XXIX. A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia: of the commodities there found, and to be raised, aswell merchantable as others: Written by Thomas Heriot, seruant to Sir Walter Ralegh, a member of the Colony, and there imployed in discouering a full tweluemonth.
Ralfe Lane one of her Majesties Esquiers, and Gouernour of the Colony in Virginia, aboue mentioned, for the time there resident, to the gentle Reader wisheth all happinesse in the Lord.
Albeit (gentle Reader) the credit of the reports in this Treatise contained can little be furthered by the testimony of one as my selfe, through affection iudged partiall, though without desert; neuerthelesse, forasmuch as I haue bene requested by some my particular friends, who conceiue more rightly of me, to deliuer freely my knowledge of the same, not onely for the satisfying of them, but also for the true information of any other whosoeuer, that comes not with a preiudicate minde to the reading thereof: thus much vpon my credit I am to affirme, that things vniuersally are so truely set downe in this Treatise by the authour thereof, an actor in the Colony, and a man no lesse for his honesty then learning commendable, as that I dare boldly auouch, it may very well passe with the credit of trueth euen amongst the most true relations of this age. Which as for mine owne part I am ready any way with my word to acknowledge, so also (of the certaintie thereof assured by mine owne experience) with this publique assertion I doe affirme the same. Farewell in the Lord.
To the Aduenturers, Fauourers, and Welwillers of the enterprise for the inhabiting and planting in Virginia.
Since the first vndertaking by Sir Walter Ralegh to deale in the action of discouering of that countrey which is now called and knowen by the name of Virginia, many voyages hauing beene thither made at sundry times to his great charge; as first in the yere 1584, and afterwards in the yeres 1585, 1586, and now of late this yeere 1587: there haue bene diuers and variable reports with some slanderous and shameful speeches bruted abroad by many that returned from thence: especially of that discouery which was made by the Colony transported by Sir Richard Grinuile in the yere 1585, being of all others the most principall, and as yet of most effect, the time of their abode in the countrey being a whole yere, when as in the other voyage before they stayed but sixe weeks, and the others after were onely for supply and transportation, nothing more being discouered than had bene before. Which reports haue not done a little wrong to many that otherwise would haue also fauoured and aduentured in the action, to the honour and benefit of our nation, besides the particular profit and credit which would redound to themselues the dealers therein, as I hope by the sequel of euents, to the shame of those that haue auouched the contrary, shall be manifest, if you the aduenturers, fauourers, and welwillers doe but either increase in number, or in opinion continue, or hauing beene doubtfull, renew your good liking and furtherance to deale therein according to the woorthinesse thereof already found, and as you shall vnderstand hereafter to be requisite. Touching which woorthinesse through cause of the diuersity of relations and reports, many of your opinions could not be firme, nor the minds of some that are well disposed be setled in any certainty.
I haue therefore thought it good, being one that haue beene in the discouerie, and in dealing with the naturall inhabitants specially imployed: and hauing therefore seene and knowen more then the ordinary, to impart so much vnto you of the fruits of our labours, as that you may know how iniuriously the enterprise is slandered, and that in publique maner at this present, chiefly for two respects.
First, that some of you which are ignorant or doubtfull of the state thereof, may see that there is sufficient cause why the chiefe enterpriser with the fauour of her Maiesty, notwithstanding such reports, hath not onely since continued the action by sending into the countrey againe, and replanting this last yeere a new Colony, but is also ready, according as the times and meanes will affoord, to follow and prosecute the same.
Secondly, that you seeing and knowing the continuance of the action, by the view hereof you may generally know and learne what the countrey is, and thereupon consider how your dealing therein, if it proceed, may returne you profit and gaine, be it either by inhabiting and planting, or otherwise in furthering thereof.
And least that the substance of my relation should be doubtfull vnto you, as of others by reason of their diuersitie, I will first open the cause in a few words, wherefore they are so different, referring my selfe to your fauourable constructions, and to be adiudged of, as by good consideration you shall finde cause.
Of our company that returned, some for their misdemeanour and ill dealing in the countrey haue bene there worthily punished, who by reason of their bad natures, haue maliciously not onely spoken ill of their Gouernours, but for their sakes slandered the countrey it selfe. The like also haue those done which were of their consort.
Some being ignorant of the state thereof, notwithstanding since their returne amongst their friends and acquaintance, and also others, especially if they were in company where they might not be gainsayd, would seeme to know so much as no men more, and make no men so great trauellers as themselues. They stood so much as it may seeme, vpon their credit and reputation, that hauing bene a tweluemoneth in the countrey, it would haue bene a great disgrace vnto them, as they thought, if they could not haue sayd much, whether it were true or false. Of which some haue spoken of more then euer they saw, or otherwise knew to be there. Other some haue not bene ashamed to make absolute deniall of that, which although not by them, yet by others is most certainly and there plentifully knowen, and other some make difficulties of those things they haue no skill of.
The cause of their ignorance was, in that they were of that many that were neuer out of the Island where we were seated, or not farre, or at the least wise in few places els, during the time of our abode in the country: or of that many, that after gold and siluer was not so soone found, as it was by them looked for, had litle or no care of any other thing but to pamper their bellies: or of that many which had litle vnderstanding, lesse discretion, and more tongue then was needfull or requisite.
Some also were of a nice bringing vp, only in cities or townes, or such as neuer (as I may say) had seene the world before. Because there were not to be found any English cities, nor such faire houses, nor at their owne wish any of their old accustomed dainty food, nor any soft beds of downe or feathers, the country was to them miserable, and their reports thereof according.
Because my purpose was but in briefe to open the cause of the variety of such speeches, the particularities of them, and of many enuious, malicious, and slanderous reports and deuices els, by our owne countreymen besides, as trifles that are not worthy of wise men to be thought vpon, I meane not to trouble you withall, but will passe to the commodities, the substance of that which I haue to make relation of vnto you.
The Treatise whereof, for your more ready view and easier vnderstanding, I will diuide into three speciall parts. In the first I will make declaration of such commodities there already found or to be raised, which will not onely serue the ordinary turnes of you which are and shall be the planters and inhabitants, but such an ouerplus sufficiently to be yeelded, or by men of skill to be prouided, as by way of traffique and exchange with our owne nation of England, will enrich yourselues the prouiders: those that shall deale with you, the enterprisers in generall, and greatly profit our owne countrey men, to supply them with most things which heretofore they haue beene faine to prouide either of strangers or of our enemies, which commodities, for distinction sake, I call Merchantable.
In the second I will set downe all the commodities which we know the countrey by our experience doth yeeld of it selfe for victuall and sustenance of mans life, such as are vsually fed vpon by the inhabitants of the countrey, as also by vs during the time we were there.
In the last part I will make mention generally of such other commodities besides, as I am able to remember, and as I shall thinke behoouefull for those that shall inhabit, and plant there to know of, which specially concerne building, as also some other necessary vses: with a briefe description of the nature and manners of the people of the countrey.
The first part of Merchantable commodities.
Silke of grasse, or Grasse silke. There is a kind of grasse in the country, vpon the blades whereof there groweth very good silke in forme of a thin glittering skin to be stript off. It groweth two foot and an halfe highe or better: the blades are about two foot in length, and halfe an inch broad. The like groweth in Persia, which is in the selfe same climate as Virginia, of which very many of the Silke works that come from thence into Europe are made. Hereof if it be planted and ordered as in Persia, it cannot in reason be otherwise, but that there will rise in short time great profit to the dealers therein, seeing there is so great vse and vent thereof aswel in our countrey as elswhere. And by the meanes of sowing and planting it in good ground, it will be farre greater, better, and more plentifull then it is. Although notwithstanding there is great store thereof in many places of the countrey growing naturally and wild, which also by proofe here in England, in making a piece of Silke grogran, we found to be excellent good.
Worme silke. In many of our iourneys we founde Silkewormes faire and great, as big as our ordinary Walnuts. Although it hath not bene our hap to haue found such plenty, as elswhere to be in the countrey we haue heard of, yet seeing that the countrey doth naturally breed and nourish them, there is no doubt but if arte be added in planting of Mulberie trees, and others fit for them in commodious places, for their feeding and nourishing, and some of them carefull gathered and husbanded in that sort, as by men of skil is knowen to be necessary: there wil rise as great profit in time to the Virginians, as thereof doth now to the Persians, Turks, Italians and Spaniards.
Flaxe and Hempe. The trueth is, that of Hempe and Flaxe there is no greate store in any one place together, by reason it is not planted but as the soile doth yeeld of it selfe: and howsoeuer the leafe and stemme or stalke do differ from ours, the stuffe by iudgement of men of skill is altogether as good as ours: and if not, as farther proofe should finde otherwise, we haue that experience of the soile, as that there cannot be shewed any reason to the contrary, but that it will grow there excellent well, and by planting will be yeelded plentifully, seeing there is so much ground whereof some may well be applied to such purposes. What benefit heereof may grow in cordage and linnens who cannot easily vnderstand?
Allum. There is a veine of earth along the sea coast for the space of fortie or fiftie miles, whereof by the iudgement of some that haue made triall here in England, is made good Allum, of that kind which is called Roch allum. The richnesse of such a commodity is so well knowen, that I need not to say any thing thereof. The same earth doth also yeeld White coprasse, Nitrum, and Alumen plumeum, but nothing so plentifully as the common Allum, which be also of price and profitable.
Wapeih. A kind of earth so called by the naturall inhabitants, very like to Terra sigillata, and hauing bene refined, it hath bene found by some of our Physicians and Chyrurgians, to be of the same kinde of vertue, and more effectuall. The inhabitants vse it very much for the cure of sores and wounds: there is in diuers places great plenty, and in some places of a blew sort.
Pitch, Tarre, Rozen and Turpentine. There are those kinds of trees which yeeld them abundantly and great store. In the very same Island where we were seated, being fifteene miles of length, and fiue or sixe miles in breadth, there are few trees els but of the same kinde, the whole Island being full.
Sassafras, called by the inhabitants Winauk, a kind of wood of most pleasant and sweet smell, and of most rare vertues in physicke for the cure of many diseases. It is found by experience to be far better and of more vses then the wood which is called Guaiacum, or Lignum vitæ. For the description, the maner of vsing, and the manifold vertues thereof, I refer you to the booke of Monardes, translated and entituled in English, The joyfull newes from the West Indies.
Cedar. A very sweet wood, and fine timber, whereof if nests of chests be there made, or timber thereof fitted for sweet and fine bedsteds, tables, desks, lutes, virginals, and many things els, (of which there hath bene proofe made already) to make vp fraight with other principall commodities, will yeeld profit.
Wine. There are two kindes of grapes that the soile doth yeeld naturally, the one is small and sowre, of the ordinary bignesse as ours in England, the other farre greater and of himselfe lushious sweet. When they are planted and husbanded as they ought, a principall commodity of wines by them may be raised.
Oile. There are two sorts of Walnuts, both holding oile; but the one farre more plentifull then the other. When there are mils and other deuices for the purpose, a commodity of them may be raised, because there are infinite store. There are also three seuerall kindes of berries in the forme of Oke-akornes, which also by the experience and vse of the inhabitants, we find to yeeld very good and sweet oile. Furthermore, the beares of the countrey are commonly very fat, and in some places there are many. Their fatnesse, because it is so liquid, may well be termed oile, and hath many speciall vses.
Furres. All along the Sea coast there are great store of Otters, which being taken by weares and other engines made for the purpose, wil yeeld good profit. We hope also of Marterne furres, and make no doubt by the relation of the people, but that in some places of the countrey there are store, although there were but two skinnes that came to our hands. Luzernes also we haue vnderstanding of, although for the time we saw none.
Deere skinnes dressed after the manner of Chamoes, or vndressed, are to be had of the naturall inhabitants thousands yerely by way of traffike for trifles, and no more waste or spoile of Deere then is and hath bene ordinarily in time before.
Ciuet-cats. In our trauels there was found one to haue bin killed by a Sauage or inhabitant, and in another place the smel where one or more had lately bene before, whereby we gather, besides then by the relation of the people, that there are some in the country: good profit will rise by them.
Iron. In two places of the countrey specially, one about fourescore, and the other six score miles from the fort or place where we dwelt, we found nere the water side the ground to be rocky, which by the triall of a Minerall man was found to holde iron richly. It is found in many places of the countrey els: I know nothing to the contrary, but that it may be allowed for a good merchantable commodity, considering there the small charge for the labour and feeding of men, the infinite store of wood, the want of wood and deereness thereof in England, and the necessity of ballasting of ships.
Copper. An hundred and fifty miles into the maine in two townes we found with the inhabitants diuers small plates of Copper, that had bene made as we vnderstood by the inhabitants that dwell further into the countrey, where as they say are mountaines and riuers that yeeld also white graines of mettal, which is to be deemed Siluer. For confirmation whereof, at the time of our first arriuall in the countrey, I saw, with some others with me, two small pieces of Siluer grosly beaten, about the weight of a testron, hanging in the eares of a Wiroans or chiefe lord that dwelt about fourescore miles from vs: of whom through inquiry, by the number of dayes and the way, I learned that it had come to his hands from the same place or neere, where I after vnderstood the Copper was made, and the white graines of metal found. The aforesayd Copper we also found by tryall to holde Siluer.
Pearle. Sometimes in feeding on Muscles we found some Pearle: but it was our happe to meet with ragges, or of a pide colour: not hauing yet discouered those places where we heard of better and more plenty.
Fiue thousand pearles gathered.
One of our company, a man of skill in such matters had gathered together from among the Sauage people about fiue thousand: of which number he be chose as many as made a faire chaine, which for their likenesse and vniformity in roundnesse, orientnesse, and pidenesse of many excellent colours, with equality in greatnesse, were very faire and rare: and had therefore beene presented to her Maiesty, had we not by casualty, and through extremity of a storme lost them, with many things els in comming away from the countrey.
Sweet gummes of diuers kinds, and many other Apothecary drugges, of which we will make speciall mention, when we shall receiue it from such men of skill in that kinde, that in taking reasonable paines shal discouer them more particularly then we haue done, and then now I can make relation of, for want of the examples I had prouided and gathered, and are now lost, with other things by casualty before mentioned.
Dies of diuers kinds: There is Shoemake well knowen, and vsed in England for blacke: the seede of an herbe called Wasebur, little small roots called Chappacor, and the barke of the tree called by the inhabitants Tangomockonomindge: which dies are for diuers sorts of red: their goodnesse for our English clothes remains yet to be prooued. The inhabitants vse them only for the dying of haire, and colouring of their faces, and mantles made of Deere skinnes: and also for the dying of rushes to make artificiall works withall in their mats and baskets, hauing no other thing besides that they account of, apt to vse them for if they will not prooue merchantable, there is no doubt but the planters there shall finde apt vses for them, as also for other colours which we know to be there.
Woad: a thing of so great vent and vses amongst English Diers, which can not be yeelded sufficiently in our owne countrey for spare of ground, may be planted in Virginia, there being ground enough. The growth thereof need not to be doubted, when as in the Islands of the Açores it groweth plentifully, which are in the same climate. So likewise of Madder.
We carried thither Suger-canes to plant, which being not so well preserued as was requisite, and besides the time of the yeere being past for their setting when we arriued, we could not make that proofe of them as we desired. Notwithstanding, seeing that they grow in the same climate, in the South part of Spaine, and in Barbary, our hope in reason may yet continue. So likewise for Orenges and Limmons. There may be planted also Quinses. Whereby may grow in reasonable time, if the action be deligently prosecuted, no small commodities in Sugers, Suckets, and Marmelades.
Many other commodities by planting may there also be raised, which I leaue to your discreet and gentle considerations: and many also may be there, which yet we haue not discouered. Two more commoditie of great value, one of certeinty, and the other in hope, not to be planted, but there to be raised and in short time to be prouided, and prepared, I might haue specified. So likewise of those commodities already set downe I might haue sayd more: as of the particular places where they are found, and best to be planted and prepared: by what meanes, and in what reasonable space of time they might be raised to profit, and in what proportion: but because others then welwillers might be there withall acquainted, not to the good of the action, I haue wittingly omitted them: knowing that to those that are well disposed, I haue vttered, according to my promise and purpose, for this part sufficient.
The second part of such commodities as Virginia is knowen to yeeld for victuall and sustenance of mans life, vsually fed vpon by the naturall inhabitants; as also by vs, during the time of our abode: and first of such as are sowed and husbanded.
Pagatowr, a kinde of graine so called by the inhabitants: the same in the West Indies is called Mayz: English men call it Guinywheat or Turkey-wheat, according to the names of the countreys from whence the like hath beene brought. The graine is about the bignesse of our ordinary English peaze, and not much different in forme and shape: but of diuers colours: some white, some red, some yellow, and some blew. All of them yeeld a very white and sweet flowre: being vsed according to its kinde, it maketh a very good bread. We made of the same in the countrey some Mault, whereof was brewed as good Ale as was to be desired. So likewise by the helpe of Hops, therof may be made as good Beere. It is a graine of maruellous great increase: of a thousand, fifteene hundred, and some two thousand folde. There are three sorts, of which two are ripe in eleuen and twelue weeks at the most, sometimes in tenne, after the time they are set, and are then of height in stalke about sixe or seuen foot. The other sort is ripe in fourteene, and is about tenne foot high, of the stalks some beare foure heads, some three, some one, and some two: euery head containing fiue, sixe, or seuen hundred graines, within a few more or lesse. Of these graines, besides bread, the inhabitants make victuall, either by parching them, or seething them whole vntill they be broken: or boiling the flowre with water into a pap.
Okingier, called by vs Beanes, because in greatnesse and partly in shape they are like to the beanes in England, sauing that they are flatter, of more diuers colours, and some pide. The leafe also of the stemme is much different. In taste they are altogether as good as our English peaze.
Wickonzowr, called by vs Peaze, in respect of the Beanes, for distinction sake, because they are much lesse, although in forme they little differ: but in goodnesse of taste much like, and are far better then our English Peaze. Both the beanes and peaze are ripe in ten weeks after they are set. They make them victuall either by boiling them all to pieces into a broth, or boiling them whole vntill they be soft, and beginne to breake, as is vsed in England, either by themselues, or mixtly together: sometime they mingle of the Wheat with them: sometime also, being whole sodden, they bruse or punne them in a morter, and thereof make loaues or lumps of doughish bread, which they vse to eat for variety.
Macocquer, according to their seueral formes, called by vs Pompious, Melons, and Gourds, because they are of the like formes as those in England. In Virginia such of seuerall formes are of one taste, and very good, and do also spring from one seed. There are of two sorts: one is ripe in the space of a moneth, and the other in two moneths.
There is an herbe which in Dutch is called Melden. Some of those that I describe it vnto take it to be a kinde of Orage: it groweth about foure or fiue foot high: of the seede thereof they make a thicke broth, and pottage of a very good taste: of the stalke by burning into ashes they make a kinde of salt earth, wherewithall many vse sometimes to season their broths: other salt they know not. We ourselues vsed the leaues for pot-herbs.
There is also another great herbe, in forme of a Marigolde, about sixe foot in height, the head with a floure is a spanne in bredth. Some take it to be Planta Solis: of the seeds hereof they make both a kinde of bread and broth.
All the aforesayde commodities for victuall are set or sowed, sometimes in grounds apart and seuerally by themselues, but for the most part together in one ground mixtly: the maner thereof, with the dressing and preparing of the ground, because I will note vnto you the fertility of the soile, I thinke good briefly to describe.
The ground they neuer fatten with mucke, dung, or any other thing, neither plow nor digge it as we in England, but onely prepare it in sort as followeth. A few days before they sowe or set, the men with woodden instruments made almost in forme of mattocks or hoes with long handles: the women with short peckers or parers, because they vse them sitting, of a foot long, and about fiue inches in bredth, doe onely break the vpper part of the ground to raise vp the weeds, grasse, and old stubbes of corne stalks with their roots. The which after a day or two dayes drying in the Sunne, being scrapt vp into small heaps, to saue them labour for carrying them away, they burne into ashes. And whereas some may thinke that they vse the ashes for to better the ground, I say that then they would either disperse the ashes abroad, which wee observed they do not, except the heaps be too great, or els would take speciall care to set their corne where the ashes lie, which also wee finde they are carelesse of. And this is all the husbanding of their ground that they vse.
Then their setting or sowing is after this maner. First for their corne, beginning in one corner of the plot, with a pecker they make a hole, wherein they put foure graines, with care that they touch not one another (about an inch asunder) and couer them with the molde againe: and so thorowout the whole plot making such holes, and vsing them after such maner, but with this regard, that they make them in ranks, euery rank differing from other halfe a fadome or a yard, and the holes also in euery ranke as much. By this meanes there is a yard spare ground betweene euery hole: where according to discretion here and there, they set as many Beanes and Peaze: in diuers places also among the seeds of Macocquer, Melden, and Planta solis.
The ground being thus set according to the rate by vs experimented, an English acre conteining forty pearches in length, and foure in breadth, doth there yeeld in croppe or ofcome of corne Beanes and Peaze, at the least two hundred London bushels, besides the Macocquer, Melden, and Planta solis; when as in England forty bushels of our Wheat yeelded out of such an acre is thought to be much.
I thought also good to note this vnto you, that you which shall inhabit, and plant there, may know how specially that countrey corne is there to be preferred before ours: besides, the manifold wayes in applying it to victuall, the increase is so much, that small labor and paines is needful in respect of that which must be vsed for ours. For this I can assure you that according to the rate we haue made proofe of, one man may prepare and husband so much ground (hauing once borne corne before) with lesse then foure and twenty houres labour, as shall yeeld him victual in a large proportion for a tweluemoneth, if he haue nothing els but that which the same ground will yeeld, and of that kinde onely which I haue before spoken of: the sayd ground being also but fiue and twenty yards square. And if need require but that there is ground enough, there might be raised out of one and the selfsame ground two haruests or ofcomes: for they sow or set, and may at any time when they thinke good, from the midst of March vntill the end of Iune: so that they also set when they haue eaten of their first croppe. In some places of the countrey notwithstanding they haue two haruests, as we haue heard, out of one and the same ground.
For English corne neuerthelesse, whether to use or not to use it, you that inhabit may doe as you shall haue further cause to thinke best. Of the growth you need not to doubt: for Barley, Oates, and Peaze, we haue seene proofe of, not being purposely sowen, but fallen casually in the woorst sort of ground, and yet to be as faire as any we haue euer seene heere in England. But of Wheat, because it was musty, and had taken salt water, we could make no triall: and of Rie we had none. This much haue I digressed, and I hope not vnnecessarily: now will I returne againe to my course, and intreat of that which yet remaineth, appertaining to this chapter.
There is an herbe which is sowed apart by it selfe, and is called by the inhabitants Vppowoc: in the West Indies it hath diuers names, according to the seuerall places and countreys where it groweth and is vsed: the Spanyards generally call it Tabacco. The leaues thereof being dried and brought into pouder, they vsed to take the fume or smoake thereof, by sucking it thorow pipes made of clay, into their stomacke and heade; from whence it purgeth superflous fleame and other grosse humours, and openeth all the pores and passages of the body; by which meanes the vse thereof not onely preserveth the body from obstructions, but also (if any be, so that they haue not bene of two long continuance) in short time breaketh them: whereby their bodies are notably preserued in health, and know not many grieuous diseases, wherewithall we in England are often times afflicted.
This Vppowoc is of so precious estimation amongst them, that they thinke their gods are maruellously delighted therewith: whereupon sometime they make hallowed fires, and cast some of the pouder therein for a sacrifice: being in a storm vpon the waters, to pacifie their gods, they cast some vp into the aire and into the water: so a weare for fish being newly set vp, they cast some therein and into the aire; also after an escape of danger, they cast some into the aire likewise: but all done with strange gestures, stamping, sometime dancing, clapping of hands, holding vp of hands, and staring vp into the heauens, vttering therewithall and chattering strange words and noises.
We our selues, during the time we were there, vsed to sucke it after their maner, as also since our returne, and haue found many rare and wonderfull experiments of the vertues thereof: of which the relation would require a volume by it selfe: the vse of it by so many of late men and women of great calling, as els, and some learned Physicians also, is sufficient witnesse.
And these are all the commodities for sustenance of life, that I know and can remember, they vse to husband: all els that follow, are found growing naturally or wilde.
Openauk are a kinde of roots of round forme, some of the bignesse of Walnuts, some farre greater, which are found in moist and marish grounds growing many together one by another in ropes, as though they were fastened with a string. Being boiled or sodden, they are very good meat.
Monardes calleth these roots, Beads or Pater nostri of Santa Helena.
Okeepenauk are also of round shape, found in dry grounds: some are of the bignesse of a mans head. They are to be eaten as they are taken out of the ground: for by reason of their drinesse they will neither rost nor seethe. Their taste is not so good as of the former roots: notwithstanding for want of bread, and sometimes for variety the inhabitants vse to eat them with fish or flesh, and in my iudgement they do as well as the housholde bread made of Rie here in England.
Kaishucpenauk, a white kinde of roots about the bignesse of hennes egges, and neere of that forme: their taste was not so good to our seeming as of the other, and therefore their place and maner of growing not so much cared for by vs: the inhabitants notwithstanding vsed to boile and eat many.
Tsinaw, a kind of root much like vnto that which in England is called the China root brought from the East Indies. And we know not any thing to the contrary but that it may be of the same kinde. These roots grow many together in great clusters, and do bring foorth a brier stalke, but the leafe in shape farre vnlike: which being supported by the trees it groweth neerest vnto, will reach or climbe to the top of the highest. From these roots while they be new or fresh, being chapt into small pieces, and stampt, is strained with water a iuice that maketh bread, and also being boiled, a very good spoonmeat in maner of a gelly, and is much better in taste, if it be tempered with oile. This Tsinaw is not of that sort, which by some was caused to be brought into England for the China root; for it was discouered since, and is in vse as is aforesayd: but that which was brought hither is not yet knowen, neither by vs nor by the inhabitants to serue for any vse or purpose, although the roots in shape are very like.
Coscushaw some of our company tooke to be that kinde of root which the Spanyards in the West Indies call Cassauy, whereupon also many called it by that name: it groweth in very muddy pooles, and moist grounds. Being dressed according to the countrey maner, it maketh a good bread, and also a good spoonmeat, and is vsed very much by the inhabitants.
The iuice of Coscushaw is poison.
The iuice of this root is poison, and therefore heed must be taken before any thing be made therewithall: either the roots must be first sliced and dried in the Sunne, or by the fire, and then being punned into floure, will make good bread: or els while they are greene they are to be pared, cut in pieces, and stampt: loaues of the same to be layd nere or ouer the fire vntill it be sowre; and then being well punned againe, bread or spoonmeat very good in taste and holesome may be made thereof.
Habascon is a root of hote taste, almost of the forme and bignesse of a Parsnip: of it selfe it is no victuall, but onely a helpe, being boiled together with other meats.
There are also Leeks, differing little from ours in England, that grow in many places of the countrey; of which, when we came in places where they were, we gathered and eat many, but the naturall inhabitants neuer.
Chesnuts there are in diuers places great store: some they vse to eat raw, some they stampe and boile to make spoonmeat, and with some being sodden, they make such a maner of dough bread as they vse of their beanes before mentioned.
Walnuts. There are two kinds of Walnuts, and of them infinite store: in many places where are very great woods for many miles together, the third part of trees are Walnut trees. The one kind is of the same taste and forme, or little differing from ours of England, but that they are harder and thicker shelled: the other is greater, and hath a very ragged and hard shell: but the kernel great, very oily and sweet. Besides their eating of them after our ordinary maner, they breake them with stones, and punne them in morters with water, to make a milke which they vse to put into some sorts of their spoonemeat: also among their sodde wheat, peaze, beanes and pompions, which maketh them haue a farre more pleasant taste.
Medlars, a kinde of very good fruit: so called by vs chiefly for these respects: first in that they are not good vntill they be rotten, then in that they open at the head as our Medlars, and are about the same bignesse: otherwise in taste and colour they are farre different; for they are as red as cheries, and very sweet: but whereas the chery is sharpe sweet, they are lushious sweet.
There are iii. kinds of Tunas whereof that which beareth no fruith bringeth foorth the Cochinillo.
Mutaquesunnauk, a kinde of pleasant fruit almost of the shape and bignesse of English peares, but they are of a perfect red colour as well within as without. They grow on a plant whose leaues are very thicke, and full of prickles as sharpe as needles. Some that haue bene in the Indies, where they haue seene that kind of red die of great price, which is called Cochinile, to grow, doe describe this plant right like vnto this of Metaquesunnauk; but whether it be the true Cochinile, or a bastard or wilde kinde, it cannot yet be certified, seeing that also, as I heard, Cochinile is not of the fruit, but found on the leaues of the plant: which leaues for such matter we haue not so specially obserued.
Grapes there are of two sorts, which I mentioned in the merchantable commodities.
Strawberries there are as good and as great as those which we haue in our English gardens.
Mulberies, Applecrabs, Hurts or Hurtleberies, such as we haue in England.
Sacquenummener, a kinde of berries almost like vnto Capers, but somewhat greater, which grow together in clusters vpon a plant or hearbe that is found in shallow waters; being boiled eight or nine houres according to their kinde, are very good meat and holesome; otherwise if they be eaten they will make a man for the time frantike or extremely sicke.
There is a kind of Reed which beareth a seed almost like vnto our Rie or Wheat; and being boiled is good meat.
In our trauels in some places we found Wilde peaze like vnto ours in England, but that they were lesse, which are also good meat.
Of a kinde of fruit or berry in forme of Acornes.
There is a kinde of berry or acorne, of which there are fiue sorts that grow on seuerall kindes of trees: the one is called Sagatemener, the second Osamener, the third Pummuckoner. These kinde of acornes they vse to drie vpon hurdles made of reeds, with fire vnderneath, almost after the maner as we dry Malt in England. When they are to be vsed, they first water them vntill they be soft, and then being sod, they make a good victuall, either to eat so simply, or els being also punned to make loaues or lumps of bread. These be also the three kinds, of which I sayd before the inhabitants vsed to make sweet oile.
Another sort is called Sapummener, which being boiled or parched, doth eat and taste like vnto Chesnuts. They sometime also make bread of this sort.
The fift sort is called Mangummenauk, and is the acorne of their kinde of Oake, the which being dried after the maner of the first sorts, and afterward watered, they boile them, and their seruants, or sometime the chiefe themselues, either for variety or for want of bread, do eat them with their fish or flesh.
Deere, in some places there are great store: neere vnto the Sea coast they are of the ordinary bignesse of ours in England, and some lesse: but further vp into the countrey, where there is better food, they are greater: they differ from ours onely in this, their tailes are longer, and the snags of their hornes looke backwards.
Conies. Those that we haue seene, and all that we can heare of are of a gray colour like vnto Hares: in some places there are such plenty that all the people of some townes make them mantles of the furre or flue of the skinnes of those which they vsually take.
Saquenuckot and Maquowoc, two kinds of small beasts greater then Conies, which are very good meat. We neuer tooke any of them our selues, but sometime eat of such as the inhabitants had taken and brought vnto vs.
Squirels, which are a grey colour, we haue taken and eaten.
Beares, which are of blacke colour. The beares of this countrey are good meat. The inhabitants in time of Winter do vse to take and eat many: so also sometime did we. They are taken commonly in this sort: In some Islands or places where they are, being hunted for assoone as they haue spiall of a man, they presently run away, and then being chased, they clime and get vp the next tree they can: from whence with arrowes they are shot downe starke dead, or with those wounds that they may after easily be killed. We sometime shot them downe with our calieuers.
I haue the name of eight and twenty seuerall sorts of beasts, which I haue heard of to be here and there dispersed in the countrey, especially in the maine; of which there are onely twelue kinds that we haue yet discouered; and of those that be good meat we know only them before mentioned. The inhabitants sometime kill the Lion, and eat him:98 and we sometime as they came to our hands of their Woolues or Wooluish dogs, which I haue not set downe for good meat, least that some would vnderstand my iudgement therein to be more simple then needeth, although I could alleage the difference in taste of those kinds from ours, which by some of our company haue bene experimented in both.
Tvrkie cocks and Turkie hennes, Stockdoues, Partridges, Cranes, Hernes, and in Winter great store of Swannes and Geese. Of all sorts of fowle I haue the names in the countrey language of fourescoure and sixe, of which number, besides those that be named, we haue taken, eaten, and haue the pictures as they were drawen, with the names of the inhabitants, of seuerall strange sorts of water fowle eight, and seuenteene kinds more of land fowle, although we haue seene and eaten of many more, which for want of leasure there for the purpose could not be pictured: and after we are better furnished and stored vpon further discouery with their strange beasts, fish, trees, plants, and herbs, they shalbe also published.
There are also Parrots, Faulcons, and Marlin hauks, which although with vs they be not vsed for meat, yet for other causes I thought good to mention.
For foure moneths of the yeere, February, March, Aprill and May, there are plenty of Sturgeons. And also in the same moneths of Herrings, some of the ordinary bignesse of ours in England, but the most part farre greater, of eighteene, twenty inches, and some two foot in length and better: both these kinds of fish in those moneths are most plentifull, and in best season, which we found to be most delicate and pleasant meat.
There are also Trouts, Porpoises, Rayes, Oldwiues, Mullets, Plaice, and very many other sorts of excellent good fish, which we haue taken and eaten, whose names I know not but in the countrey language: we haue the pictures of twelue sorts more, as they were drawen in the countrey, with their names.
In the gulfe of California they vse the like fishing.
The inhabitants vse to take them two maner of wayes: the one is by a kinde of weare made of reeds, which in that country are very strong: the other way, which is more strange, is with poles made sharpe at one end, by shooting them into the fish after the maner as Irish men cast darts, either as they are rowing in their boats or els as they are wading in the shallowes for the purpose.
There are also in many places plenty of these kinds which follow:
Sea crabs, such as we haue in England.
Oisters, some very great, and some small, some round, and some of a long shape: they are found both in salt water and brackish, and those that we had out of salt water are farre better then the other, as in our countrey.
Also Muscles, Scalops, Periwinkles, and Creuises.
Seekanauk, a kinde of crusty shel-fish, which is good meat, about a foot in bredth, hauing a crusty taile, many legges like a crab, and her eyes in her backe. They are found in shallowes of waters, and sometime on the shore.
There are many Tortoises both of land and sea kinde, their backs and bellies are shelled very thicke; their head, feet, and taile, which are in appearance, seeme ougly, as though they were members of a serpent or venimous beasts; but notwithstanding they are very good meat, as also their egges. Some haue bene found of a yard in bredth and better.
And thus haue I made relation of all sorts of victuall that we fed vpon for the time we were in Virginia, as also the inhabitants themselues, as farre forth as I know and can remember, or that are specially woorthy to be remembred.
The third and last part of such other things as are behouefull for those which shall plant and inhabite to know of, with a description of the nature and maners of the people of the Countrey.
Of commodities for building and other necessary vses.
Those other things which I am more to make rehearsal of, are such as concerne building, and other mechanicall necessary vses, as diuers sorts of trees for house and ship-timber, and other vses else: Also lime, stone, and bricke, least that being not mentioned some might haue bene doubted of, or by some that are malitious the contrary reported.
Okes there are as faire, straight, tall, and as good timber as any can be, and also great store, and in some places very great.
Walnut trees, as I haue said before very many, some haue bene seene excellent timber of foure and fiue fadome, and aboue fourescore foote streight without bough.
Firre trees fit for masts of ships, some very tall and great.
Rakiock, a kinde of trees so called that are sweete wood, of which the inhabitants that were neere vnto vs doe commonly make their boates or Canoas of the forme of trowes, onely with the helpe of fire, hatchets of stones, and shels: we haue knowen some so great being made in that sort of one tree, that they haue caried well 20. men at once, besides much baggage: the timber being great, tall, streight, soft, light, and yet tough ynough I thinke (besides other vses) to be fit also for masts of ships.
Cedar, a sweete wood good for seelings, chests, boxes, bedsteads, lutes, virginals, and many things els, as I haue also said before. Some of our companie which haue wandered in some places where I haue not bene, haue made certeine affirmation of Cyprus, which for such and other excellent vses is also a wood of price and no small estimation.
Maple, and also Wich-hazle, whereof the inhabitants vse to make their bowes.
Holly, a necessary thing for the making of birdlime.
Willowes good for the making of weares and weeles to take fish after the English maner, although the inhabitants vse onely reedes, which because they are so strong as also flexible, doe serue for that turne very well and sufficiently.
Beech and Ashe, good for caske-hoopes, and if neede require, plowe worke, as also for many things els.
Elme. Sassafras trees.
Ascopo a kinde of tree very like vnto Lawrell, the barke is hot in taste and spicie, it is very like to that tree which Monardes describeth to be Cassia Lignea of the West Indies.
There are many other strange trees whose names I know not but in the Virginian language, of which I am not now able, neither is it so conuenient for the present to trouble you with particular relation: seeing that for timber and other necessary vses, I haue named sufficient. And of many of the rest, but that they may be applied to good vse, I know no cause to doubt.
Nowe for stone, bricke and lime, thus it is. Neere vnto the Sea coast where wee dwelt, there are no kinde of stones to be found (except a few small pebbles about foure miles off) but such as haue bene brought from further out of the maine. In some of our voyages we haue seene diuers hard raggie stones, great pebbles, and a kinde of gray stone like vnto marble of which the inhabitants make their hatchets to cleaue wood. Vpon inquirie wee heard that a little further vp into the Countrey were of all sorts very many, although of quarries they are ignorant, neither haue they vse of any store whereupon they should haue occasion to seeke any. For if euery housholde haue one or two to cracke nuts, grinde shels, whet copper, and sometimes other stones for hatchets, they haue ynough: neither vse they any digging, but onely for graues about three foote deepe: and therefore no marueile that they know neither quarries, nor lime-stones, which both may be in places neerer then they wot of.
In the meane time vntill there be discouery of sufficient store in some place or other conuenient, the want of you which are and shalbe the planters therein may be as well supplied by bricke: for the making whereof in diuers places of the Countrey there is clay both excellent good and plentie, and also by lime made of oyster shels, and of others burnt, after the maner as they vse in the Isles of Tenet99 and Shepy, and also in diuers other places of England: Which kinde of lime is well knowen to be as good as any other. And of oyster shels there is plentie ynough: for besides diuers other particular places where are abundance, there is one shallow Sound along the coast, where for the space of many miles together in length, and two or three miles in breadth, the ground is nothing els, being but halfe a foote or a foote vnder water for the most part.
Thus much can I say furthermore of stones, that about 120. miles from our fort neere the water in the side of a hill, was found by a Gentleman of our company, a great veine of hard ragge stonnes, which I thought good to remember vnto you.
Of the nature and maners of the people.
It resteth I speake a word or two of the naturall inhabitants, their natures and maners leauing large discourse thereof vntil time more conuenient hereafter: nowe onely so farre foorth, as that you may know, how that they in respect of troubling our inhabiting and planting, are not to be feared, but that they shall haue cause both to feare and loue vs, that shall inhabite with them.
They are a people clothed with loose mantles made of deere skinnes, and aprons of the same round about their middle, all els naked, of such a difference of statures onely as wee in England, hauing no edge tooles or weapons of yron or steele to offend vs withall, neither knowe they how to make any: those weapons that they haue, are onely bowes made of Witch-hazle, and arrowes of reedes, flat edged truncheons also of wood about a yard long, neither haue they any thing to defend themselues but targets made of barkes, and some armours made of sticks wickered together with thread.
Their townes are but small, and neere the Sea coast but fewe, some contayning but tenne or twelue houses: some 20. the greatest that we haue seene hath bene but of 30. houses: if they bee walled, it is onely done with barkes of trees made fast to stakes, or els with poles onely fixed vpright, and close one by another.
Their houses are made of small poles, made fast at the tops in round forme after the maner as is vsed in many arbories in our gardens of England, in most townes couered with barkes, and in some with artificiall mats made of long rushes, from the tops of the houses downe to the ground. The length of them is commonly double to the breadth, in some places they are but 12. and 16. yards long, and in other some we haue seene of foure and twentie.
In some places of the Countrey, one onely towne belongeth to the gouernment of a Wiroans or chiefe Lord, in other some two or three, in some sixe, eight, and more: the greatest Wiroans that yet wee had dealing with, had but eighteene townes in his gouernment, and able to make not aboue seuen or eight hundred fighting men at the most. The language of euery gouernment is different from any other, and the further they are distant, the greater is the difference.
Their maner of warres among themselues is either by sudden surprising one an other most commonly about the dawning of the day, or moone light,100 or els by ambushes, or some subtile deuises. Set battles are very rare, except it fall out where there are many trees, where either part may haue some hope of defence, after the deliuery of euery arrow, in leaping behind some or other.
If there fall out any warres betweene vs and them, what their fight is likely to bee, wee hauing aduantages against them so many maner of wayes, as by our discipline, our strange weapons and deuises else, especially Ordinance great and small, it may easily bee imagined: by the experience wee haue had in some places, the turning vp of their heeles against vs in running away was their best defence.
In respect of vs they are a people poore, and for want of skill and iudgement in the knowledge and vse of our things, doe esteeme our trifles before things of greater value: Notwithstanding in their proper maner (considering the want of such means as we haue,) they seeme very ingenious. For although they haue no such tooles, nor any such crafts, Sciences and Artes as wee, yet in those things they doe, they shew excellence of wit. And by how much they vpon due consideration shall finde our maner of knowledges and crafts to exceede theirs in perfection, and speed for doing and execution, by so much the more is it probable that they should desire our friendship and loue, and haue the greater respect for pleasing and obeying vs. Whereby may bee hoped, if meanes of good gouernment be vsed, that they may in short time bee brought to ciuilitie, and the imbracing of true Religion.
Some religion they haue already, which although it be farre from the trueth, yet being as it is, there is hope it may be the easier and sooner reformed.
They beleeue that there are many gods, which they call Mantoac, but of different sorts and degrees, one onely chiefe and great God, which hath beene from all eternitie. Who as they affirme, when hee purposed to make the world, made first other gods of a principall order, to be as meanes and instruments to be vsed in the creation and gouernment to follow, and after the Sunne, moone, and starres as pettie gods, and the instruments of the other order more principal. First (they say) were made waters out of which by the gods were made all diuersitie of creatures that are visible or invisible.
For mankinde they say a woman was made first, which by the working of one of the gods, conceiued and brought foorth children: And in such sort they say they had their beginning. But how many yeeres or ages haue passed since, they say they can make no relation hauing no letters or other such meanes as we to keepe records of the particularities of times past, but onely tradition from father to sonne.
They thinke that all the gods are of humane shape, and therefore they represent them by images in the formes of men, which they call Kewasowok, one alone is called Kewas: them they place in houses appropriate or temples, which they call Machicomuck, where they worship, pray, sing, and make many times offring vnto them. In some Machicomuck we haue seene but one Kewas, in some two, and in other some three. The common sort thinke them to be also gods.
They beleeue also the immortalitie of the soule, that after this life as soone as the soule is departed from the body, according to the workes it hath done, it is either carried to heauen the habitacle of the gods, there to enioy perpetuall blisse and happinesse or els to a great pitte or hole, which they thinke to be in the furthest parts of their part of the world toward the Sunne set, there to burne continually: the place they call Popogusso.
For the confirmation of this opinion, they tolde me two stories of two men that had bene lately dead and reuiued againe, the one happened but few yeeres before our comming into the Countrey of a wicked man, which hauing bene dead and buried, the next day the earth of the graue being seene to moue, was taken vp againe, who made declaration where his soule had bene, that is to say, very neere entring into Popogusso, had not one of the gods saued him, and gaue him leaue to returne againe, and teach his friends what they should do to auoyd that terrible [pg 351]place of torment. The other happened in the same yeere we were there, but in a towne that was 60. miles from vs, and it was told me for strange newes, that one being dead, buried, and taken vp againe as the first, shewed that although his body had lien dead in the graue, yet his soule was aliue, and had trauailed farre in a long broad way, on both sides whereof grew most delicate and pleasant trees, bearing more rare and excellent fruits, then euer hee had seene before, or was able to expresse, and at length came to most braue and faire houses, neere which he met his father that had bene dead before, who gaue him great charge to goe backe againe, and shew his friendes what good they were to doe to enioy the pleasures of that place, which when he had done he should after come againe.
What subtiltie soeuer be in the Wiroances and priestes, this opinion worketh so much in many of the common and simple sort of people, that it maketh them haue great respect to their Gouernours, and also great care what they doe, to auoyd torment after death, and to enioy blisse, although notwithstanding there is punishment ordeined for malefactours, as stealers, whoremongers, and other sorts of wicked doers, some punished with death, some with forfeitures, some with beating, according to the greatnesse of the facts.
And this is the summe of their Religion, which I learned by hauing speciall familiaritie with some of their priests. Wherein they were not so sure grounded, nor gaue such credite to their traditions and stories, but through conuersing with vs they were brought into great doubts of their owne; and no small admiration of ours, with earnest desire in many, to learne more then wee had meanes for want of perfect vtterance in their language to expresse.
Most things they sawe with vs, as Mathematicall instruments, sea Compasses, the vertue of the load-stone in drawing yron, a perspectiue glasse whereby was shewed many strange sights, burning glasses, wilde firewoorkes, gunnes, hookes, writing and reading, spring-clockes that seeme to goe of themselues, and many other things that wee had were so strange vnto them, and so farre exceeded their capacities to comprehend the reason and meanes how they should be made and done, that they thought they were rather the workes of gods then of men, or at the leastwise they had bene giuen and taught vs of the gods. Which made many of them to haue such opinion of vs, as that if they knew not the trueth of God and Religion already, it was rather to bee had from vs whom God so specially loued, then from a people that were so simple, as they found themselues to be in comparison of vs. Whereupon greater credite was giuen vnto that wee spake of, concerning such matters.
Many times and in euery towne where I came, according as I was able, I made declaration of the contents of the Bible, that therein was set foorth the true and onely God, and his mightie workes, that therein was conteined the true doctrine of saluation through Christ, with many particularities of Miracles and chiefe points of Religion, as I was able then to vtter, and thought fit for the time. And although I told them the booke materially and of it selfe was not of any such vertue, as I thought they did conceiue, but onely the doctrine therein conteined: yet would many be glad to touch it, to embrace it, to kisse it, to holde it to their breastes and heads, and stroke ouer all their body with it, to shew their hungry desire of that knowledge which was spoken of.
The Wiroans with whom we dwelt called Wingina, and many of his people would bee glad many times to be with vs at our Prayers, and many times call vpon vs both in his owne towne, as also in others whither hee sometimes accompanied vs, to pray and sing Psalmes, hoping thereby to be partaker of the same effects which we by that meanes also expected.
Twise this Wiroans was so grieuously sicke that he was like to die, and as he lay languishing, doubting of any helpe by his owne priestes, and thinking hee was in such danger for offending vs and thereby our God, sent for some of vs to pray and bee a meanes to our God that it would please him either that he might liue, or after death dwell with him in blisse, so likewise were the requests of many others in the like case.
On a time also when their corne began to wither by reason of a draught which happened extraordinarily, fearing that it had come to passe by reason that in some thing they had displeased vs, many would come to vs and desire vs to pray to our God of England, that he would preserue their Corne, promising that when it was ripe we also should be partakers of the fruit.
There could at no time happen any strange sicknesse, losses, hurts, or any other crosse vnto them, but that they would impute to vs the cause or meanes thereof, for offending or not pleasing vs. One other rare and strange accident, leauing others, wil I mention before I end, which moued the whole Countrey that either knew or heard of vs, to haue vs in wonderfull admiration.
There was no towne where wee had any subtle deuise practised against vs, wee leauing it vnpunished or not reuenged (because we sought by all meanes possible to win them by gentlenesse) but that within a few dayes after our departure from euery such Towne, the people began to die very fast, and many in short space, in some Townes about twentie, in some fourtie, and in one sixe score, which in trueth was very many in respect of their numbers. This happened in no place that we could learne, but where we had bin, where they vsed some practise against vs, and after such time. The disease also was so strange, that they neither knewe what it was, nor how to cure it, the like by report of the oldest men in the Countrey neuer happened before, time out of minde. A thing specially obserued by vs, as also by the naturall inhabitants themselves. Insomuch that when some of the inhabitants which were our friends, and especially the Wiroans Wingina, had obserued such effects in foure or fiue Townes to follow their wicked practises, they were perswaded that it was the worke of our God through our meanes, and that we by him might kill and slay whom we would without weapons, and not come neere them. And thereupon when it had happened that they had vnderstanding that any of their enemies had abused vs in our iourneys, hearing that we had wrought no reuenge with our weapons, and fearing vpon some cause the matter should so rest: did come and intreate vs that we would be a meanes to our God that they as others that had dealt ill with vs might in like sort die, alleadging how much it would bee for our credite and profite, as also theirs, and hoping furthermore that we would doe so much at their requests in respect of the friendship we professed them.
Whose entreaties although wee shewed that they were vngodly, affirming that our God would not subiect himselfe to any such prayers and requests of men: that indeede all things haue bene and were to be done according to his good pleasure as he had ordeined: and that, we to shewe our selues his true seruants ought rather to make petition for the contrary, that they with them might liue together with vs, be made partakers of his trueth, and serue him in righteousnesse, but notwithstanding in such sort, that wee referre that, as all other things, to bee done according to his diuine will and pleasure, and as by his wisedome he had ordeined to be best.
Yet because the effect fell out so suddenly and shortly after according to their desires, they thought neuerthelesse it came to passe by our meanes, and that we in vsing such speeches vnto them, did not dissemble the matter, and therefore came vnto vs to giue vs thankes in their maner, that although we satisfied them not in promise, yet in deedes and effect we had fulfilled their desires.
This marueilous accident in all the Countrey wrought so strange opinions of vs, that some people could not tell whether to thinke vs gods or men, and the rather because that all the space of their sicknes, there was no man of ours knowen to die, or that was specially sicke: they noted also that we had no women among vs, neither that we did care for any of theirs.
Some therefore were of opinion that we were not borne of women, and therefore not mortal, but that we were men of an old generation many yeeres past, then risen againe to immortalitie.
Some would likewise seeme to prophecie that there were more of our generation yet to come to kill theirs and take their places, as some thought the purpose was, by that which was already done. Those that were immediatly to come after vs they imagined to be in the aire, yet inuisible and without bodies, and that by our intreatie and for the loue of vs, did make the people to die in that sort as they did, by shooting inuisible bullets into them.
To confirme this opinion, their Phisitions (to excuse their ignorance in curing the disease) would not be ashamed to say, but earnestly make the simple people beleeue, that the strings of blood that they sucked out of the sicke bodies, were the strings wherewithall the inuisible bullets were tied and cast. Some also thought that wee shot them our selues out of our pieces, from the place where wee dwelt, and killed the people in any Towne that had offended vs, as wee listed, howe farre distant from vs soeuer it were. And other some said, that it was the speciall worke of God for our sakes, as we our selues haue cause in some sort to thinke no lesse, whatsoeuer some doe, or may imagine to the contrary, specially some Astrologers, knowing of the Eclipse of the Sunne which we saw the same yeere before in our voyage thitherward, which vnto them appeared very terrible. And also of a Comet which began to appeare but a fewe dayes before the beginning of the saide sicknesse. But to exclude them from being the speciall causes of so speciall an accident, there are further reasons then I thinke fit at this present to be alleadged. These their opinions I haue set downe the more at large, that it may appeare vnto you that there is good hope they may be brought through discreete dealing and gouernment to the imbracing of the trueth, and consequently to honour, obey, feare and loue vs.
And although some of our company towards the ende of the yeere, shewed themselues too fierce in slaying some of the people in some Townes, vpon causes that on our part might easily ynough haue bene borne withall: yet notwithstanding, because it was on their part iustly deserued, the alteration of their opinions generally and for the most part concerning vs is the lesse to be doubted. And whatsoever els they may be, by carefulnesse of our selues neede nothing at all to be feared.
The best neuerthelesse in this, as in all actions besides, is to be endeuoured and hoped, and of the worst that may happen notice to be taken with consideration, and as much as may be eschewed.
Now I haue (as I hope) made relation not of so few and small things, but that the Countrey (of men that are indifferent and well disposed) may bee sufficiently liked: If there were no more knowen then I haue mentioned, which doubtlesse and in great reason is nothing to that which remaineth to be discouered, neither the soyle, nor commodities. As we haue reason so to gather by the difference we found in our trauailes, for although al which I haue before spoken of, haue bene discouered and experimented not farre from the Sea coast, where was our abode and most of our trauailing: yet sometimes as we made our iourneys further into the maine and Countrey; we found the soile to be fatter, the trees greater and to grow thinner, the ground more firme and deeper mould, more and larger champions, finer grasse, and as good as euer we saw any in England; in some places rockie and farre more high and hilly ground, more plentie of their fruites, more abundance of beastes, the more inhabited with people, and of greater pollicie and larger dominions, with greater townes and houses.
Why may wee not then looke for in good hope from the inner parts of more and greater plentie, as well of other things, as of those which wee haue already discouered? Vnto the Spaniards happened the like in discouering the maine of the West Indies. The maine also of this Countrey of Virginia, extending some wayes so many hundreds of leagues, as otherwise then by the relation of the inhabitants wee haue most certaine knowledge of where yet no Christian prince hath any possession or dealing, cannot but yeelde many kinds of excellent commodities, which we in our discouery haue not seene.
What hope there is els to bee gathered of the nature of the climate, being answerable to the Iland of Japan, the land of China, Persia, Iury, the Ilands of Cyprus and Candy, the South parts of Greece, Italy and Spaine, and of many other notable and famous Countreys, because I meane not to be tedious, I leaue to your owne consideration.
Whereby also the excellent temperature of the aire there at all seasons, much warmer then in England, and neuer so vehemently hot, as sometimes is vnder and betweene the Tropikes, or neere them, cannot be knowen vnto you without further relation.
For the holsomnesse thereof I neede to say but this much: that for all the want of prouisson, as first of English victuall, excepting for twentie dayes, we liued onely by drinking water, and by the victuall of the Countrey, of which some sorts were very strange vnto vs, and might haue bene thought to haue altered our temperatures in such sort, as to haue brought vs into some greuious and dangerous diseases:
This want is hereafter to be supplied.
Secondly the want of English meanes, for the taking of beastes, fish and foule, which by the helpe onely of the inhabitants and their meanes could not bee so suddenly and easily prouided for vs, nor in so great number and quantities, nor of that choise as otherwise might haue bene to our better satisfaction and contentment. Some want also we had of clothes. Furthermore in al our trauailes, which were most specially and often in the time of Winter, our lodging was in the open aire vpon the ground. And yet I say for all this, there were but foure of our whole company (being one hundred and eight) that died all the yeere, and that but at the latter ende thereof, and vpon none of the aforesaid causes. For all foure, especially three, were feeble, weake, and sickly persons before euer they come thither, and those that knew them, much marueled that they liued so long being in that case, or had aduentured to trauaile.
Seeing therefore the aire there is so temperate and holsome, the soyle so fertile, and yeelding such commodities, as I haue before mentioned, the also thither to and fro being sufficiently experimented to be performed twise a yeere with ease, and at any season thereof: And the dealing of Sir Walter Ralegh so liberall in large giuing and granting land there, as is already knowen, with many helpes and furtherances else: (The least that he hath granted hath bene fiue hundreth acres to a man onely for the aduenture of his person) I hope there remaines no cause whereby the action should be misliked.
If that those which shall thither trauaile to inhabite and plant bee but reasonably prouided for the first yeere, as those are which were transported the last, and being there, doe vse but that diligence and care, that is requisit, and as they may with ease: There is no doubt but for the time following, they may haue victuall that are excellent good and plentie ynough, some more English sorts of cattell also hereafter, as some haue bene before and there are yet remayning, may and shall be (God willing) thither transported. So likewise, our kinde of fruites, rootes, and hearbes, may be there planted and sowed, as some haue bene already, and proue well: And in short time, also they may raise so much of those sorts of commodities which I haue spoken of, as shall both enrich themselues, as also others that shall deale with them.
And this is all the fruit of our labours, that I haue thought necessary to aduertise you of at this present: What else concerneth the nature and maners of the inhabitants of Virginia, the number with the particularities of the voyages thither made, and of the actions of such as haue beene by Sir Walter Ralegh therein, and there imployed, many worthy to be remembred, as of the first discouerers of the Country, of our Generall for the time Sir Richard Grinuil, and after his departure of our Gouernour there Master Ralph Lane, with diuers others directed and imployed vnder their gouernment: Of the Captaines and Masters of the voyages made since for transportation of the Gouernour and assistants of those already transported, as of many persons, accidents, and things els, I haue ready in a discourse by it selfe in maner of a Chronicle, according to the course of times: which when time shall be thought conuenient, shall be also published.
Thus referring my relation to your fauourable constructions, expecting good successe of the action, from him which is to be acknowledged the authour and gouernour, not onely of this, but of all things els, I take my leaue of you, this moneth of February 1587.
Source: The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation. Vol. XIII. America. Part II. Author: Richard Hakluyt