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According to Love and Hate in Jamestown by David A. Price, John Smith had difficulty working with the other English leaders for a number of reasons. The most significant was that he was commoner and not part of the gentry like the others who had been chosen to lead the expedition by the Virginia Company. Smith had been a soldier prior to his involvement with the Virginia Company that was comprised of investors looking to prosper by finding gold in the environs surrounding the new colony. While shipboard, Smith was jailed for attempted mutiny of Captain Christopher Newport and remained so until the ship landed in April 1607. He was considered a common criminal and only released when the other colonial leaders read the orders from the Virginia Company, and realized he was to be on the governing council.
John Smith believed in a strong work ethic that he had learned from his soldiering days. This was contrary to the beliefs of the gentry who had also made the trip; they simply did not know how to do the work necessary to help the new colony prosper. In his short time in the colony, he developed a work to eat mentality, which the gentlemen of the expedition did not approve of since they were not schooled in farming or survival techniques.
John Smith also developed tenuous relationships with the local Powhatan people that proved crucial to the survival of the colony during his time there. Again, this was a skill foreign to the gentlemen of the expedition. His strong leadership skills and work ethic helped the colony to grow and survive but those skills also made him enemies within the men of the expedition so much, so that there was a mysterious gunpowder explosion in a boat where he slept. This sent him back to England, never to return to Virginia.
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