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FROM GOVERNOUR THOMAS DUDLEY, TO BRIDGET, COUNTESS OF
LINCOLN, WRITTEN NINE MONTHS AFTER THE ARRIVAL OF THE EMIGRANTS IN THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
“ To the righte honourable, my very good Lady,
the Lady Brydget, Countesse of Lincoln. MADAM, ..
Your l’res (which are not common or cheape,) following mee hether into New-England, and bringeing with them renewed testimonies of the accustomed favours you honoured mee with in the old, haue drawne from mee this narrative retribucon, (which in respect of your proper interest in some persons of great note amongst us) was the thankfullest present I had to send over the seas. Therefore I humblie intreat your honour this bee accepted as payment from him, who neither hath, nor is any more, than your honours old thankful servant,
Thomas Dudley." ;
“ Boston in New-England
March 12th 1630," i. e. 1631.
“For the satisfacon of your honour and some freinds, and for vse of such as shall hereafter intend to increase our plantation in New England, I have in the throng of domestick, and not altogeather free from publique businesse, thought fitt to comit to memory our present condition, and what hath befallen us since our arrivall here; which I will doe shortly, after my usual manner, and must doe rudely, haveing yet no table, nor other room to write in, than by the fire side upon my knee, in this sharp
winter; to which my family must have leave to resorte, though they break good manners, and make mee many times forget what I would say, and say what I would not.”
[He probably first gives some description of the Bays and Rivers, and after this appears an account of the Indian Sagamores, or Sachems, of which a few lines are gone.]
* * * * * * * « Sachim in New England, whom I saw the last somer. Vppon the river of Naponset, neere to the Mattachusetts feilds dwelleth Chickatalbott who hath betweene 50 & 60 subiects. This man least favoureth the English of any Sagamore (for soe are the kinges with vs called, as they are Sachims Southwards ) wee are acquainted with, by reason of the old quarrell betweene him and those of Plymouth wherein hee lost 7 of his best men, yet hee lodged one night the last winter at my house in freindly manner. About 70 or 80 miles westward from theis are seated the Nipnett men whose Sagamore wee know not, but wee heare their numbers exceed any but the Pecoates and the Narragansets and they are the only people wee yet heare of in the inland Country. Vppon the river of Mistick is seated Saggamore John*, and vppon the river of Sawgus Sagamore Jamest his brother, both soe named by the English. The elder brother John is an handsome young [ one line missing conversant with us affecting English apparell and howses and speaking well of our God. His brother James is of a farr worse disposition, yet repaireth often to us. Both theis brothers command not above 30 or 40 men for aught I can learne. Neer to Salem dwelleth two or three families, subiect to the Saggamore of Agawam whose name hee tould mee, but I have forgotten it. This Sagamore hath but few subiects, and them and himselfe tributary to Sagamore James, haveing beene before the last yeare (in James his minority) tributary to Chicka Talbott. Vppon the river Merrimack is seated Sagamore Passaconaway haveing under his comand 4 or 500 men, being esteemed by his countrymen a false fellow, and by us a wich. Ffor any more northerly I know not, but leave it to after relacons. Haueing thus breifly & disorderly especially in my description of the Bays and Rivers set downe what is come to hand touching the one line missing.)
Now concerninge the English that are planted here, I find that about the yeare 1620 certaine English sett out from Leyden in Holland intendinge their course for Hudson's river the mouth whereof lyeth south of the river of the Pecoates, but ariseth as I am informed northwards in about 43 degrees, and soe a good part of it within the compass of our patent. Theis being much weather beaten and wearied with seekinge the river after a most tedious voyage arrived at length in a small Bay ·lyeing north east from Cape Cod, where, landing about the month of December, by the favour of a calme winter such as was never seen here since, begunne to build their dwellings in that place which now is called New Plymouth, where, after much sicknes famine, poverty & great mortality, (through all which God by an unwonted Providence carried them) they are now growne upp to a people, healthful, wealthy, politique & religious. Such things doth the Lord for those that waite for his mercies. Theis of Plymouth came with Patents from King James and have since obtained others from our Sovereigne King Charles, haueinge a Governour and Counsaile of their owne.
* His Indian name was Wonohaquaham.
+ His Indian name was Montowampate. He died three years after the date of this letter. Lewis' Hist. of Lynn. 16, 17.
There was about the same time one Mr. Wesen* an English merchant who sent diverse men to plant and trade who sate doune by the river of Wesaguscus, but theis comeing not for soe good ends as those of Plymouth spedd not soe well, for the most of them dyinge and languishing away, they who survived were rescued by those of Plymouth out of the hands of Chickatalbott, and his Indians who oppressed these weake English, and intended to haue destroyed them, and the Plymotheans also, as is sett downe in a tract written by Mr. Winslow of Plymouth. Alsoe since one Capt. Wollastone with some 30 with him, came neer to the same place & built on a hill which he named Mount Wollaston, but being not supplied with renewed provisions they vanished away as the former did-Also diverse merchants of Bristow, and some other places haue yearly for theis 8 years or thereabouts sent shipps hether at the fishing times to trade for Beaver where their factors, dishonestly for their gaines, haue furnished the Indians with Guns, Swords, powder & shott.
Touching the plantacon which wee here haue begun, it fell out thus about the yeare 1627 some freinds beeing togeather in Lincolnesheire, fell into some discourse about New England and the plantinge of the gospell there; and after some deliberation, we imparted our reasons by l’res & messages to some in London & the west country where it was likewise deliberately thought vppon, and at length with often negociation soe ripened that in the year 1628. wee procured a patent from his Ma’tie for our planting between the Matachusetts Bay, and Charles river on the South; and the River of Merimack on the North and 3 miles on ether side of those Rivers & Bay, as allso for
* Thomas Weston.
find there which a plantacon Mr. John
the government of those who did or should inhabit within that compass and the same year we sent Mr. John Endecott & some with him to beginne a plantacon & to strengthen such as he should find there which wee sent thether from Dorchester & some places adioyning ; ffrom whom the same year receivinge. hopefull news. The next year 1629 wee sent diverse shipps over with about 300 people, and some Cowes, Goates & horses many of which arrived safely. Theis by their too large comendacons of, the country, and the comodities thereof, invited us soe strongly to goe on that Mr. Wenthropp of Soffolke (who was well knowne in bis owne country & well approved heere for his pyety, liberality, wisedome & gravity) comeinge in to us, wee came to such resolution that in April 1630, wee sett saile from Old England with 4 good shipps.* And in May following 8 mcre followed, 2 haveing gone before in Ffebruary and March, and 2 more following in June and August, besides another set out by a private merchant. Theis 17 Shipps arrived all safe in New England, for the increase of the plantacon here theis yeare 1630 but made a long, a troublesome, and a costly voy’ge beeing all wind bound long in England, and hindred with contrary winds after they set saile and so scattered with mists and tempests that few of them anirrd togeather. Our 4 shipps which sett out in Aprill arrived here in June and July, where wee found the colony in a sadd and unexpected condicon aboue 80 of them beeing dead the winter before and many of those aliue weake and sicke: all the corne & bread amongst them all hardly sufficient to feed them a fortnight, insoemuch that the remainder of 180 servents wee had the 2 years before sent over, comeinge to vs for victualls to sustaine , them wee found ourselves wholly unable to feed them by reason that the p’visions shipped for them were taken out of the shipp they were put in, and they who were trusted to shipp them in another failed us, and left them behind; whereupon necessity enforced us to our extreme loss to giue them all libertie; who had cost us about: 16 or 20 £s a person furnishing and sending over. But bearing theis things as wee might, wee beganne to consult of the place of our sitting downe: ffor Salem where wee landed, pleased us not. And to that purpose some were sent to the Bay to search vpp the rivers for a convenient place; who vppon their returne reported to haue found a good place vppon Mistick; but some other of us seconding theis to approoue or
merito us recom dislike of their judgement; we found a place liked vs better 3
me icon Pp botter leagues vp Charles river--And there vppon vnshipped our goods into other vessels and with much cost and labour brought
* The Arbella, Jewell, Ambrose, and Talbot.