify who we were. (59, 61–62)|
|Jourdain's Discovery 13 October 1610||we set sail and put off from the Bermudas the tenth day of May in the year 1610, and arrived at Jamestown in Virginia the four-and-twentieth day of the same month (114–15)|
|True Declaration 8 November 1610||on the 10th of May, 1610, they embarked themselves in their two new-built pinnaces, and after some eleven days sail they arrived near Point Comfort upon the coast of Virginia (253)|
Only Jourdain gives the same departure date; the rest of the information common to both Strachey letters and True Declaration is found in neither of the other sources and is contradicted by Somers, strong evidence that True Declaration used Strachey as a source.
Evolution of a ﬁgure of speech
In addition to condensing some of Stracheys descriptions, the author of True Declaration perfected a ﬁgure of speech found in Stracheys two letters, which can be seen with the side-by-side comparison below.
|Strachey B, 7 June 1610||True Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|how willing they were to make the greatest exertions, though almost drowning amidst them. (71)||how mutually willing they were yet by labor to keep each other from drowning, albeit each one drowned whilst he labored. (10)||those which labored to keep others from drowning were half-drowned themselves in laboring. (252)|
From his sketchy ﬁrst draft, Strachey improves his description in the P’ text by rhetorical elaboration. He catches the full antimetabole ﬁgure, though his treatment is ungainly and wordy. It is left to the True Declaration author to perfect the ﬁgure. It is very doubtful Strachey would have marred such a ﬁgure had he been copying True Declaration. This is almost incontrovertible textual evidence that the Virginia Company writer follows Strachey.
Comparisons of the Virginia colony material
The Strachey B’ text summarises the state of the colony and De La Warrs arrival in about 200 words and then ends.33 Jourdain gives scarcely more coverage. For the purpose of this study, the rest of the paper compares three main texts: the
letter from Governor De La Warr and the council in Virginia, the Strachey P’ text (True Reportory), and A True Declaration.
Great swathes of text are shared by the De La Warr dispatch, Strachey P,’ and True Declaration. I reproduce only such examples that furnish evidence to indicate the chronology of composition.
Condition of the colony
|De La Warr, 7 July 1610||True Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|For most true it is, the strange and unexpected condition and ... in which Sir Thomas Gates found the colony, gave him to underst[and] never was there more need of all the powers of judgment, and ... knowing, and long exercised virtue, then now to be awak ... calling upon him to save such whom he found so fo[rlorn] ... as in redeeming himself and his again from falling into the [like calami]ties. (Governor and Council in Virginia, 456)||Our governor, who went soon ashore and as soon (contrary to all our fair hopes) had new, unexpected, uncomfortable and heavy news of a worse condition of our people above at Jamestown ... . In this desolation and misery our governor found the condition and state of the colony, and (which added more to his grief) no hope how to amend it or save his own company and those yet remaining alive from falling into the like [calamities].34 (62, 64)||When Sir Thomas Gates arrived in Virginia, the strange and unexpected condition wherein he found the colony gave him to understand how never was there more need of all the powers of judgment, then at this present; it being now his charge both to save such as he found so forlorn and wretched as to redeem himself and his from falling into the like calamities. (257)|
The True Declaration author follows De La Warr more closely than he does Strachey.
|De La Warr, 7 July 1610||True Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|indeed at this time of the year they live poor, their corn being but newly put into the ground ... . and at this time of the year, neither by force (had his power been sufﬁcient) nor trade, might have amended these wants, by any help from the Indian: nor was there any means in the fort to take ﬁsh, for there was neither a sufﬁcient seine to be found, nor any other convenient nets; and to say true, if there had, yet was there not an eye of sturgeon come into the river. (455, 457)||And it was not possible at this time of the year to amend it by any help from the Indian, for besides that they (at their best) have little more than from hand to mouth, it was now likewise but their seed time, and all their corn scarce put into the ground. Nor was there at the fort (as they whom we found related unto us) any means to take ﬁsh, neither sufﬁcient seine nor other convenient net, and yet if there had, there was not one eye of sturgeon yet come into the river. (64)||... the corn of the Indians but newly sowed, not an eye of sturgeon as yet appeared in the river.|
In the ﬁrst passage, their corn being but newly put into the ground, De La Warr is writing about the Indians he met while ﬁshing at Cape Henry before he reached the colony. Stracheys letter, not concerned with De La Warrs voyage before he reached the colony, uses a similar passage in support of Gatess decision to abandon the colony before the arrival of De La Warr and the author of True Declaration follows him.
Scarcity of food blamed on the Indians
|De La Warr, 7 July 1610||True Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|It did not appear unto us that any kind of ﬂesh, deer, or what else, of that kind could be recovered from the Indians, or to be sought in the country by us; and our people, together with the Indians (not to friend), had the last winter destroyed and killed up all our hogs, insomuch as of ﬁve or six hundred (as it is supposed), there was not above one sow, that we can hear of, left alive (459)||It did not appear that any kind of ﬂesh, deer, or what else of that kind could be recovered from the Indian or to be sought in the country by the travail or search of his people. And the old dwellers in the fort (together with the Indians not to friend), who had the last winter destroyed and killed up all the hogs, insomuch as of ﬁve or six hundred (as it is supposed), there was not one left alive (86-87)|
After this, Powhatan in the night cut off some of our boats, he drove away all the deer into the farther part of the country, he and his people destroyed our hogs (to the number of about six hundred) (256–57)
Here the Company distorts both DeLaWarr and Stracheys accounts by blaming only the Indians for killing all the hogs. Since one of Stracheys motives in writing the letter was to ingratiate himself with the company to advance his career,35 it is unlikely he would have contradicted the ofﬁcial line in an antedated account, especially since he so obviously follows it in other parts of the letter. This strongly indicates that Strachey did not copy the company pamphlet.
Unhealthiness of Jamestown site
|DeTrue Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July y 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|True it is, I may not excuse this our fort, or Jamestown, as yet seated in somewhat an unwholesome and sickly air, by reason it is in a marish ground, low, ﬂat to the river, and hath no fresh-water springs serving the town but what we drew from a well six or seven fathom deep fed by the brackish river oozing into it; from whence I verily believe the chief causes have proceeded of many diseases and sicknesses which have happened to our people, who are indeed strangely afﬂicted with ﬂuxes and agues, and every particular season (by the relation of the old inhabitants) hath his particular inﬁrmity too: all which, if it had been our fortunes to have seated upon some hill, accommodated with fresh springs and clear air, as do the natives of the country, we might have, I believe, well escaped. And some experience we have to persuade ourselves that it may be so, for of some36 hundred and odd men which were seated at the Falls the last year when the ﬂeet came in with fresh and young able spirits under the government of Captain Francis West, and of one hundred to the seawards (on the south side of our river), in the country of the Nansemonds under the charge of Captain John Martin, there did not so much as one man miscarry, and but very few, or none, fall sick. Whereas at Jamestown, the same time and the same months, one hundred sickened, and half the number died. Howbeit, as we condemn not Kent in England for a small town called Plumstead, continually assaulting the dwellers there (especially newcomers) with agues and fevers, no more let us lay scandal and imputation upon the country of Virginia because the little quarter wherein we are set down (unadvisedly so choosed) appears to be unwholesome and subject to many ill airs which accompany the like marish places. (82–83)||No man ought to judge of any country by the fens and marshes (such as is the place where Jamestown stands) except we will condemn all England for the wilds and hundreds of Kent and Essex. In our particular, we have an infallible proof of the temper of the country, for of an hundred and odd which were seated at the Falls under the government of Captain Francis West, and of an hundred to the seaward on the south side of the river, (in the country of Nansemonds) under the charge of Captain John Martin, of all these two hundred there did not so much as one man miscarry. When in Jamestown at the same time and in the same months, one hundred sickened, and half the number died. (255)|
This passage is found only in Strachey and True Declaration. Strachey includes details in the passage that he could not have gleaned from reading True Declaration, De La Warrs dispatch, or Jourdain, nor, being an eyewitness, did he need to, which testiﬁes against Stritmatter and Kositsky's assertion that Strachey copied it from True Declaration.37
Just as the writer of True Declaration paraphrases passages that are common to De La Warr and Strachey, so he also appropriates the language of the two for use in other contexts. In the example below, he takes a striking phrase and puts it in the mouth of Sir Thomas Gates and changes the cause from fear of the Indians to idleness.
|De La Warr, 7 July 1610||True Reportory’ True Declaration, (Strachey P) 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|... empty houses ... rent ... empty houses ... rent up and burnt, the living not able... to step the woods to gather other ﬁrewood ... the Indian as fast killing without as the famine and pestilence within. (456–57)|
... empty houses ... rent ... empty houses ... rent up and burned, rather than the dwellers would step into the woods a stone’s cast off from them to fetch other ﬁrewood... . the Indian killed as fast without, if our men stirred but beyond the bounds of their blockhouse, as famine and pestilence did within (63–64)
|An incredible example of up and burned, rather their idleness is the not able ... to step into than the dwellers report of Sir Thomas Gates ... he has seen some of them eat their ﬁsh raw, rather than they would go a stone’s cast to fetch wood and dress it. (255)|
Again, it is evident from the context of this passage the fact that an almost identical passage appears in De La Warr's dispatch of 7 July that Strachey was not copying True Declaration.38
In their Appendix C, Stritmatter and Kositsky offer these passages as evidence that Strachey used True Declaration as a source:
|True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
‘True Reportory’, (Strachey P) 15 July 1610
|I will communicate a double comfort: ﬁrst, Sir George Summers (that worthy admiral) hath undertaken a dangerous adventure for the good of the colony. Upon the ﬁfteenth of June (accompanied with Captain Samuel Argoll) he returned in two pinnaces unto the Bermudas; promising (if by any means God will open a way to that island of rocks) that he would soon return with six months provision of ﬂesh, and with live hogs to store again Virginia. (258)|
In council, therefore, the thirteenth of June, it pleased Sir George Somers, Knight, admiral, to propose a voyage, which, for the better relief and good of the colony, he would perform into the Bermudas, from whence he would fetch six months provision of ﬂesh and ﬁsh and some live hogs to store our colony again; and [he] had a commission given unto him the ﬁfteenth of June, 1610, who in his own Bermuda pinnace ... consorted with Captain Samuel Argall ... (87)
They note at the end of the second passage that [a] similar passage also occurs in the de La Warre dispatch of 7 July 1610.39 Exactly how similar’ can be seen easily in the table below with the common phrases presented in bold type.
|De La Warr, 7 July 1610||True Reportory’ (Strachey P), 15 July 1610|
|Whereupon it pleased Sir George Somers to propose a voyage, which for the better relief and good of the colony he would perform into the Bermudas, (which, lying in the height of 32 degrees and 20 minutes, ﬁve degrees from our bay, may be some seve[n] score leagues from us, or thereabouts; reckoning to every degree that lies norwest and westerly, twenty-eight English leagues); and from thence he would fetch six months provision of ﬂesh and ﬁsh, and some live hogs, of which those islands (by their own report, however, most dangerous to fall with) are marvelous full and well stored; whereupon, well approving and applauding a motion relishing of so fair hopes and much goodness, we gave him a commission the 15th of June, who, in his own Bermuda pinnace, the Patience, accompanied with Capt Samuel Argall, in the Discovery (whom we swore of our council before his departure), the 19th of June fell with the tide from before our town, whom we have ever since accompanied with our hearty prayers for his happy and safe return. (459–60)|
In council, therefore, the thirteenth of June, it pleased Sir George Somers, Knight, admiral, to propose a voyage, which for the better relief and good of the colony he would perform into the Bermudas, from whence he would fetch six months provision of ﬂesh and ﬁsh and some live hogs to store our colony again; and had a commission given unto him the ﬁfteenth of June, 1610, who in his own Bermuda pinnace, the ‘Patience,’ consorted with Captain Samuel Argall in the ‘Discovery’ (whom the lord governor and captain general made of the council before his departure), the nineteenth of June fell with the tide from before our town and the twenty two left the bay, or Cape Henry, astern. (87)
As the reader can easily discover, the passages are almost identical, but Strachey’s letter gives more historical information than De La Warr’s dispatch or True Declaration (the date Somers proposed the voyage and the date the shipsleft the bay). De La Warr’s dispatch was signed by himself and the Virginia governor’s council, which included Strachey as secretary-recorder, eight days before the date of the ‘P’ text. As noted above, Stritmatter and Kositsky say themselves that they are aware of this almost identical passage, yet evidently they perversely insist that Strachey took it from the later printed text of True Declaration and changed it back to the form of the dispatch.
Similarly, Stritmatter and Kositsky declare that certain other passages in the Strachey letter ‘appear to have been written in response to a 14 December 1610 letter to Strachey from Richard Martin’ asking for information about the country, the colony and the Indians.40 In their Appendix A, a table of the ‘answers’ to Martin’s questions, Stritmatter and Kositsky again note ‘[m]uch of this also in De La Warre’s dispatch’ in one example and ‘[a]ll the foregoing is in De La Warre’ in another.41 The problem of how these answers—supposedly written in response to a months-later request—are present in De La Warr’s dispatch is not addressed by Stritmatter and Kositsky, but they insist that the passages were written later than the 15 July 1610 Strachey letter, even though they themselves acknowledge that the purported ‘answers’ are present almost verbatim in the 7 July dispatch from De La Warr, a fact that is not disclosed to the reader.
Strachey plagiarising Smith?
Stritmatter and Kositsky's characterisation of Strachey as a plagiarist’ lends no evidentiary weight to their argument. Writers of the time—especially travel writers—routinely appropriated material from other writers without crediting their sources,42 and whether Strachey copied passages from earlier sources is irrelevant to the dating of the letter unless they can show that Strachey copied from material not available until after the 15 July 1610 date in the published letter. Their opposite characterisation of John Smith as a writer with a reputation for scrupulous attribution of his sources43 is contradicted by the observations of Smith scholars such as Barbour.44 Smith was no different from other travel writers in this regard.
A brief examination of the two passages Stritmatter and Kositsky claim Strachey took from Smith is enough to discount their assertion. Evidently they neglected to examine True Declaration for evidence of similar passages, which I have done below. I have also restored the text excised by Stritmatter and Kositsky from the Strachey passage, identiﬁed by italic type. Their parallels between Smith and Strachey appear in bold type; those between Strachey and True Declaration appear in bold and italic.
|Smith, Map of Virginia,1612||True Reportory’ True Declaration, (Strachey P) 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|[The Indians] houses are built like our arbors of small young springs bowed and tied, and so close covered with mats or the bark of trees very handsomely, that not withstanding either wind rain or weather, they are as warm as stoves, but very smoky; yet at the top of the house there is a hole made for the smoke to go into right over the ﬁre. (Barbour 161–62)|
A delicate wrought ﬁne kind of mat the Indians make, with which (as they can be trucked for or snatched up) our people do dress their chambers and inward rooms, which make their houses so much the more handsome.The houses have wide and large country chimneys, in the whichis to be supposed (insuch plenty of wood)what ﬁres are maintained; and they have found the way to cover their houses now (as the Indians) with barks of trees, as durable and as good proof against storms and winter weather as the best tile, defending likewise the piercing sunbeams of summer and keeping the inner lodgings cool enough, which before in sultry weather would be like stoves ... ... (81–82)
|The houses which are built are as warm and defensible against wind and weather as if they were tiled and slated, being covered above with strong boards and matted round within, according to the fash-ion of the Indians.(258)|
Note several differences between Smiths and Stracheys accounts obscured by Stritmatter and Kositskys deletions: Smith describes the houses of the Indians while Strachey and True Declaration describe those of the colonists; Smith says the mats cover the outside of the houses, Strachey and True Declaration describe how the mats hang inside; Smith uses the word stove’ to describe the warmth of the Indians’ houses in inclement weather; Strachey uses the word to make a comparison between the colonists’ former houses and the present-day houses in the summer. In addition, Smith describes houses without chimneys, Strachey describes houses with chimneys. Stopping just short of accusing Strachey of plagiarising the passage from Smith, Stritmatter and Kositsky characterise it as an instance of Stracheys possible reliance on Smith.45 However, the falsity of their conjecture is proved by the presence of an equivalent passage in True Declaration that indicates that the writer paraphrases Strachey, whose description is much more detailed than those in Smith or True Declaration. Their error is also evident by the comparison below of a similar passage that they unequivocally claim was purloined from Smith, but whose verbal elements are found in True Declaration.
|Smith, Map of Virginia,1612||True Reportory’ True Declaration, (Strachey P) 15 July 1610||True Declaration, 8 November 1610|
|There is but one entrance by sea into this country, and that is at the mouth of a very goodly bay, the wideness whereof is near 18 or 20 miles. The cape on the south side is called Cape Henry in honor of our most noble Prince. The shew of the land there, is a white hilly sand like unto the Downes, and along the shores great plenty of pines and ﬁrs. The north cape is called Cape Charles in honor of the worthy Duke of York. (144)|
This is the famous Chesapeake Bay, which we have called (in honor of our young Prince) Cape Henry, over against which within the bay lieth another headland, which we called, in honor of our princely Duke of York, Cape Charles; and these lie northeast and by east and southwest and by west, and they may be distant each from the other in breadth seven leagues, between which the sea runs in as broad as between Queenborough and Leigh. Indeed it is a goodly bay and a fairer not easily to be found ... . the fort is called, in honor of His Majesty’s name, Jamestown. (61, 81)
|The other comfort is that the Lord Governor has built two new forts (the one called Fort Henry and the other Fort Charles, in honor of our most noble prince and his hopeful brother) upon a pleasant hill and near a little rivulet, which we call Southampton River.(258)|
A ﬁxed distance, such as that between the two capes, cannot be a copied parallel, since it exists outside of literary invention. The fact that Strachey uses leagues instead of miles to measure distance further removes the passage away from Smith's, as do his directional descriptions of the capes. The presence of a similar passage in True Declaration eliminates two other so-called parallels: the choice of words to describe the origins of the names of the capes and the fort (in Strachey) and the forts (in True Declaration).46 That leaves only the phrase goodly bay’ as a parallel phrase for Stritmatter and Kositsky to base their case that Strachey copied from Smith in 1612. But just how rare is the term? True Declaration uses the term goodliest countries’ only once, but De La Warr writes goodly vines,’ goodlier corn,’ and goodly births. Strachey uses goodly bay’ twice, goodly cedar,’ goodlier corn,’ and goodly vines.47 Richard Edens 1555 Decades of the New World uses goodly’ more than 50 times, so the term was a commonplace. In addition, as Stritmatter and Kositsky point out, Strachey did copy long passages almost verbatim from Smith in his later work, Virginia Britania.48 If Strachey had access to Smiths work while writing True Reportory, and if he evidently had no compunction about copying word-for-word, why would the only points of congruence between the two be merely a few commonplace terms?
Conﬂicting internal evidence of dating?
Stritmatter and Kositsky assert that textual evidence within the Strachey letter itself eliminates any possibility of the letter being sent to London on Gates' ship in mid-July 1610, for the letter itself refers to the voyage. This passage, they say, is the most devastating blow’ to the 15 July 1610 date of the letter: 49
And the ﬁfteenth day of July, in the Blessing,’ Captain Adams brought [an Indian chief and his son] to Point Comfort, where at that time (as well to take his leave of the lieutenant general, Sir Thomas Gates, now bound for England, as to dispatch the ships) the lord governor and captain general had pitched his tent in Algernon Fort. The kings son, Kainta, the lord governor and captain general hath sent now into England until the ships arrive here again the next spring ... .50
Stritmatter and Kositsky write that [l]ogically, these words cannot have been written before the events they describe; nor do they constitute the conclusion of the document, which continues for another seventeen hundred words of text, mostly inserted, with attribution, from True Declaration (registered November 1610). The document in which they appear could therefore not have been transmitted on Gates’ boat; it was still being written or had not yet been written at all when that ship sailed.51
Vaughan effectively rebuts this assertion by reciting a narrative in Stracheys later Virginia Britania revealing that the hostage was never taken to England,52 but it is proﬁtable to look closer at the grammatical construction of the words Stritmatter and Kositsky say invalidate the dating of the letter, because Strachey—just as other Early Modern writers do—often uses circumlocutory grammatical constructions that modern readers ﬁnd almost impenetrable. Stritmatter and Kositsky impose a reading against all the sense of the rest of the evidence on what is at worst an ambiguous passage, but the grammar of the sentence contradicts their certainty.
Never has the meaning for the past participle 'bound’ required that a journey already be underway. To the contrary, 'bound’ in the sense Strachey uses it is deﬁned by the OED as Ready, prepared: said both of persons and things,’ and bound for’ as Prepared or purposing to go, starting, directing ones course, destined.’ So while 'now bound for England’ could possibly mean Gates has already sailed, the most likely meaning here is that he is in preparation, especially given the context of the rest of the letter. Similarly, 'now’ with the present perfect 'hath sent’ suggests 'just now’ (In the time directly preceding the present moment53), and the primary meaning of 'send’ with a person as object is 'To order or direct to go or to be conveyed;54 in modern terminology, 'De La Warr has just now ordered the Indian kings son to be conveyed to England.’
To insist that these passages refer to a voyage that has already begun is to ignore the rest of the letters context. The letter is dated 15 July 1610, and Strachey describes no events that occurred after that date, even though he was in Virginia for more than another year and observed and participated in many noteworthy events that were later described by himself and other colonists, such as Indian attacks, reprisal raids on Indian villages, the illness and departure of De La Warr, and the arrival of Sir Thomas Dale as governor. Why would he choose to leave that material out if he ﬁnished the letter after he went back to England, as Stritmatter and Kositsky aver? For that matter, what could his motivation have been to write and antedate such a letter? Stritmatter and Kositsky never offer any arguments for Stracheys motivation.
Strachey's letter withheld from publication
Virginia historians have long thought that Strachey's letter was kept out of print by the Virginia Company because it wished to suppress news of unfavourable incidents, such as the rebellion on Bermuda, the apparent rift between Gates and Somers, the grisly accounts of starvation caused by bad colonial management, and the full extent of the hostility of the Indians, all of which are either ignored, downplayed or misrepresented in True Declaration.55 Only after the revocation of the company's charter in 1624 did Purchas publish the letter, ﬁve years after obtaining it from Richard Hakluyts estate in 1620.56
In the preface, the anonymous author—or compiler, as he calls himself—of True Declaration writes 'that he will relate nothing (concerning Virginia) but what he has from the secrets of the judicial council of Virginia, from the letters of the Lord La Ware, [and] from the mouth of Sir Thomas Gates'.57
Gates is quoted in two long passages, one in which he answers charges of exercising bad judgment concerning the command of the ﬂeet when it ﬁrst embarked on the Virginia voyage in 1609, and the other in which he supposedly lists the potential riches of Virginia, a list that was boilerplate in Virginia Company promotional literature.58 As I have shown, the author of True Declaration borrows phrases from both De La Warr and Stracheys letters in writing Gatess testimony, and the language indicates that Gates did not ﬁle a written report: he supposes, confesses, afﬁrms, brieﬂy signiﬁes, professes’ and with a solemn and sacred oath, replied, but he never writes,59 so it is certain that the passages common to Strachey P’ and True Declaration do not derive from him.
The True Declaration author refers to the letters of Lord La Ware, indicating more than one. Indeed, another letter from De La Warr is extant, to Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, King Jamess Lord Treasurer who was a supporter of the Virginia Company.60 The author could be referring to this letter, Strachey's letter or other letters that have not survived.
In Strachey's 1612 introduction to a compilation of the laws decreed by the governors Gates, De La Warr and Thomas Dale, he states that he hopes to someday present to the committees, assistants unto his Majesties Council for the Colony in Virginia’ the full story of his experiences in Bermuda and Virginia, but that many impediments, as yet must detain such my observations in the shadow of darkness until I shall be able to deliver them perfect unto your judgments, which I shall provoke and challenge.61
A year later William Welby, publisher for the Virginia Company, reprinted Jourdain's Bermuda account, in which he promised readers that he would soon furnish them a 'more full and exact description of the Countrie, and Narration of the nature, site, and commodities, together with a true Historie of the great deliuerance of Sir Thomas Gates and his Companie vpon them', which he never published.62 Gary Schmidgall and Hobson Woodward both argue that the promised account was most likely Stracheys letter.63 That same year in another publication from Welby, William Crashaw complained that the Virginia Company had suppressed the full story of the Bermuda incident of Gates, and asked that a 'full, complete, and plain narration of that whole action, both danger and deliverance, be published to the world'.64 Crashaw was clearly referring to Stracheys account, since he used similar language and cited incidents mentioned only by Strachey, such as the burial of the ordnance when Gates abandoned Jamestown.65
This study demonstrates that the two Strachey letters and True Declaration share information that must have come from a ﬁrst-hand source and that is found in no other known possible sources. In fact, as I have shown, other possible sources differ markedly with Strachey on several of these points.
Stritmatter and Kositsky offer no explanation of how—if Strachey's narrative was not available—the author of the True Declaration knew the date and latitude of the storm; that the location of the Sea Venture’s leak was unknown; the exact amount of water pumped and for how long; the exact dates of the Bermuda survivors’ departure from the island and arrival in Virginia and their reception at Point Comfort; the difference in health of the colonists at Jamestown and the Falls; the method of construction of the colonists’ houses—facts differing or absent from all the other known sources. The True Declaration author either took that information from Strachey or from one or more now missing sources that happened to parallel Strachey on every point. No evidence for any such hypothetical source exists, and Stritmatter and Kositsky offer no arguments for its existence. The multiplication of entities is neither necessary nor plausible.
In addition, I have shown that the verbal differences in the passages containing the same information indicate that the author of True Declaration summarises Strachey's descriptions, appropriates others for use in other sections of the pamphlet, and—in one case, at least—further develops a trope Strachey originated. I also have demonstrated the unlikelihood of Stritmatter and Kositsky's accusation that Strachey plagiarised from John Smiths work of 1612.
There is no evidence that Strachey's letter was not sent to England in July 1610 and a good deal of evidence that it was. The preponderance of this evidence indicates that the Strachey text as printed in Purchas, or both extant Strachey texts, served as source material for the writer of True Declaration. It is therefore certain beyond any reasonable doubt that the information from the 'secrets of the judicial council of Virginia’ used by the writer of True Declaration was that found in Strachey's letter. Consequently, if Strachey is ever disqualiﬁed as a source for Shakespeare's The Tempest, it will have to be on grounds other than that the letter had not been written before the ﬁrst recorded performance of the play.
1 See V. M. Vaughan and A. T. Vaughan (eds), The Tempest (London, 1999), 41–3, for a good summary of the arguments and the current critical opinion.
2 W. Strachey, A True Reportory of the Wracke and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates,’ in ed. Samuel Purchas, Haklvytvs posthumus, or, Pvrchas his Pilgrimes. Contayning a history of the world, in sea voyages, & lande-trauells, 4 vols (London, 1625), Vol. iv, 1734–58.
3 E. Stoll, Certain Fallacies and Irrelevancies in the Literary Scholarship of the Day, Studies in Philology 24 (1927), 485–508, and T. Marshall, The Tempest and the British Imperium in 1611, The Historical Journal 41 (1998), 375–400, deny the Strachey source, while A. F. Kinney, Revisiting The Tempest’ in Modern Philology 93 (1995), 161–77, doubts it on shaky grounds (see A. T. Vaughan, William Stracheys True Reportory’ and Shakespeare: A Closer Look at the Evidence, Shakespeare Quarterly 59 (2008), 245–73, 261–2). K. Muir, The Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays (New Haven, 1978), 280, and D. Lindley, Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference). Online posting. 20 March 2001. SHAKSPER: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference. 27 November 2007 < http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2001/0650.html> , say Strachey is a possible source, but not a proven one.
4 R. Stritmatter and L. Kositsky, Shakespeare and the Voyagers Revisited, RES 58 (2007), 447–72, 456.
5 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 447, 468–9.
6 E. W. Haile, ed., Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony (Champlain, VA, 1998), 468; I. Noe¨l Hume, The Virginia Adventure (New York, 1994), 243.
7 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 453–6.
8 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 454. 9 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 461. 10 Vaughan, Closer Look, 245–73. 11 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 456. 12 The evidence for Shakespeares use of Strachey as a source for writing The Tempest is
13 I originally identiﬁed these similarities through a computer program designed to identify plagiarism, but the existence of the parallels does not depend on any type of computer analysis.
14 I. Noe¨l Hume, William Stracheys Unrecorded First Draft of his Sea Venture Saga, Avalon Chronicles 6 (2001), 57–87. I converted all quotations used in this paper to modern spelling.
15 Noe¨l Hume, 60.
16 G. Somers, Letter to Salisbury, 15 June 1610’ in Haile, Jamestown Narratives, 445–6.
17 The Governor and Council in Virginia, Letter to the Virginia Council of London, 7 July 1610’ in Haile, Jamestown Narratives, 454–67.
18 So designated by Noe¨l Hume to distinguish it from the draft version (59).
19 W. Strachey, A True Reportory of the Wreck and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates, Knight, upon and from the Islands of the Bermudas: His Coming to Virginia and the Estate of that Colony Then and After, under the Government of the Lord La Warr, 15 July 1610, written by William Strachey, Esquire’ in L. B. Wright, ed., A Voyage to Virginia in 1609 (Charlottesville, 1964), 1–101.
20 S. Jourdain, A Discovery of the Bermudas, Otherwise Called the Isle of Devils in Wright, Voyage, 105–16.
21 Virginia Company of London, A True Declaration of the State of Virginia in D. B. Quinn, ed., New American World: A Documentary History of North America to 1612, 4 vols (New York, 1979), Vol. v, 248–62.
22 Strachey, 96, and J. Parker, Contents and sources of Purchas his pilgrimes’ in L.E. Pennington, ed., The Purchas Handbook, 2 vols (London, 1997), Vol. ii, 383–464; 457. Vaughan makes a case for Hakluyt instead of Purchas appending the excerpt (249–56). Although I doubt certain knowledge of who attached the material will ever be attained, Vaughan and I agree that that Strachey certainly did not.
23 Stritmatter and Kositsy, 456–7.
24 Strachey, 94–5.
25 Strachey, 95.
26 Strachey, 85.
27 In his introduction to For The Colony in Virginea Britannia. Lavves Diuine, Morall and Martiall &c. (London, 1612; facs. edn, Amsterdam and New York, 1974), sig. A2r (hereafter Laws).
28 See J. P. Helfers, The Explorer or the Pilgrim? Modern Critical Opinion and the Editorial Methods of Richard Hakluyt and Samuel Purchas, Studies in Philology 94 (1997), 160–86, 183, and C. Urness, Purchas as editor’ in The Purchas Handbook, L.E. Pennington, ed., 2 vols (London, 1997), Vol. i, 121–44; 128 and 141.
29 Although both editors used the word insert’ to signal added material, in the course of my study I found that Hakluyt preferred annexed.
30 Strachey, 1.
31 Strachey, 84.
32 A. J. Wingood, Sea Venture. An Interim Report on an Early 17th Century Shipwreck Lost in 1609, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration 11 (1982), 333–47.
33 Noe¨l Hume, 85.
34 Emended from the published version, which reads necessities. Not only is the sense improved, but also an examination of the De La Warr letter and several examples of Stracheys hand convinces me that Strachey penned the De La Warr dispatch in his capacity as secretary for the council, A comparison of the words calamities, necessary’ and unnecessary’ in the body of the De La Warr letter supports the likelihood that Purchass compositor misread the word in Stracheys letter.
35 Noe¨l Hume, 59–60.
36 This is emended from foure’ in Purchas. Evidently the compositor misread the initial English long s’ as an f’ and interpreted the medial minims as u.
37 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 457–8, 471.
38 Other textual evidence outside the scope of this essay suggests that Strachey had written most of his letter before the De La Warr dispatch was composed, and that he lifted phrases from his letter and used them to write the dispatch for De La Warr.
39 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 470.
40 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 452.
41 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 466, 467.
42 P. G. Adams, Travelers and Travel Liars (New York, 1962, repr. 1980), 8–9; M. B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600 (Ithaca and London, 1988), 130; and G. Hooper and T. Youngs (ed.), Perspectives on Travel Writing (Aldershot and Burlington, VT, 2004), 2.
43 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 461.
44 P. L. Barbour (ed.), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith, 1580-1631, 3 vols (Chapel Hill, 1986), Vol. i, lxv, 295; Vol. ii, 31–2.
45 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 460.
46 In fact, the use of the exact same language by Smith and the True Declaration author to describe Prince Charles (our most noble prince), using Stritmatter and Kositskys logic, would argue for the pamphlet writers reliance on Smith.
47 Virginia Company, 259; Governor and Council, 461–2; Strachey 23, 24, 61, 68.
48 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 460. It is not universally agreed that Strachey necessarily copied Smith. Haile, for one, gives reasons for thinking that Smith and Strachey both may have used a now-lost common source, 564–5.
49 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 452.
50 Strachey, 94 (my emphasis).
51 Stritmatter and Kositsky, 452–3.
52 Vaughan, A Closer Look, 265–6.
53 OED adv. 3.
54 OED v. trans. I.
55 S. G. Culliford, William Strachey, 1572-1621 (Charlottesville, 1965), 154–5.
56 D. R. Ransome, A Purchas Chronology’ in The Purchas Handbook, ed. L.E. Pennington (London, 1997), Vol. I, 329–80, 353–4.
57 Virginia Company, 248. 58 Virginia Company, 252, 259–60.
59 Virginia Company, 252, 255, 259.
60 State Papers Colonial, James I, 1/22–86.
61 Laws, Sig. A2r–v. The 1612 printed text reads why I shall provoke and challenge. However, a presentation copy in the Henry E. Huntington Library contains a hand-written dedication by Strachey and corrections in the same hand. Both the catchword why’ and the following ﬁrst word on the next page have been corrected to which.
62 S. Jourdain, A Plaine Description of the Barmvdas, Now Called Sommer Ilands (London, 1613; facs. edn, Amsterdam and New York, 1971), sig. A4v.
63 G. Schmidgall, The Tempest and Primaleon: A New Source, in Shakespeare Quarterly 37 (1986), 423–39, 434–5; H. Woodward, A Brave Vessel (New York, 2009), 154–5.
64 A. Whitaker, Good Newes from Virginia (London, 1613; facs. edn, New York, 1936), sigs. A4v–B1r.
65 Whitaker, sig. B1v.