Furs were the one locally available item that could be readily turned into money. Even before the Pilgrims arrived in New England, John Smith had identified the two principal products which could provide prosperity for New England as furs and fish. Fish were well known, and available in abundance: as we have mentioned already, there seems to have been a desire on the party of the financial backers of the Virginia Company and the Plymouth Company to link Jamestown and the prospective colony in “northern Virginia” (the Pilgrims’ original destination) by having the northern settlement supply fish for the southern colony. The English were already quite active in the fish market, but Smith also saw the use of furs. He advised the English to drive the French out of the New England region in order to crush the competition, since “their rivals often afford better trading terms” (Smith, A Description of New England [London, 1616], in Barbour, ed., Complete Works of Captain John Smith [Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 1986], 1:323-324, 336). When the settlers -- finally, after months of glimpses and one hostile encounter -- met the Natives, they carefully noted what furs the natives wore. They distributed a few trinkets and asked to start up a fur trade. Plymouth needed to generate income: they either had to extract or to grow something that could find a market in England. The Spanish had found mineral wealth in Central and South America, but the English never really found any mines, although that did not stop them from looking. The first major cash crop the English found, in Virginia, was tobacco. The second, suited to the colder climates further north, were beaver and otter pelts, along with other forest products, of which England, and particularly its navy, was in great need. In order to obtain fish, the settlers would need equipment, boats, tools, barrels, salt, and a lot of luck (and skill, of which they had almost none at the start). All they needed for furs was trading partners. This proved somewhat difficult to organise, as we shall see tomorrow, although not as difficult as getting fish, at which the Pilgrims failed miserably.