The atmosphere of which a writer adapts to affects his/her works. The
writer's environment, and the churnings of history that feed the writer,
gives him the material whereby he can construct, and create in. History, in
this instance the colonization of the American continent, dictates what and
how he is to write. Authors such as John Smith, William Bradford, and St.
Jean de Crevecoeur are all examples of this. The atmosphere or society these
authors were in directly affected the attitude, tone, genre, etc. of their
works. This can be shown both by facts in history and their actual writings
of that period.
During the 17th century Pilgrims, which were a group of Separatist Puritans,
disliked being in England and wanted to go to America for the right to
practice their religion freely (and in 1620 they received a patent from
Virginia which allowed them to settle in New England aboard the Mayflower).
In 1606, King James I granted a charter authorizing overlapping grants of
land in Virginia to two separate joint-stock companies, one based in London
and the other in Plymouth. Captain John Smith planned to conquer New
England's "goodly, strong, and well-proportioned (Indian) people" and
establish an English colony there. He then led the Virginia Company of
London to successfully establishing the colony. His work The General History
of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles told about his colonization
process and explorations, as he described America as a utopian society.
As mentioned in his work, Smith maintained satisfactory relations with the
Indians, as shown by his letter to Queen Anne when he says "That some ten
years ago being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan
their chief King, I received from this great savage exceeding great courtesy,
especially from his son Nantaquaus. . . .And his sister Pocahontas, the
King's most dear and well-beloved daughter, being but a child of twelve or
thirteen years of age, whose compassionate pitiful heart, of my desperate
estate, gave me much cause to respect her. . . ." Smith prevented Virginia
from disintegrating. This is shown in his piece, as he tries hard to
persuade people to come to America as shown by his statement "And surely by
reason of those sandy cliffs, and cliffs of rocks . . . . who can but approve
this a most excellent place, both for health and fertility." This is also
more evidently shown in the statement "My purpose is not to persuade children
from their parents, men from their wives, nor servants from their masters . .
. but that each parish, or village, in city, or country . . .or young married
people that have small wealth to live on, here by their labor my live
exceeding well." He concludes by saying that even though hard work is needed
to be a successful colonist in America, it is all worth it and is for the
better. All of these examples show that the environment Smith was in
influenced his writing (because his writing was mostly convincing people that