Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  A Philosophical Adventurer

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Philosophical Adventurer

By John Pory (1572–1636)

[Letter from James City, to Sir Dudley Carleton. Sept. 30, 1619.]

NOWE that your lordship may knowe that we are not the veriest beggars in the worlde our cowekeeper here of James citty on Sundays goes accowtered all in freshe flaming silke; and a wife of one that in England had professed the black arte, not of a scholler, but of a collier of Croydon, weares her rough bever hatt with a faire perle hattband and a silken suite thereto correspondent. But to leave the Populace and to come higher:—the Governor here, who at his first coming, besides a great deale of worth in his person, brought only his sword with him, was at his late being in London, together with his lady, out of his meer gettings here able to disburse very near three thousand pounde to furnishe himselfe for his voyage. And once within seven yeares I am persuaded (absit invidia verbo) that the Governor’s place here may be as profittable as the Lord Deputies’ of Irland. All this notwithstanding, I may say of myselfe that when I was the last yeare with your lordship at Middleborough, si mens non læva fuisset, I might have gone to the Hagh with you and founde myselfe there nowe in far better company, which indeed is the soule of this life, and might have beene deeply ingrafted into your lordship’s service, which since I have a thousand times affected in vaine. And therefore seeing I have missed that singular happiness I must for what remaines depende upon God’s providence, who my hope is wilbe so merciful towards me as once more before I dye to vouchsafe me the sight of your countenance, wherein, I speak unfainedly, I shall enjoye as much happines as in any other thing I can imagine in this worlde.

At my first coming hither the solitary uncouthness of this place compared with those parts of Christendome or Turky where I had been; and likewise my being sequestred from all occurrents and passages which are so rife there, did not a little vexe me. And yet in these five months of my continuance here, there have come at one time or another eleven saile of ships into this river; but freighted more with ignorance, then with any other marchandize. At length being hardned to this custome of abstinence from curiosity, I am resolved wholly to minde my business here and nexte after my pen to have some good booke alwayes in store, being in solitude the best and choicest company. Besides among these christall rivers and odoriferous woods I doe escape muche expense, envye, contempte, vanity, and vexation of minde.