In this writing, Hariot basically narrates everything he see’s in the new land. He is trying to communicate to the people of England who can’t see it, what it is like, and actually gets fairly detailed in some of his descriptions. It is obvious that Thomas Hariot was somewhat of a scientist (mathematician/astronomer) because of his writing style. He is very particular about what he sees and is almost as if he’s doing an experiment, and writing down every detail of the experiment to explain exactly everything.
He first tells about how the natives appear to him. He explains that their “odd” clothing of deer skins only covers the minimum and that they have very different standards of England. He also writes of primitive weapons of witch hazel bows, sharpened reeds for arrows, and tree bark as shields. He also learns that their battle tactics are more of guerilla warfare. But thinks that if there were to be a battle that broke out between them, Hariot and his men would have no problem defeating them because of the modern weapons and experience.
Hariot is confused on why their towns (villages) are so small. He is puzzled why the largest town he’s seen had only 30 homes and every town is near the seacoast. He goes on to explain how their homes are built with just sticks, animal skins, and mud. He also writes of their form of government, which is just a wiroans or chief lord. With its descriptions of the region’s flora and fauna, along with the Native Americans who lived there, A briefe and true report came to be one of the most important texts produced in relation to the beginnings of English settlement in the Americas. The de Bry editions included engravings of images by JohnWhite, who had accompanied Hariot and the 600 other colonists. Together, Hariot’s text and White’s images played a crucial role in encouraging English investors to continue their colonial endeavors in the New World, and thus led directly to the beginnings of English Settlement in Virginia.
Hariot’s writings, in partnership with White’s delicate but vivid watercolor paintings, depict numerous aspects of the Indians’ lives and culture, including their bodies and clothing; their diets: the layouts of their homes and towns; their religious practices; their methods of agriculture, fishing, hunting, and boat-building; and the way in which they waged war upon their enemies. Taken in combination, Hariot’s words and White’s images presented the New World as simultaneously exotic and reassuring to English readers. Virginia, in their description, was a land of lush vegetation and amicable natives, and thus was an ideal site for continued efforts at colonization, despite this initial effort’s lack of success.
In A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia by Thomas Harriot, he portrays this new found land as one flowing with milk and honey. He lists valuable resources in which he knows will impress the European viewers. He makes it sound as if there are so many fruit bearing trees and so many fish in the sea that it would be impossible to starve. He fails to mention that these items may not last long, especially in the winter months. He create a lists of essential items of everyday use, but also makes it clear that he needs people to come to the new world in order to do their duty as citizens and help out with the construction of the land. Why stay on dumb dreary OLD land, when you can leave everything behind and come to the NEW land of Virginia. This land can be put in relation to The Garden of Eden; a land with no cares in the world, and one that provides you with ample supplies for survival. Similarly, in biblical terms, Hariot is attempting to lead ‘his’ people of England to the new, better land he has founded. He realizes the Europeans with nothing are struggling and would like to bring them to peace. Hariot may think of himself a the ‘Moses’ of the the new land. He has been carefully selected to give people a chance at better lives by following him to the ‘Promised Land’. The only problem with this, is that the land was already inhabited.
This form of promotion, therefore, emerged as one of the most effective ways of convincing wary investors of the significant financial potential of England’s fledgling colonial enterprises. Although the particular advantages of colonial investment changed over the next century, the central structural fact of English colonialism did not: England’s colonies would remain dependent on periodic infusions of capital from England well into the seventeenth century. And as long as that was the case, the promotion, of which A Briefe and True Report is the prototype, remained a staple of the English publishing and book selling trades. When looking at “A Briefe and True Report” as a promotion it is easier to imagine Hariot as an entrepreneur, and a good one at that. He sells this land to the reader as one that can not be passed up.
While Harriot devotes most of his text to the considerable number of “merchantable commodities” to be found in Virginia—commodities ranging from luxury items, such as furs and pearls, to strategically significant materials, such as timber and iron—he also spends a considerable amount of time describing the ease with which the land in the New World could be farmed. In these parts of his text, Harriot reminds us that the colonial enterprise was not exclusively an investment opportunity for the very rich, who would reap profits from the importation of valuable raw materials. In addition to serving as sources for these materials, the colonies, in Harriot’s vision, would also be places where the younger sons of the gentry might live and prosper and where idle English laborers, displaced by enclosures, might make themselves productive members of a new society. For this other group of people, who were interested in investing not their capital but rather their labor in the colonial enterprise, the agricultural potential of the land was of primary interest. Moreover, Harriot’s depiction of the colonial geography as conducive to the family-oriented enterprise of farming might have been intended to allay widespread English fears that colonies might become sites of licentious and criminal behavior.
Harriot, accordingly, attempts to reassure potential investors that the English settlers will be able to convince the Virginia natives to submit to their rule.. It was, in all likelihood, the harsh treatment of the natives by the English that led to the mysterious disappearance of the English settlers on Roanoke Island not long after the initial publication of Harriot’s text. Hence, although Harriot’s pamphlet may have exerted an enduring influence on colonial writing, its influence was probably undermined by the immediate perception of colonialism as a risky activity.
Although he does not appeal to people who have “everything”. He appeals to people without families, without jobs, or without inheritance. These are the people that do not mind traveling across the world for a shot at a better life. “Better land, better lives.” This is important because not only is Hariot trying to bring people to another life, he needs this for his own shot of a new life. Here, in the new land, Hariot would be seen as a Founding Father and his popularity would increase his status even further. Even though his life was pretty well in England, one can be sure he had thoughts of profound popularity. This is why survival had to be the main persuasion in getting people to move to the new land. People are not going to risk their lives on a land where no life is to be maintained. Within the photo above, we see Natives cooking their daily catch over a fire, a way Europeans could relate to around this time, as they coked their fish similarly. Some photos by John White are made to ease the readers mind of how different this world may be because of the previous owners. By portraying the Natives as “just like you and me” it creates comfort and confidence that this New World is everything and more.
This picture entitled The arrival of the Englishmen in Virginia is one that stood out to me because the first thing I think about (with the view of an on looking European) is that the Englishmen must have gone through so much strife while founding this land. The image depicts oncoming ships as well as ships that are sinking. This makes the notion that there must have been some type of struggle while trying to acquire the land. What happened? Why have the ships been wrecked? Or is this simply a device used to appeal themselves to the audience as people who built the land as hard workers, or use it as guilt because they have gone through so much to acquire the land so it would be selfish of them to stay where they are, in a land that already has so much.
There is some type of giant creature located within the text. The only water animal that giant that I can think of that looks similar to that is a whale. Either they had never seen a whale before, or they are over-exaggerating the picture as some type of grotesque creature that terrorized the land before they claimed it as theirs. It puts one in the mind of a fairy tale dragon and palace situation, because one must defeat the dragon before claiming the princess(the land). Truly, there indeed were savage “animals” terrorizing the land before they claimed it as theirs; The “Native” Americans. Even though they describe the Indians as a primitive people, in the back or their minds, they think of them as savage creatures that must be dealt with. There is exaggeration throughout the picture. This exaggeration works because it makes the Englishmen who helped discover the land seem nobler. If one must struggle in acquiring something, it makes that “something”, in this case land, easier to appreciate. In a way it is understandable because this is the way one would conduct business nowadays as any type of salesman. You tell the audience what they want to hear, whether it is true, false, or simply amplified for personal gain.