Advertisements for the Inexperienced Planters
of New England, or Anywhere
The Pathway To Experience to Erect a Plantation.
With The Yearly Proceedings of this Country in
Fishing And Planting,
Since the Year 1614 to the Year 1630 and Their Present Estate.
Also How to Prevent the Greatest Inconveniences
By their Proceedings in Virginia and Other Plantations
By Approved Examples.
With the Countrys Arms, a Description of the Coast, Harbors,
Habitations, Landmarks, Latitude and Longitude,
With the Map, Allowed by our Royal King Charles.
By Captain John Smith,
Sometimes Governor of Virginia, and Admiral of New England.
printed by John Haviland, 1631
Redacted and introduced by Marcia E. Stewart.
The Winthrop Society Quarterly stoops now to print
advertisements! But as no paying advertisers have approached us, we
shall print these 366-year-old advertisements (advice and warning) published
by Capt. Smith in the last months of his life. This work was dedicated
to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. (We have here omitted this
formal flattery.) Captain Smith was a practical patriot and orthodox
in religion, but we sense from his praise of the newly reformed Company
that he was their friend. It seems Smith chose to ignore the Puritan
leanings of the Company. Or perhaps he realized all, and hoped by addressing
the Archbishops to forestall interference from the Church of England.
Smith knew that at last he had seen the persons capable of the successful
plantation in New England for which he had struggled 20 years. We hope
the reader will tarry a while in this lecture, for Capt. Smith really
had a wonderful sense of humor and irony, which can be well appreciated
if one immerges into his antique style. The first four chapters appear
here, and will be followed in future issues by the remainder of this,
Capt. Smiths last published work.
This excerpt has been very slightly edited from
the 1631 original for spelling and punctuation, and a few parenthetic
insertions in italic font added as an aid to comprehension.
Apelles, by the proportion of a foot, could make the whole proportion
a man. Were he now living he might go to school, for now are thousands
than can by opinion proportion kingdoms, cities and lordships, that
never dared adventure to see them. Malignancy I expect from those that
have lived 10 or 12 years in these actions and return as wise as they
went, claiming time and experience for their tutor, who can neither
shift sun nor moon nor say their compass twixt the Exchange, Pauls
and Westminster, yet will tell you of more than all the world! So it
be news, it matter not what, that will pass current when truth must
be stayed with an army of conceits that can make or mar anything, and
can tell as well what all England is, by seeing but Milford Haven, and
what Apelles was by the picture of his big toe!
Now, because examples give a quicker impression than arguments, I have
written this discourse to satisfy understanding, wisdom and honesty,
and not such as can do nothing but find fault with what they neither
know nor can amend.
So I rest your friend,
Aloof, aloof! And come not near,
the dangers do appear,
Which if my ruin had not been,
youd not have seen.
I only lie upon this shelf
to be a mark to all ---
which on the same might fall,
that none may perish but myself.
If in or outward you be bound,
do not forget to sound.
Neglect of that was cause of this
to steer amiss.
The seas were calm, the wind was fair
that made me so secure
that now I must endure
all weathers be they foul or fair.
The winters cold, the summers heat
upon my bruised sides that rue
because too true
that no relief can ever come.
But why should I despair,
being promised so fair
that there shall be a Day of Doom?
What people they are that begin this plantation; the bane of
Virginia; strange misprisions of wise men.
The wars in Europe, Asia and Africa taught me how to subdue the wild
savages in Virginia and New England in America, which now, after many
a stormy blast of contradictors, projectors and undertakers, both they
and I have been so tossed and tortured into so many extremities, that
despair was the next we both expected, till it pleased God to stir up
at last some good minds, that I hope will produce glory to God, honor
to His Majesty, and profit to his kingdom. Although all our plantations
have been so foiled and abused, their best good-willers have been for
the most part discouraged and their good intents disgraced, as the general
history of them will at large truly relate to you.
Pardon me if I offend in loving that which I have cherished truly by
the loss of my prime fortunes, means and youth. If it overjoyed me to
see Industry herself to make use of my aged endeavors, not by such,
I hope, as rumor doth report, a multitude of discontented Brownists,
Anabaptists, Papists, Puritans, Separatists, and such factious humorists.
For none such will they suffer among them if known, as many of the chief
of them have assured me. And the conferences I have had with many of
them doth confidently persuade me to write this much on their behalf.
I mean not the Brownists of Leiden and Amsterdam at New Plimoth who,
although by accident, ignorance and willfulness have endured with a
wonderful patience many losses and extremities; yet they subsist and
prosper so well, not any of them will abandon the country, but to the
utmost of their powers increase their numbers. But of those who are
gone within this 18 months for Cape Ann and the Bay of the Massachusetts,*
those which are their chief undertakers are gentlemen of good estate,
some of £500, some of £1000 a year, all which they say they
will sell for the advancing of this harmless and pious work. Men of
good credit and well beloved in their country, not such as fly for debt
or any scandal at home, and are good catholic Protestants according
to the reformed Church of England (if not, it is well they are gone.)
The rest of them men of good means, arts, occupations and qualities,
much more fit for such a business, and better furnished of all necessities
(if they arrive well) than was any plantation ever went out of England.
I will not say but some of them may be more precise than needs, nor
that they all be so good as they should be (for Christ had but twelve
Apostles, and one of them a traitor). And if there be no dissemblers
among them it is more than a wonder. Therefore do not condemn all for
some. But, however, they have as good authority from His Majesty as
they could desire. If they do ill, the loss is but their own; if well,
a great glory and exceeding good to this kingdom, to make good at last
what all our former conclusions have disgraced.
Now they take not that course the Virginia Company did for the planters
there, their purses and lives were subject to some few here in London
who were never there, that consumed all in arguments, projects, and
their own conceits; every year trying new conclusions, altering everything
yearly as they altered opinions, till they had consumed more than £
200,000 and near 8000 mens lives. It is true, in the year of our
Lord 1622, they were, the Company in England, say 7 or 8 thousand; the
Council in Virginia say but 2200 or thereabouts, English indifferently
well furnished with most necessaries, and many of them grew to that
height of bravery, living in that plenty and excess, that went thither
being not worth anything, made the Company here think all the world
was oatmeal there; and all this proceeded by surviving those that died.
Nor were they ignorant to use as curious tricks there as here, and out
of the juice of tobacco, which at first they sold at such good rates
they regarded nothing but tobacco, a commodity then so vendible it provided
them with all things. And the loving savages, their kind friends they
trained up so well to shoot in a piece (firearm), to hunt and
kill them fowl, they became more expert than our own countrymen, whose
labors were more profitable to their masters in planting tobacco and
This superfluity caused my poor beginnings scorned or to be spoken
of with much derision, that never sent ship from thence fraught but
only some small quantities of wainscot, clapboard, pitch, tar, rosin,
soap-ashes, glass, cedar, cypress, black walnut, knees for ships, ash
for pikes, iron ore (none better), some silver ore (but so poor as it
was not regarded - better there may be for I was no mineralogist), and
wine of the country's wild grapes (but it was too sour, but better than
they sent us any in 2 or 3 years but one hogshead of claret!). Only
spending my time to revenge my imprisonment upon the harmless innocent
savages, who by my cruelty I forced to feed me with their contribution,
and to send any that offended my idle humor to Jamestown to punish at
my own discretion; or keep their kings and subjects in chains and make
them work. Things clean contrary to my commission, whilst I and my company
took our needless pleasures in discovering the countries about us, building
forts and other such unnecessary fooleries, where an eggshell (as they
wrote) had been sufficient against such enemies, neglecting to answer
the merchants expectations with profit, feeding the company only with
letters and tastes of such commodities as we wrote the company would
afford in time by industry, such as silk, wines, oil of olives, rape
and linseed, raisins, prunes, flax, hemp and iron. As for tobacco, we
never then dreamt of it.
Now because I sent not their ships full fraught home with those commodities,
they kindly wrote to me, if we failed the next return, they would leave
us there as banished men. As if houses and all those commodities did
grow naturally only for us to take at our pleasure. With such tedious
letters, directions and instructions most contrary to what was fitting,
that we did admire how it was possible such wise men could so torment
themselves and us with such strange absurdities and impossibilities!
Making religion their color, when all their aim was but present profit,
as most plainly appeared by their sending us so many refiners, goldsmiths,
jewelers, lapidaries, stonecutters, tobacco-pipe makers, embroiderers,
perfumers, silk men, with all appurtenances and materials. And all those
had great sums out of the common stock. And so many spies and superintendents
over us, as if they supposed we would turn rebels, all striving to suppress
and advance they knew not what.
At last I got a commission in their own names, promising the king custom
for seven years, where we were free for one and twenty. Appointing the
Lord Delaware with as many great and stately officers and offices under
him as doth belong to a great kingdom, with good sums for their extraordinary
expenses, also privileges for cities, charters for corporations, universities,
free schools and glebe-land, putting all those in practice before there
was either people, students or scholars to build or use them, or provision
or victual to feed them when there were. And to amend this, most of
the tradesmen in London that would adventure but £12/10 had the
furnishing the company of all things as belonged his trade, such juggling
there was betwixt them, and such intruding committees their associates,
that all the trash they could get in London was sent to Virginia, they
being well paid for that was good.
Much they blamed us for not converting the savages when those they
sent us were little better if not worse. Nor did they all convert those
we sent them to England for that purpose. So doting of mines of gold
and the South Sea that all the world could not have devised better courses
to bring us to ruin than they did themselves, with many more such like
By this you may avoid the like inconveniences, and take heed by those
examples that you have not too many irons in the fire at once. Neither
such change of governors, nor such a multitude of officers. Neither
more masters, gentlemen, gentlewomen and children than you have of men
to work, which idle charge you will find very troublesome and the effects
dangerous. And one hundred good laborers better than a thousand such
gallants as were sent me that would do nothing but complain, curse,
and despair when they saw our miseries and all things so clean contrary
to the report in England, yet must I provide as well for them as for
*Capt. Endecott of the Abigail, 1628, and the
Higginson-Skelton fleet of 1629.
Needless custom, effect of flattery, cause of misery, factions, careless
government, the dissolving of the Company and Patent.
This the mariners and sailors did ever all they could to conceal (who
always had good fare and good pay for the most part, and part of our
own purses) never caring how long they stayed upon their voyage, daily
feasting before our faces when we lived upon a little corn and water,
and not half enough of that, the most of which we had from the savages.
Now although there be deer in the woods, fish in the rivers, and fowl
in abundance in their seasons yet the woods are so wide, the
rivers so broad, and the beasts so wild, and we so unskillful to catch
them, we little troubled them, nor they us.
For all this, the letters which still signified to them the plain truth
would not be believed, because they required such things as was most
necessary. But their opinion was otherwise, for they desired to pack
over as many as they could, saying that necessity would make them get
victuals for themselves, as for good laborers they were more useful
here in England.
But they found it otherwise. The charge was all one to send a workman
as a roarer, whose clamors to appease we had much ado to get fish and
corn to maintain them from one supply until another came with more loiterers
without victuals still to make us worse and worse. For the most of them
would rather starve than work. Yet had it not been for some few that
were gentlemen, both by birth, industry, and discretion, we could not
possibly have subsisted.
Many did urge I might have forced them to it, having the authority
that extended so far as death. but I say, having neither meat, drink,
lodging, pay, nor hope of anything or preferment, and seeing the merchants
only did what they listed with all they wrought for, I know not what
punishment could be greater than that which they endured which
miseries caused us always to be at factions, the most part striving
by any means to abandon the country, and I with my party to prevent
them and cause them stay. But indeed the cause of our factions was bred
here in England, and grew to that maturity among themselves that spoiled
all, as all the kingdom and other nations can testify.
Yet in the year 1622, there were about 7 or 8 thousand English, as
hath been said, so well trained, secure and well furnished, as they
reported and conceited. These simple savages, their bosom friends whom
I so much oppressed, had laid their plot how to cut all their throats
in a morning. And on the 22 March (1622/23), so innocently attempted
it, they slew 347, set their houses afire, slew their cattle, and brought
them to that distraction and confusion within less than a year, there
were not many more than 2000 remaining.
The which loss the Company did what they could, till they had consumed
all their stock as it is said. Then they broke, not making any account,
nor giving satisfaction to the lords, planters, adventurers, nor any,
whose noble intents had referred the managing of this intricate business
to a few that lost not by it. So His Majesty recalled their commission
(June, 1624) and by more just cause than they persuaded King
James to call in ours (in 1609) which were the first beginners
(without our knowledge and consent) disposing of us and all our endeavors
at their pleasure.
A great comfort to New England --- it is no island. A strange plague.
Notwithstanding since they have been left in a manner, as it were,
to themselves, they have increased their numbers to 4 or 5 thousand,
and near as many cattle, with plenty of goats, abundance of swine, poultry
and corn, that, as they report, they have sufficient and to spare to
entertain three or four hundred people which is much better than
to have many more people than provisions.
Now having glutted the world with their overabundant tobacco, reason,
necessity, or both will cause them, I hope, learn in time better to
fortify themselves, and make better use of the trials of the gross commodities
which I have propounded, and at first sent over. And were it not a lamentable
dishonor so goodly a country after so much cost. loss, and trouble should
now in this estate not be regarded and supplied.
And to those of New England may it not be a great comfort to have so
near a neighbor of their own nation, that may furnish them with their
spare cattle, swine, poultry, and other roots and fruits, much better
than from England. But I fear the seed of envy, and the rust of covetousness
doth grow too fast. For some men would advance Virginia to the ruin
of New England, and others the loss of Virginia to sustain New England,
which God of his mercy forbid. For at first it was intended that the
most memorable Judge Sir John Popham, then Lord Chief Justice of England,
and the Lords of His Majesty's Privy Council, with divers others, that
two colonies should be planted, as now they be, for the better strengthening
of each other against all occurrences. The which to perform, shall ever
my hearty prayers to Almighty God, to increase and continue that mutual
love betwixt them forever.
But this you may perceive somewhat, what unexpected inconveniences
are incident to a plantation, especially in such a multitude of voluntary
contributors, superfluity of officers, and inexperienced commissioners.
But it is not so, as yet, with those for New England. For they will
neither believe nor use such officers, in that they are overseers of
their own estates, and so well bred in labor and good husbandry as any
in England; where as few as I say was sent unto me in Virginia, but
those were naught here and worse there.
"Now when these shall have laid the foundations and provided the
means beforehand, they may entertain all the poor artificers and laborers
in England and their families which are burdensome to their parishes
and countries where they live upon alms and benevolence for want of
work; which if they would but pay for their transportation, they would
never be troubled with them more. For there is vast land enough for
all the people in England, Scotland, and Ireland. and it seems God hath
provided this country for our nation, destroying the natives by plague,
it not touching one Englishmen, though many traded and were conversant
amongst them. For they had three plagues in three years successively
near 200 miles along the seacoast, that in some places there scarce
remained five of a hundred, and as they report thus it began."
A fishing boat being castaway upon the coast, two of the men escaped
on shore. One of them died, the other lived among the natives till he
had learned their language. Then he persuaded them to become Christians,
showing them a Testament, some parts thereof expounding as well as he
could. But they so much derided him, that he told them he feared his
God would destroy them. Whereat the king assembled all his people about
a hill, himself with the Christian standing on the top, and demanded
if his God had so many people and able to kill all those?
He answered yes, and surely would, and bring in strangers to possess
their land. But so long they mocked him and God, that not long after
such a sickness came, that of five or six hundred about the Massachusetts
there remained but thirty, on whom their neighbors fell and slew 28.
The two remaining fled the Country till the English came, then they
returned and surrendered their country and title to the English.
If this be not true in every particular, excuse me, I pray you, for
I am not the author.* But it is most certain there was an exceeding
great plague amongst them. For where I have seen two or three hundred,
within three years there remained scarce thirty. But what disease it
was the savages knew not till the English told them, never having seen
nor heard of the like before.
*Edward Winslow, in "Good News from New England,"
Our right to those countries, true reasons for plantation, rare examples.
Many good religious devout men have made it a great question, as a
matter in conscience, by what warrant they might go and possess those
countries which are none of theirs, but (belong to) the poor
Which poor curiosity will answer itself for God did make the
world to be inhabited by mankind, and to have his name known to all
nations, and from generation to generation as the people increased and
dispersed themselves into such countries as they found most convenient.
And there in Florida, Virginia, New England and Canada is more land
than all the people of Christendom can cultivate, and yet more to spare
than all the natives of those countries can use and cultivate. And shall
we here keep such a small island, and at such great rents and rates,
where there is so much of the world uninhabited, and as much more in
other places, and as good or rather better than any we now possess,
were it cultivated and used accordingly?
If this be not a sufficient reason for such tender consciences, for
a copper knife and a few toys as beads and hatchets, they will sell
you a whole country; and for a small matter their houses and the ground
the dwell upon. But those of the Massachusetts, they have resigned theirs
Now the reasons for the plantations are many. Adam and Eve did first
begin this innocent work to plant the earth to remain to posterity,
but not without labor, trouble and industry. Noah and his family began
again the second plantation, and their seed as it still increased hath
still planted new countries. And one country another, so that the world
to that estate it is, but not without much hazard, travail, mortalities,
discontent, and many disasters. Had those worthy fathers and their memorable
offspring not been more diligent for us now in those ages than we are
to plant that yet unplanted for afterlivers; had the seed of Abraham,
our Savior Jesus Christ and his Apostles exposed themselves to no more
dangers to plant the gospel we so much profess; then we, even ourselves,
would be at present as savages, and as miserable as the most barbarous
savage yet uncivilized.
The Hebrews, Lacedemonians, Goths, Grecians, Romans and the rest
what was it they would not undertake to enlarge their territories, enrich
their subjects and resist their enemies? Those that were the founders
of those great monarchies and their virtues were no silver idle golden
Pharisees, but industrious honest hearted publicans. They regarded more
provisions and necessaries for their people than jewels, ease and delight
for themselves. Riches were their servants, not their masters. They
ruled as fathers, not as tyrants their people as children, not
slaves. There was no disaster could discourage them. And let none think
that they encountered all manner of encumbrances. and whatever hath
been the work of the best great princes of the world, but planting of
countries, and civilizing barbarous and inhuman nations to civility
and humanity whose eternal actions fill our histories with more
honor than those that have wasted and consumed them by wars.
Lastly, the Portuguese and Spaniards that first began plantations in
this unknown world of America till within these 140 years, whose everlasting
actions before our eyes will testify our idleness and ingratitude to
all posterity, and neglect of our duty and religion we owe our God,
King and country, and want of charity to those poor savages whose countries
we challenge and possess. Except we be but made to mar what our forefathers
made, or but only tell what they did, or esteem ourselves to be too
good to take the like pains where there is so much reason, liberty and
action offers itself. Having as much power and means as others, why
should Englishmen despair, and not do as much as any? Was it virtue
in those heroes to provide that which doth maintain us, and baseness
in us to do the like for others to come? Our abilities are much alike
at the hour of our birth and minute of our death. Seeing our good deeds
or bad, by faith in Christ's merits, is all we have to carry us to heaven
or hell; and seeing honor is our life's ambition, and our ambition after
death is to leave an honorable memory of our life; and seeing by no
means we would be abated of the dignity and glory of our predecessors:
Let us imitate their virtues to be worthily their successors; or at
least not hinder, if not further, them that would and do their utmost
and best endeavor.
My first voyage to New England, my return and profit.
To begin with the origins of the voyages to those coasts, I refer you
to my General History; for New England was esteemed by voyagers a most
rocky barren desert.
Notwithstanding, at the sole charges of four merchants of London and
myself, in 1614, within eight weeks of sailing, I arrived at Monhegan,
an isle in America at 43 degrees, 39 minutes of northerly latitude.
Had the fishing for whale proved as we expected, I would have stayed
in the country, but we found the plans we had so false, and the seasons
for fishing and trade by the unskillfulness of our pilot much mistaken.
I was contented, with fifteen or eighteen men at most having taken by
hooks and lines more than 60,000 cod in less than a month, whilst my
self and eight others of the men as might best be spared, by an hourglass
of three months ranging the coast in a small boat, got for trifles eleven
hundred beaver skins, besides otters and martins; all amounting to the
value of fifteen hundred pounds, and arrived in England with all my
men in health after six or seven months.
But northward, the French returned this year to France five and twenty
thousand beavers and good furs; whilst we were contending about patents
and commissions, with such fearful incredulity that more dazzled our
eyes than opened them.
In this voyage I took the description of the coast as well by map as
writing, and called it New-England; but malicious minds amongst sailors
and others, drowned that name with the echo of Nusconcus, Canaday, and
Penaquid, till, at my humble suit, our most gracious King Charles, then
Prince of Wales, was pleased to confirm it by that title, and did change
the barbarous names of their principal harbors and habitations for such
English names, that posterity may say King Charles was their Godfather:
and in my opinion it should seem an unmannerly presumption in any that
doth alter them without his leave.
My second voyage (1615) was to begin a Plantation, and to do
what else I could, but by extreme tempests that tore near all my masts
by the board, being more than two hundred leagues at sea, I was forced
to return to Plymouth with a jury-mast.
The third was intercepted by English and French pirates, by my treacherous
company that betrayed me to them, who ran away with my ship and all
that I had such enemies the sailors were to a plantation. The
greatest loss being mine, they did easily excuse themselves to the merchants
in England, who still provided for them to pursue the fishing.
Much difference there was betwixt the Londoners and the Westerlings
(the Plymouth company) to engross it, who now would adventure
thousands, that when I went first would not adventure a groat (4
pence); yet there went four or five good ships: but what by their
dissension, and the Turkish men of war that took the best of them in
the Straits (of Gibraltar), they scarce saved themselves this
At my return from France (December, 1616), I did my best to
have united them; but that had been more than a work for Hercules, so
violent is the folly of greedy covetousness.
A description of the Coast, Harbors, Habitations, Landmarks, Latitude,
Longitude, with the map.
This Country we now speak of lieth betwixt 41º and 44½º,
the very mean for heat and cold betwixt the Equinoctial and the North
Pole, in which I have sounded about five and twenty very good harbors;
in many whereof is anchorage for five hundred good ships of any burden,
in some of them for a thousand: and more than three hundred isles overgrown
with good timber or divers sorts of other woods; in most of them (in
their seasons) plenty of wild fruits, fish, and fowl, and pure springs
of most excellent water pleasantly distilling from their rocky foundations.
The principal habitations I was at Northward, was Pennobscot, who are
at war with the Terentines, their next Northerly neighbors.
Southerly up the rivers and along the coast we found Mecadacut, Segocket,
Pemmaquid, Nusconcus, Sagadahock, Satquin, Aumughcawgen, and Kenabeca.
To those belong the countries and people of Segotago, Pauhuntanuck,
Pocopassum, Taughtanakagnet, Wabigganus, Nassaque, Masherosqueck, Wawrigwick,
Moshoquen, Waccogo, Pasharanack, etc. To these are allied in confederacy,
the countries of Aucocisco, Accominticus, Passataquak, Augawoam and
Naemkeck. All these for any thing I could perceive differ little in
language or any thing, though most of them be Sagamos, and lords of
themselves; yet they hold the Bashabes of Pennobscot the chief and greatest
The next is Mattahunt, Totunt, Massachuset, Paconekick, then Cape Cod,
by which is Pawmet, the isles of Nawset and Capawuck, near which are
the shoals of rocks and sands that stretch themselves into the main
sea twenty leagues, and very dangerous betwixt the degrees of 40 and
Now beyond Cape Cod, the land extendeth itself Southward to Virginia,
Florida, the West Indies, the Amazons and Brazil, to the Straits of
Magellan, two and fifty degrees Southward beyond the Line; all those
great countries, differing as they are in distance North or South from
the Equinoctial, in temper, heat, cold, woods, fruits, fishes, beasts,
and birds, the increase and decrease of the night and day, to six months
day and six months night. Some say many of those nations are so brute
they have no religion, wherein surely and they may be deceived; for
my part I never saw nor heard of nigh any nation in the world which
had not religion, deer, bows and arrows.
Those in New-England, I take it, believe much alike as those in Virginia,
of many divine powers, yet of one above the rest; as the Southerly Virginians
call their chief god, Kewassa, and those near where we now inhabit,
Ogee: but all call their kings Werowanees. The Massachusets call their
great god Kichian, and their kings Sachems; and that we suppose their
devil, they call Habamouk. The Pennobscots call their god, Tantum; their
kings, Sagamos. About those countries are an abundance of several nations
and languages, but much alike in their simple curiosities, living and
workmanship, except the wild estate of their chief kings, etc., of whose
particular miserable magnificence (yet most happy in this, that they
never trouble themselves with such variety of apparel, drinks, viands,
sauces, perfumes, preservatives, and niceties as we; yet live as long,
and much more healthful and hardy): also the deities of their chiefest
gods, priests, conjurers, religion, temples, triumphs, physic, and chirurgery
(medicine); their births, educations, duty of their women, exercise
for their men; how they make all their instruments and engines to cut
down trees, make their clothes, boats, lines, nets, fish-hooks, weirs,
and traps, mats, houses, pots, platters, mortars, bows, arrows, targets,
swords, clubs, jewels, and hatchets. Their several sorts of woods, serpents,
beasts, fish, fowl, roots, berries, fruits, stones, and clay. Their
best trade, what is most fit to trade with them. With the particulars
of the charge of a fishing voyage, and all the necessaries belonging
to it, their best countries to vent it for their best returns; also
the particulars for every private man or family that goeth to plant,
and the best seasons to go or return thence; with the particular description
of the savages, habitations, harbors, and landmarks, their latitude,
longitude, or several distances, with their old names and the new by
the map augmented. Lastly, the power of their kings, obedience of their
subjects, laws, executions, planting their fields, huntings, fishings,
the manner of their wars and treacheries yet known; and in general,
their lives and conversation, and how to bridle their brute, barbarous,
and savage dispositions: of all these particulars you may read at large
in the General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles,
with many more such strange actions and accidents that to an ordinary
capacity might rather seem miracles than wonders possibly to be effected;
which though they are but wound up as bottoms of fine silk, which with
a good needle might he flourished into a far larger work, so the images
of great things are best discerned, contracted into smaller glasses.
New Englands yearly trials, the planting of New Plymouth, suprisals
prevented, their wonderful industry and fishing.
For all those differences there went eight tall ships before I arrived
in England from France, so that I spent that year (1617) in the
west country, to persuade the cities, towns, and gentry for a plantation;
which the merchants very little liked, because they would have the coast
free only for themselves, and the gentlemen were doubtful of their true
Oft and much it was so disputed, that at last they promised me the
next year twenty sail well furnished, made me Admiral of the country
for my life under their hands and the colonels scale for New-England;
and in renewing their letters patents, to be a patentee for my pains;
yet nothing but a voluntary fishing was effected, for all this air.
In those years many ships made exceeding good voyages, some in six
months, others in five: but one of two hundred ton in six weeks, with
eight and thirty men and boys had her fraught, which she sold at the
first penny for one and twenty hundred pounds, besides her furs. Six
or seven more went out of the west, and some sailors that had but a
single share, had twenty pounds and at home again in seven months, which
was more than such a one should have got in twenty months, had he gone
for wages anywhere: yet for all this, in all this time, though I had
divulged to my great labor, cost and loss, more than seven thousand
books and maps, and moved the particular Companies in London, as also
noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants for a plantation, all availed no
more than to hew rocks with oyster-shells; so fresh were the living
abuses of Virginia and the Summer Isles in their memories.
At last, upon those inducements, some well disposed Brownists, as they
are termed, with some gentlemen and merchants of Leiden and Amsterdam,
to save charges, would try their own conclusions, though with great
loss and much misery till time had taught them to see their own error;
for such humorists will never believe the truth, till they be beaten
with their own rod.
They were supplied with a small ship with seven and thirty passengers
(the Fortune, 1621), who found all well of them that were
left after they were seated, except six who had died, despite all their
poverties. In this ship they returned goods to the value of five hundred
pounds, which was taken by a French-man upon the coast of England.
There were (1621) gone from the west to fish five and thirty
sail; two from London with sixty passengers for them at New Plymouth:
and all made good voyages.
Now you are to understand, the seven and thirty passengers miscarrying
twice upon the coast of England, came so ill provided, they only relied
upon that poor company they found, that had lived two years by their
naked industry, and what the country naturally afforded. It is true,
at first, there hath been taken a thousand bass at a draught, and more
than twelve hogsheads of herrings in a night; of other fish when and
what they would, when they had means; but wanting most necessaries for
fishing and fowling, it is a wonder how they could subsist, fortify
themselves, resist their enemies, and plant their plants.
In July (1622), a group of straggling forlorn Englishmen (of
the Wessagussett plantation), whose wants they relieved, though
wanted themselves; the which to requite, destroyed their corn and fruits,
and would have done the like to them, and have taken all they had. The
salvages also intended the like, but wisely they slew the salvage captains;
and revenged those injuries upon the fugitive English, that would have
done the like to them.
New Plymouth plantation: extremity next despair, Gods great mercy,
their estate; they make good salt, an unknown rich mine.
At New Plymouth, having planted there fields and gardens, such an extraordinary
drought ensued (1623), all things withered so that they expected
no harvest. And having long expected a supply ship, they heard no news,
but a wreck split upon their coast, they supposed it their ship: thus
in the very labyrinth of despair, they solemnly assembled themselves
together nine hours in prayer. At their departure, the parching fair
skies became all overcast with black clouds; and the next morning such
a pleasant moderate rain continued fourteen days, that it was hard to
say, whether their withered fruits or drooping affections were most
Not long after came two ships (the Anne and the Little
James) to supply them, with all their passengers well except
one, and he presently recovered.
For themselves, for all their wants, there was not one sick person
amongst them. The greater ship they returned fraught with commodities.
This year went from England, only to fish, five and forty sail, and
have all made a better voyage than ever.
In this plantation there is about an hundred and four-score persons,
some cattle, but many swine and poultry. Their town contains two and
thirty houses, whereof seven were burnt, with the value of five or six
hundred pounds in other goods; within about half a mile of palisado,
and upon a high mount, a fort with a watch-tower, well built of stone,
loam, and wood, their ordnance well mounted: and so healthful, that
of the first planters not one hath died this three years.
Yet at the first landing at Cape Cod, being an hundred passengers,
besides twenty they had left behind at Plymouth, for want of good foresight,
thinking to find all things better than I advised them, spent six or
seven weeks in wandering up and down in frost and snow, wind and rain
among the woods, creeks and swamps. Forty of them died; and threescore
were left in most miserable estate at New-Plymouth where their ship
left them, and but nine leagues by sea from where they landed: whose
misery and variable opinions for want of experience, occasioned much
faction, till necessity united them.
These disasters, losses, and uncertainties, made such disagreement
among the adventurers in England, who began to repent, and preferred
to lose all than longer continue the charge, being out of purse six
or seven thousand pounds, accounting my books and their relations as
But the planters, rather than leave the country, concluded absolutely
to supply themselves, and to all their adventurers pay them for nine
years two hundred pounds yearly without any other account: where more
than six hundred adventurers for Virginia, for more than two hundred
thousand pounds, had not sixpence returned.
Since then they have made a salt works, wherewith they preserve all
the fish they take; and have freighted this year a ship of an hundred
and four score tons: living so well they desire nothing but more company:
and whatever they take, return commodities to the value.
Thus you may plainly see, although many envied that I should bring
so much from thence where many others had been the same year and returned
with nothing, reported the fish and beavers I brought home I had taken
from the Frenchmen of Canada, to discourage any from believing me, and
excuse their own misprisions: some only to have concealed this good
country (as is said) to their private use; others taxed me as much for
the indiscretion of making my discoveries and designs so public for
nothing, which might have been so well managed by some concealers, to
have been all rich ere any had known of it.
Those, and many such like wise rewards, have been my recompenses, for
which I am contented. For so long as the country prosper, and Gods
name be there praised by my countrymen, I have my desire. And the benefit
of this salted fish, for breeding mariners and building ships, will
make so many fit men to raise a commonwealth, and if but managed as
my General History will show you, it might well by this have been as
profitable as the best mine the King of Spain hath in his West Indies.
Notes worth observation: miserableness is no good husbandry.
Now if you but truly consider how many strange accidents have befallen
those plantations and myself; how oft up, oft down, sometimes near despair,
and ere long flourishing; how many scandals and spaniolized English
have sought to disgrace them, bring them to ruin or at least hinder
them all they could; how many have shaven and cozened both them and
me and their most honorable supporters and well-wishers; you cannot
but conceive Gods infinite mercy both to them and me.
Having been a slave to the Turks, prisoner amongst the most barbarous
savages, after my deliverance commonly discovering and ranging those
large rivers and unknown nations with such a handful of ignorant companions
that the wiser sort often gave me up for lost, always in mutinies, wants
and miseries, blown up with gunpowder, a long time prisoner among the
French pirates, from whom escaping in a little boat by myself, and adrift
all such a stormy winter night, when their ships were split, more than
a hundred thousand pounds lost of what they had taken at sea, and most
of them drowned upon the Ile de Ré, not far from whence I was
driven on shore in my little boat, etc. And many a score of the worst
of winter months I lived in the field: yet to have lived near 37 years
in the midst of wars, pestilence and famine, by which many an hundred
thousand have died about me, and scarce five are living of them that
went first with me to Virginia: and see the fruits of my labors thus
well begin to prosper, though I have but my pain for my labors, I have
much reason both privately and publicly to acknowledge and give God
thanks, whose omnipotent power only delivered me, and do the utmost
of my best to make his name known in those remote parts of the world,
and his loving mercy to such a miserable sinner.
Had my designs been to have persuaded men to a mine of gold, as I know
many have done that knew no such matter; though few do conceive either
the charge or pains in refining it, nor the power nor care to defend
it; or some new invention to pass to the South Sea; or some strange
plot to invade some strange monastery; or some chargeable fleet to take
some rich carracks; or letters of marque to rob some poor merchant or
honest fishermen: what multitudes of both people and money would contend
to be first employed! But in these noble endeavors now, how few, unless
it be to beg them as monopolies, and those seldom seek the common good,
but the commons goods, as the pages 217, 218 and 219 in the General
History will show. Indeed it is but a few noble gentlemen and their
associates, for whose better encouragements I have recollected these
experienced memorandums as an apology against all calumniating detractors,
as well for myself as them.
Now since those called Brownists went (some few before them also having
my books and maps, presumed they knew as much as they desired), many
other advisors they had as wise as themselves, but they were best liked
that held like conceits, for indeed they would not know any to have
any knowledge but themselves, pretending only religion their governor
and frugality their counsel, when indeed it was only their pride and
singularity and contempt of authority. Because they could not be equals,
they would have no superiors. In this fools paradise, they so
long used that good husbandry, that they have paid soundly in trying
their own follies. Who undertaking in small handfuls to make many plantations,
and to be several lords and kings of themselves, most vanished to nothing,
to the great disparagement of the general business. Therefore let them
take heed that do follow their example!
The mistaking of patents, strange effects, encouragements for
Who would not think that all those certainties should not have made
both me and this country to have prospered well by this? But it fell
out otherwise. For by the instigation some, whose policy had long watched
their opportunity by the assurance of those profitable returns, procured
new letters patent from King James; drawing in many noblemen and others
to the number of twenty, for patentees; dividing my map and that tract
of land from the North Sea to the South Sea, east and west, which is
supposed by most cosmographers at least more than two thousand miles;
and from 41 degrees to 48 of northerly latitude about 560 miles; the
bounds Virginia to the south, and South Sea to the west, Canada to the
north, and the Atlantic to the east; all this they divided into twenty
parts, for which they cast lots; but no lot for me but Smiths
Isles, which are a group of barren rocks, the most over grown with such
shrubs and sharp spines you can hardly walk on them, without either
grass or wood but three or four short shrubby old cedars.
Those patentees procured a proclamation, that no ship for should go
thither to fish but pay them for the public, as it was pretended, five
pound upon every thirty tons of shipping; neither trade with the natives,
cut down wood, throw their ballast overboard, nor plant without commission,
leave and contentment of the lord of that division or manor; some of
which I believe will be tenantless this thousand years. Thus whereas
this country, as the contrivers of those projects have oft told me,
should have planted itself of itself, especially all the chief parts
along the coast, the first year: and chiefly by the fishing ships and
some small help of their own (thinking men would be glad upon any terms
to be admitted under their protections). But it proved so contrary,
none would go at all. So, for fear to make a contempt against the proclamation,
it hath ever since been little frequented to any purpose: nor would
any do anything, but left it to itself.
Thus it lay again in a manner wasted till certain noble gentlemen thus
voluntarily undertook it, whom I entreat to take this as a memorandum
of my love, to make your plantations so near and great as you can: for
many hands make light work, whereas yet your small parties can do nothing
available; nor stand too much upon the letting, setting, or selling
those wild countries, nor impose too much upon the commonalty either
by your magazines which commonly eat out all poor mens labors;
nor any other too hard imposition for present game; but let every man
so it be by order allotted him, plant freely without limitation so much
as he can, be it by the halves or other ways. And at the end of five
or six years, or when you make a division, for every acre he hath planted,
let him have twenty, thirty, forty, or an hundred; or as you find he
hath extraordinarily deserved, by itself to him and his heirs for ever;
all his charges being defrayed to his lord or master, and public good.
In so doing, a servant that will labor, within four or five a years
may live as well there as his master did here: for where there is so
much land lying waste, it were madness in a man at first to buy, or
hire, or pay anything more than an acknowledgment to whom it shall be
due; and he is double mad that will leave his friends, means, and freedom
in England, to be worse there than here.
Therefore let all men have as much freedom in reason as may be, and
true dealing; for it is the greatest comfort you can give them, where
the very name of servitude will breed much ill blood, and become odious
to God and man: but mildly temper correction with mercy, for I know
well you will have occasion enough to use both; and in thus doing, doubtless
God will bless you, and quickly triple and multiply your numbers; the
which to my utmost I will do my best endeavor.
The planting Bastable or Salem and Charlton, a description of the Massachusetts.
In all those plantations, yea, of those that have done least, yet the
most will say, we were the first; and so every next supply, still the
next beginner: but seeing history is the memory of time, the life of
the dead, and the happiness of the living; because I have more plainly
discovered and described and discoursed of those countries than any
as yet I know, I am the bolder to continue the story, and do all men
right so near as I can in those new beginnings, which hereafter perhaps
may be in better request than a forest of nine-days pamphlets.
In the year 1629, about March, six good ships are gone with 350 men,
women, and children; people professing themselves of good rank, zeal,
means, and quality: also 150 head of cattle, as horse, mares, and neat
beasts; 41 goats, some rabbits, with all provision for household and
apparel; six pieces of great ordnance for a fort, with muskets, pikes,
corselets, drums and colors, with all provisions necessary for the good
They are seated about 42 degrees and 38 minutes, at a place called
by the natives Naemkecke, by our royal King Charles, Bastable; but now
by the planters, Salem: where they arrived for most part exceeding well,
their cattle and all things else prospering exceedingly, far beyond
At this place they found some reasonably good provision and houses
built by some few of Dorchester, with whom they are joined in society
with two hundred men.
An hundred and fifty more they have sent to the Massachusetts, which
they call Charlton or Charlestown. I took the fairest reach of this
bay for a river, whereupon I called it Charles River, after the name
of our royal King Charles; but they find that fair channel to divide
itself into so many fair branches as made forty or fifty pleasant islands
within that excellent bay, where the land is of divers and sundry sorts,
in some places very black and fat, in others good clay, sand and gravel,
the superficies neither too flat in plains, nor too high in hills. In
the isles you may keep your hogs, horse, cattle, rabbits, or poultry
secure for little or nothing, and to command when you list; only having
a care of provision for some extraordinary cold winter. In these isles,
as in the mainland, you may make your nurseries for fruits and plants
where you put no cattle; in the main you may shape your orchards, vineyards,
pastures, gardens, walks, parks, and cornfields out of the whole piece
as you please into such plots, one adjoining to another, leaving every
of them environed with two, three, four, or six, or so many rows of
well grown trees as you will, ready grown to your hands, to defend them
from ill weather, which in a broader plain you could not in many ages;
and this at first you may do with as much facility as by carelessly
or ignorantly cut down all before you, and then after better consideration
make ditches, pales, plant young trees with excessive charge and labor,
seeing you may have so many great and small growing trees for your mainposts,
to fix hedges, palisados, houses, rails or what you will. Which order
in Virginia hath not been so well observed as it might: where all the
woods for many an hundred mile for the most part grow slight, like unto
the high grove or tuft of trees upon the high hill by the house of that
worthy knight Sir Humphrey Mildmay, so remarkable in Essex in the parish
of Danbury, where I wrote this discourse, but much taller and greater;
neither grow they so thick together by the half, and much good ground
between them without shrubs, and the best is ever known by the greatness
of the trees and the verdure it beareth.
Now in New England the trees are commonly lower, but much thicker and
firmer wood, and more proper for shipping, of which I will speak a little,
being the chief engine we are to use in this work; and the rather for
that within a square of twenty leagues, you may have all, or most of
the chief materials belonging to them, were they wrought to their perfection
as in other places.
Of all manufactures a ship is the most excellent, requiring more art
in building, rigging, sailing, trimming, defending, and mooring, with
such a number of several terms and names in continual motion, not understood
of any landsman, as none would think of but some few that know them
(for whose better instruction I wrote my sea-grammar: a book most necessary
for those plantations), because there is scarce anything belonging to
a ship, but the sea-terms, charge and duty of every officer is plainly
expressed, and also any indifferent capacity may conceive how to direct
an unskillful carpenter, or sailor to build boats and barks sufficient
to sail those coasts and rivers, and put a good workman in mind of many
things in this business he may easily mistake or forget.
But to be excellent in this faculty is the masterpiece of all most
necessary workmen in the world. The first rule or model thereof being
directed by God himself to Noah for his ark; which he never did to any
other building but his temple: which is tossed and turned up and down
the world with the like dangers, miseries, and extremities as a ship,
sometimes tasting the fury of the four elements, as well as she, by
unlimited tyrants in their cruelty for tortures, that it is hard to
conceive whether those inhumanes exceed the beasts of the forest, the
birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, either in numbers, greatness,
swiftness, fierceness, or cruelty: whose actions and varieties, with
such memorable observations as I have collected, you shall find with
admiration in my history of the sea, if God be pleased I live to finish
Extraordinary means for building, many caveats, increase of corn, how
to spoil the woods for anything, their healths.
For the building of houses, towns, and fortresses, where shall a man
find the like convenience, as stones of most sorts, as well lime stone,
if I be not much deceived, as iron stone, smooth stone, blue slate for
covering houses, and great rocks we supposed marble, so that one place
is called the marble harbor (modern Marblehead).
There is grass aplenty, though very long and thick stalked, which being
neither mown nor eaten, is very rank; yet all their cattle like and
prosper well therewith. But indeed it is weeds, herbs, and grass growing
together, which although they be good and sweet in the Summer, they
will deceive your cattle in winter. Therefore be careful in the spring
to mow the swamps, and the low islands of Auguan (modern Ipswich),
where you may have harsh shear-grass enough to make hay of till you
can clear ground to make pasture; which will bear as good grass as can
grow any where, as now it doth in Virginia: and unless you make this
provision, if there come an extraordinary winter, you will lose many
of them and hazard the rest; especially if you bring them in the latter
end of Summer, or before the grass be grown in the spring, coming weak
All things they plant prosper exceedingly: but one man of 13 gallons
of Indian corn, reaped that years 364 bushels London measure, as they
confidently report, at which I much wonder, having planted many bushels,
but no such increase.
The best way we found in Virginia to spoil the woods, was first to
cut a notch in the bark a hand broad round about the tree, which peel
off and the tree will sprout no more, and all the small boughs in a
year or two will decay. The greatest branches in the root they spoil
with fire, but you with more ease may cut them from the body and they
will quickly rot.
Betwixt those trees they plant their corn, whose great bodies do much
defend it from extreme gusts, and heat of the sun. While in the plains,
where the trees by the time they have consumed, is subject to both:
and this is the most easy way to have pasture and cornfields, which
is much more fertile than the other.
In Virginia they never manure their overworn fields, which is very
few, the ground for the most part is so fertile. But in New England
they do, sticking at every plant of corn, a herring or two; which cometh
in that season in such abundance, they may take more than they know
what to do with.
Some infirmed bodies, or tender educates, complain of the piercing
cold, especially in January and February; yet the French in Canada,
the Russians, the Swedish, Polanders, Germans, and our neighbor Hollanders,
are much colder and far more northward; for all that, rich countries
and live well. Now they have wood enough if they will cut it, at their
doors to make fires; and train oil with the splinters of the roots of
fir trees for candles: whereas in Holland they have little or none to
build ships, houses, or anything but what they fetch from foreign countries,
yet they dwell but in the latitude of Yorkshire; and New- England is
in the latitude of the north cape of Spain, which is 10 degrees, 200
leagues, or 600 miles nearer the sun than we, where upon the mountains
of Biscay I have felt as much cold, frost, and snow as in England. And
of this I am sure, a good part of the best countries and kingdoms of
the world, both northward and southward of the line, lie in the same
parallels of Virginia and New England, as at large you may find in the
210th page of the General History.
Thus you may see how prosperously thus far they have proceeded, in
which course by Gods grace they may continue; but great care would
be had they pester not their ships too much with cattle nor passengers,
and to make good conditions for your peoples diet, for therein
is used much legerdemain: therefore in that you cannot be too careful
to keep your men well, and in health at sea. In this case some masters
are very provident , but the most part so they can get fraught enough,
care not much whether the passengers live or die. For a common sailor
regards not a landsman, especially a poor passenger; as I have seen
too oft proved by lamentable experience, although we have victualed
them all at our own charges.
Their great supplies, present estate and accidents, advantage.
Who would not think but that all those trials had been sufficient to
lay a foundation for a plantation; but we see many men, many minds,
and still new lords, new laws: for those 350 men with all their cattle
that so well arrived and promised so much, not being of one body, but
several mens servants, few could command and fewer obey, lived
merrily of that they had, neither planting or building anything to any
purpose, but one fair house for the governor, till all was spent and
the winter approached; then they grew into many diseases, and as many
inconveniences, depending only on a supply from England, which expected
houses, gardens, and cornfields ready planted by them for their entertainment.
It is true, that master John Winthrop, their new governor, a worthy
gentleman both in estate and esteem, went so well provided (for six
or seven hundred people went with him) as could be devised; but at sea,
such an extraordinary storm encountered his fleet, continuing ten days,
that of two hundred cattle which were so tossed and bruised, threescore
and ten died, many of their people fell sick, and in this perplexed
estate, after ten weeks, they arrived in New England at several times:
where they found threescore of their people dead, the rest sick, nothing
done; but all complaining, and all things so contrary to their expectation,
that now every monstrous humor began to show itself.
And to second this, near as many more came after them, but so ill provided,
with such multitudes of women and children, as redoubled their necessities.
This small trial of their patience caused among them no small confusion,
and put the governor and his council to their utmost wits. Some could
not endure the name of a bishop, others not the sight of a cross nor
surplice, others by no means the book of common prayer. This absolute
crew, only of the elect, holding all (but such as themselves) reprobates
and castaways, now make more haste to return to Babel as they termed
England, than stay to enjoy the land they called Canaan: somewhat they
must say to excuse themselves.
Those he (Winthrop) found Brownists, he let go for New-Plymouth;
who are now betwixt four or five hundred, and live well without want.
Some two hundred of the rest he was more content to return for England,
whose clamors are as variable as their humors and auditors. Some say
they could see no timber of two feet diameter, some the country is all
woods; others they drank all the springs and ponds dry, yet like to
famish for want of fresh water; some of the danger of the rattlesnake;
and that others sold their provisions at what rates they pleased to
them that wanted, and so returned to England great gainers out of others
miseries: yet all that returned are not of those humors.
Notwithstanding all this, the noble governor was no way disanimated,
neither repents him of his enterprise for all those mistakes: but did
order all things with that temperance and discretion, and so relieved
those that wanted with his own provision, that there is six or seven
hundred remained with him; and more than 1600 English in all the country,
with three or four hundred head of cattle.
As for corn they are very ignorant, if upon the coast of America, they
do not before the end of this October for toys (traded with the Indians)
furnish themselves with two or three thousand bushels of Indian corn,
which is better than ours; and in a short time cause the salvages to
do them as good service as their own men, as I did in Virginia; and
yet neither use cruelty nor tyranny amongst them: a consequence well
worth putting in practice; and till it be effected, they will hardly
I know ignorance will say it is impossible, but this impossible task,
ever since the massacre in Virginia, I have been a suitor to have undertaken
but with 150 men, to have got corn, fortified the country, and discovered
them more land than they all yet know or have demonstrated: but the
merchants common answer was, necessity in time would force the planters
to do it themselves; and rather thus husbandry to lose ten sheep, than
be at the charge of a half penny worth of tar.
Who is it that knows not what a small handful of Spaniards in the West
Indies, subdued millions of the inhabitants, so depopulating those countries
they conquered, that they are glad to buy Negroes in Africa at a great
rate, in countries far remote from them; which although they be as idle
and as devilish people as any in the world, yet they cause them quickly
to be their best servants. Notwithstanding, there is for every four
or five natural Spaniards, two or three hundred Indians and Negroes;
and in Virginia and New England more English than savages that can assemble
themselves to assault or hurt them, and it is much better to help to
plant a country than unplant it and then replant it: but there Indians
were in such multitudes, the Spaniards had no other remedy; and ours
such a few, and so dispersed, it were nothing in a short time to bring
them to labor and obedience. It is strange to me, that Englishmen should
not do as much as any; but upon every slight affront, instead to amend
it, we make it worse. Notwithstanding the worst of all those rumors,
the better sort there are constant in their resolutions, and so are
the most of their best friends here; and making provision to supply
them, many conceive they make a dearth here, which is nothing so; for
they would spend more here than they transport thither.
One ship this Summer with twenty cattle, and forty or fifty passengers
arrived all well; and the ship at home again in nine weeks: another
for all this exclamation of want, is returned with 10,000 codfish, and
fourscore kegs of sturgeon; which they did take and save when the season
was near past, and in the very heat of Summer; yet as good as can be.
Since then, another ship is gone from Bristol, and many more are providing
to follow them with all speed. Thus you may plainly see for all these
rumors, they are in no such distress as is supposed. As for their mischances,
misprisions, or what accidents may befall them, I hope none is so malicious,
as attribute the fault to the country nor me. Yet if some blame us not
both, it were more than a wonder. For I am not ignorant that ignorance
and too curious spectators make it a great part of their profession
to censure (however) any mans actions, they who, having lost the
path to virtue, will make most excellent shifts to mount up anyway.
Such incomparable connivance is in the devils most punctual cheaters,
they will hazard a joint, but where God hath his church they will have
a chapel; a mischief so hard to be prevented that I have thus plainly
adventured to show my feelings, through the weakness of my ability.
You may easily know them by their absoluteness in opinions, holding
experience but the mother of fools, which indeed is the very ground
of reason; and he that condemns her in those actions, may find occasion
enough to use all the wit and wisdom he hath to correct his own folly,
that thinks to find amongst those savages such churches, palaces, monuments,
and buildings as are in England.
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