In 1615, the steady stream of bad news about the Virginia Company's Jamestown project was suddenly reversed with the publication of Ralph Hamor's famous True Discourse, which brought the unexpected, almost providential news of Pocahontas's conversion and marriage. The True Discourse described such a sudden and dramatic change in Virginia's fortunes that it required careful attention to concerns of credibility. Hamor and the Virginia Company drew on a collection of texts that aimed to instruct travelers how to render their observations and conclusions credible to readers. In the True Discourse, they assembled a sort of composite text whose final section claimed to provide direct insight into the 'honest inward intentions' of the Chesapeake Algonquians. Although this section was replete with snubs and slights, Hamor preserved these details in order to present himself as a particular sort of eyewitness observer: critical, meticulous, and objective, recording details but leaving his readers to draw inferences themselves. Most of the details that Hamor believed would win his readers' trust in this way related to the foods he was offered, and especially venison, which was a symbol of trust and mutual regard so deeply rooted as to complement Hamor's stance as "objective" observer perfectly.


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pp. 294-321
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