« PreviousContinue »
sundry herbs, grass, and strawberries bigger than ours in England. In many places are low thicks like our copses of small young wood. And surely it did all resemble a stately park, wherein appear some old trees with high withered 'tops and other flourishing with living green boughs. Upon the hills grow notable high timber trees, masts for ships of four hundred ton; and at the bottom of every hill, a little run of fresh water: but the farthest and last we passed ran with a great stream able to drive a mill.
We might see in some places where fallow deer and hares had been, and by the rooting of ground we supposed wild hogs had ranged there, but we could descry no beast, because our noise still chased them from us.
We were no sooner come aboard our light horseman, returning towards our ship, but we espied a canoe coming from the further part of the cod of the river eastward, which hasted to us wherein with two others, was he who refused to stay for a pawn; and his coming was very earnestly importing to have one of our men to go lie on shore with their bashabes (who was there on shore as they signed) and then the next morning he would come to our ship with many firs and tobacco. This we perceived to be only a mere device to get possession of any of our men, to ransom all those which we had taken, which our natural policy could not so shadow, but we did easily discover and prevent. These means were by this savage practised, because we had one of his kinsmen prisoner, as we judged by his most kind usage of him being aboard us together.
Thursday the thirteenth of June, by two o'clock in the morning (because our captain would take the help and advantage of the tide) in the light horseman with our company well provided and furnished with armor and shot both to defend and offend; we went from our ship up to that part of the river which trended westward into the main, to search that: and we carried with us a cross, to erect at that point, which (because it was not daylight) we left on the shore until our return back when we set it up
in manner as the former. For this (by the way) we diligently observed, that in no place, either about the islands, or up in the main, or alongst the river, we could discern any token or sign, that ever any christian had been before: of which either by
cutting wood, digging for water, or setting up crosses (a thing never omitted by any christian travellers) we should have perceived some mention left.
But to return to our river further up into which we then rowed by estimation twenty miles, the beauty and goodness whereof I cannot by relation sufficiently demonstrate. That which I can say in general is this : what profit or pleasure soever is described and truly verified in the former part of the river, is wholly doubled in this; for the breadth and depth is such, that any ship drawing seventeen or eighteen feet water, might have passed as far as we went with our light horseman and by all our men's judgment much further, because we left it in so good depth and breadth; which is so much the more to be esteemed of greater worth, by how much it trendeth further up into the main ; for from the place of our ships riding in the harbor at the entrance into the sound, to the furthest part we were in this river, by our estimation was not much less than threescore miles.
From each bank of this river are divers branching streams into the main, whereby is afforded an unspeakable profit by the conveniency of transportation from place to place which in some countries is both chargeable, and not to be fit, by carriages or wain, or horseback.
Here we saw great store of fish, some great leaping above water, which we judged to be salmons. All along is an excellent mould of ground. The wood in most places, especially on the east side very thin, chiefly oak and some small young birch, bordering low upon the river ; all fit for meadow and pasture ground, and in that space we went, we had on both sides the river many plain plots of meadow, some of three or four acres, some of eight or nine: so as we judged in the whole to be between thirty and forty acres of good grass, and where the arms run out into the main, there likewise went a space on both sides of clear grass, how far we know not; in many places we might see paths made to come down to the watering.
The excellency of this part of the river, for his good breadth, depth, and fertile bordering ground, did so ravish us all with variety of pleasantness, as we could not tell what to commend, but only admired; some compared it to the
river Severn, (but in a higher degree) and we all concluded as I verily think we might right) that we should never see the like river in every degree equal
, until it pleased God we beheld the same again. For the farther we went, the more pleasing it was to every man, alluring us still with expectation of better, so as our men, although they had with great labor rowed long and eat nothing (for we carried with us no victual, but a little cheese and bread) yet they were so refreshed with the pleasant beholding thereof, and so loath to forsake it, as some of them affirmed, they would have continued willingly with that only fare and labor two days; but the tide not suffering us to make any longer stay (because we were to come back with the tide) and our captain better knowing what was fit than we, and better what they in labor were able to endure, being very loath to make any desperate hazard, where so little necessity required, thought it best to make return, because whither we had discovered was sufficient to conceive that the river ran very far into the land, for we passed six or seven miles, altogether fresh water (whereof we all drank) forced up by the flowing of the salt: which after a great while ebb where we left it, by breadth of channel and depth of water was likely to run by estimation of our whole company an unknown way farther : the search whereof our captain hath left till his return, if it shall so please God to dispose of him and us.
For we having now by the direction of the Omnipotent Disposer of all good intents (far beyond the period of our hopes) fallen with so bold a coast, found so excellent and secure harbor, for as many ships as any nation professing Christ is able to set forth to sea, discovered a river, which the a!l-creating God, with his most liberal hand, hath made above report notable with his foresaid blessings, bordered with a land, whose pleasant fertility bewrayeth itself to be the garden of nature, wherein she only intended to delight herself, having hitherto obscured it to any, except to a purblind generation, whose understanding it bath pleased God to darken, as they can neither discern, use, or rightly esteem the unvaluable riches in midst whereof they live sensually ccatent with the bark and outward rinds, as neither knowing the sweetness of the inward marrow, nor acknowledging the
Deity of the Almighty giver : having I say thus far proceeded, and having some of the inhabitant nation (of best understanding we saw among them) who (learning our language) may be able to give us further instruction, concerning all the premised particulars, as also of their governors, and government, situation of towns, and what else shall be convenient, which by no means otherwise we could by any observation of ourselves learn in a long time; our captain now wholly intended his provision for speedy return. For although the time of year and our victual were not so spent, but we could have made a longer voyage, in searching farther and trading for very good commodities, yet as they might have been much profitable so (our company being small) much more prejudicial to the whole state of our voyage, which we were most regardful now not to hazard. For we supposing not a little present private profit, but a public good and true zeal of promulgating God's holy church, by planting Christianity, to be the sole intent of the honorable setters forth of this discovery; thought it generally most expedient, by our speedy return, to give the longer space of time to make provision for so weighty an enterprise.
Friday, the 14th day of June, early by four o'clock in the morning, with the tide, our two boats, and a little help of the wind, we rowed down to the river's mouth, and there came to an anchor about eleven o'clock. Afterward our captain in the light horseman searched the sounding all about the mouth and coming to the river, for his certain instruction of a perfect description.
The next day being Saturday, we weighed anchor, and with a breeze from the land, we sailed up to our watering place and there stopped, went on shore and filled all our empty casks with fresh water.
Our captain upon the rock in the midst of the harbor observed the height, latitude, and variation exactly upon bis instruments.
1. Astrolabe. 2. Semisphere. 3. Ring instrument. 4. Cross staff. 5. And an excellent compass made for the variation.
The certainty whereof, together with the particularities of every depth and sounding, as well at our falling with the land, as in the discovery, and at our departure from the
coast; I refer to his own relation in the map of his geographical description, which for the benefit of others he intendeth most exactly to publish.*
The temperature of the climate (albeit a very important matter) I had almost passed without mentioning, because it afforded to us no great alteration from our disposition in England : somewhat hotter up into the main, because it lieth open to the south; the air so wholesome, as I suppose not any of us found ourselves at any time more healthful, more able to labor, nor with better stomachs to such good fare, as we partly brought, and partly found.
Sunday, the 16th of June, the wind being fair, and because we had set out of England upon a Sunday, made the islands upon a Sunday, and as we doubt not (by God's appointment) happily fell into our harbor upon a Sunday: so now (beseeching him still with like prosperity to bless our return into England our country, and from thence with his good will and pleasure to hasten our next arrival there) we weighed anchor and quit the land upon a Sunday.
Tuesday, the 18th day, being not run above thirty leagues from land, and our captain for his certain knowledge how to fall with the coast, having sounded every watch, and from forty fathoms had come into good deeping, to seventy, and so to an hundred: this day the weather being fair, after the four o'clock watch, when we supposed not to have found ground so far from land, and before sounded in above one hundred fathoms, we had ground in twenty-four fathoms. Wherefore our sails being down, Thomas King boatswain, presently cast out a hook, and before he judged it at ground, was fished and hauled up an exceeding great and well fed cod, then there were cast out three or four more, and the fish was so plentiful and so great, as when our captain would have set sail, we all desired him to suffer them to take fish awhile, because we were so delighted to see them catch so great fish, so fast as the hook came down : some with playing with the hook they took by the back, and one of the mates with two hooks at a lead, at five draughts to
* The latitude he found to be forty-three degrees twenty minutes north. The variation eleven degrees fitteen minntes; viz : one point of ihe compass westward. And it is so innch in England, by Limehouse near London, eastward.' 4th Purchas, 1666. [Yet the river he ascended was undoubtedly the Penobscot)