« PreviousContinue »
To the Reader.
MMEader, doe not disdaine to read this Relation; and looke not here to haue a large Gate and no building within; a full-stuffed Title with no matter in the Booke: But here reade the truth, and that thou shalt find without any frothy bumbasted words, or any quaint new-deuised additions, onely as it was written (not intended for the Presse) by a reuerend Diuine now there liuing, who onely sent it to some Friends here, which were desirous of his Relations; which is an Epitomy of their proceedings in the Plantation. And for thy Part if thou meanest to be no Planter nor Venturer, doe but lend thy good Prayers for the furthrance of it. And so 1 rest a well-wisher to all the good designes both of them which are gone, and of them that
are to goe.
LEtting passe our Voyage by Sea, we will now begin our discourse on the shore of New-England. And because the life and wel-fare of euerie Creature here below, and the commodiousnesse of the Countrey whereas such Creatures hue, doth by the most wise ordering of Gods prouidence, depend next vnto himselfe, vpon the temperature and disposition of the foure Elements, Earth, Water, Aire and Fire (For as of the mixture of all these, all sublunarie things are composed; so by the more or lesse injoyment of the wholesome temper and conuenient vse of these, consisteth the onely wellbeing both of Man and Beast in a more or lesse comfortable measure in all Countreys vnder the Heauens) Therefore I will endeauour to shew your what New-England is by the consideration of each of these apart, and truly endeauour by Gods helpe to report nothing but the naked truth, and that both to tell you of the discommodities as well as of the commodities, though as the idle Prouerbe is, Trauellers may lye by authoritie, and so may take too much sinfull libertie that way. Yet I may say of my selfe as once Nehemiah did in another case: Shall such a Man as I lye? No verily; It becommeth not a Preacher of Truth to be a Wiiter of Falshood in any degree: and therefore I haue beene carefull to report nothing of New-England but what I haue partly seene with mine owne Eyes, and partly heard and enquired from the Mouthes of verie honest and religious persons, who by liuing in the Countrey a good space of time haue had experience and knowledge of the state thereof, and whose testimonies I doe beleeue as my selfe. First therefore of the Earth of New-England and all the
appurtenances thereof; It is a Land of diuers and sundry sorts all about Masathuhts Bay, and at Charles Riuer is as fat blacke Earth as can be seene any where: and in other places you haue a clay soyle, in other grauell, in other sandy, as it is all about our Plantation at Salem, for so our Towne is now named, Psal. 76.2.
The forme of the Earth here in the superficies of it is neither too flat in the plainneBse, nor too high in Hils, but partakes of both in a mediocritie, and fit for Pasture, or for Plow or Meddow ground, as Men please to employ it: though all the Countrey be as it were a thicke Wood for the generall, yet in diuers places there is much ground cleared by the Indians, and especially about the Plantation: and I am told that about three miles from vs a Man may stand on a little hilly place and see diuers thousands of acres of ground as good as need to be, and not a Tree in the same. It is thought here is good Clay to make Bricke and Tyles and Earthen-Pots as needs to be. At this instant we are setting a Bricke-Kil on worke to make Brickes and Tyles for the building of our Houses. For Stone, here is plentie of Slates at the He of Slate in Masathuhts Bay, and Lime-stone, Free-stone, and Smooth-stone, and Iron-stone, and Marble-stone also in such store, that we haue great Rockes of it, and a Harbour hard by. Our Plantation is from thence called Marble-harbour.
Of Minerals there hath yet becne but little trial made, yet we are not without great hope of being furnished in that Soyle.
The fertilitie of the Soyle is to be admired at, as appeareth in the aboundance of Grasse that groweth euerie where both verie thicke, verie long, and verie high in diuers places: but it groweth very wildly with a great stalke and a broad and ranker blade, because it neuer had been eaten with Cattle, nor mowed with a Sythe, and seldome trampled on by foot. It is scarce to be beleeued how our Kine and Goats, Horses and Hogges doe thriue and prosper here and like well of this Countrey.
In our Plantation we haue already a quart of Milke for a penny: but the aboundant encrease of Corne proues this Countrey to be a wonderment. Thirtie, fortie, fiftie, sixtie, are ordinarie here: yea losephs encrease in JEgypt is out-stript here with vs. Our Planters hope to haue more then a hundred fould this yeere: and all this while I am within compasse; what will you say of two hundred fould and vpwards? It is almost incredible what great gaine some of our English Planters haue had by our Indian Corne. Credible persons haue assured me, and the partie himselfe auouched the truth of it to me, that of the setting of 13 Gallons of Corne he hath had encrease of it 52 Hogsheads, euerio Hogshead holding seuen Bushels of London measure, and euerie Bushell was by him sold and trusted to the Indians for so much Beauer as was worth 18 shillings; and so of this 13 Gallons of Corne which was worth 6 shillings 8 pence, he made about 327 pounds of it the yeere following, as by reckoning will appeare: where you may see how God blesseth husbandry in this Land. There is not such great and beautifull eares of Corne I suppose any where else to be found but in this Countrey: being also of varietie of colours, as red, blew and yellow, &c. and of one Corne there springeth foure or flue hundred. I haue sent you many Eares of diuers colours that you might see the truth of it.
Little Children here by setting of Corne may earne much more then their owne maintenance.
They haue tryed our English Corne at new Plimouth Plantation, so that all our seuerall Graines will grow here verie well, and haue a fitting Soyle for their nature. ,
Our Gouernour hath store of greene Pease growing in his Garden as good as euer I eat in England.
This Countrey aboundeth naturally with store of Roots of great varietie and good to eat. Our Turnips, Parsnips and Carrots are here both bigger and sweeter then is ordinarily to be found in England. Here are also store of Pumpions, Cowcumbers, and other things of that nature which I know not. Also, diuers excellent Pot-herbs grow abundantly among the Grasse, as Strawberrie leaues in all places of the Countrey, and plentie of Strawberries in their time, and Penyroyall, Wintersauerie, Sorrell, Brookelime, Liuerwort, Caruell and Watercresses, also Leekes and Onions are ordinarie, and diuers Physicall Herbes. Here are also aboundance of other sweet Herbes delightful to the smell, whose names we know not, &c. and plentie of single Damaske Roses verie sweet; and two kinds of Herbes that beare two kind of Flowers very sweet, which they say, are as good to make Cordage or Cloath as any Hempe or Flaxe we haue.
Excellent Vines are here vp and downe in the Woods. Our Gouernour hath already planted a Vineyard with great hope of encrease.
Also, Mulberies, Plums, Raspbteries, Corrance, Chesnuts, Filberds, Walnuts, Smalnuts, Hurtleberies and Hawes of Whitethorne neere as good as our Cherries in England, they grow in plentie here.
For Wood there is no better in the World I thinke,here being foure sorts of Oke differing both in the Leafe, Timber, and Colour, all excellent good. There is also good Ash, Eleme, Willow, Birch, Beech, Saxafras, Iuniper Cipres, Cedar, Spruce, Pines and Firre that will yeeld abundance of Terpentine, Pitch,