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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

How the English Settled in Maryland

By Anonymous

[The first publication issued in London describing the New Province. A Relation of the Successful Beginnings of the Lord Baltemore’s Plantation in Mary-land. 1634.]

ON Friday the 22. of November 1633, a small gale of winde comming gently from the northwest, weighed from the Cowes, in the Ile of Wight, about ten in the morning; and (having stayed by the way twenty dayes at the Barbada’s, and fourteene dayes at St. Christophers, upon some necessary occasions,) wee arrived at Point-Comfort in Virginia, on the 24. of February following, the Lord be praised for it. At this time one Captaine Claybourne was come from parts where wee intended to plant, to Virginia, and from him wee understood, that all the natives of these parts were in preparation of defence, by reason af a rumour some-body had raised amongst them, of sixe ships that were come with a power of Spanyards, whose meaning was to drive all the inhabitants out of the countrey.

Wee had good letters from his Majesty to the Governour and Councill of Virginia, which made him favor us and shew us as noble usage as the place afforded, with promise, that for their cattel and hoggs, corne and poultry, our plantation should not want the open way to furnish ourselves from thence: He told us likewise, that when his Lordship should be resolved on a convenient place to make himself a seat, he should be able to provide him with as much bricke and tile as he should have occasion to imploy, until his Lordship had made of his own: Also, that he had to furnish his Lordship with two or three hundred stocks ready grafted with peares, apples, plummes, apricotes, figgs, and peaches, and some cherries: That he had also some orange and limon trees in the grounds which yet thrived; Also filberds, hazelnuts and almonds; and in one place of the Colony, quince-trees, wherewith he could furnish his Lordship; and, in fine, that his Lordship should not want any thing that Colony had.

On the 3. of March wee came into Chesapeake Bay, and made sayle to the north of Patoemeck river, the Bay running betweene two sweete lands in the channell of 7, 8, and 9 fathome deepe, 10 leagues broad, and full of fish at the time of the yeere; It is one of the delightfullest waters I ever saw, except Potoemeck, which we named St. Gregories. And now being in our own countrey, wee began to give names to places, and called the southerne pointe, Cape Saint Gregory; and the northerly point, Saint Michaels.

This river, of all I know, is the greatest and sweetest, much broader than the Thames; so pleasant, as I for my part, was never satisfied in beholding it. Few marshes or swamps, but the greatest part sollid good earth, with great curiosity of woods which are not choaked up with undershrubbes, but set commonly one from the other in such distance as a coach and foure horses may easily travell through them.

At the first loaming of the ship upon the river, wee found (as was foretold us) all the countrey in Armes. The King of the Paschattowayes had drawen together 1500 bowe-men, which wee ourselves saw, the woods were fired in the manner of beacons the night after; and for that our vessell was the greatest that ever those Indians saw, the scowtes reported wee came in a Canoa, as bigge as an Island, and had as many men as there bee trees in the woods.

Wee sayled up the river until wee came to Heron Islands, so called from the infinite swarmes of that fowle there. The first of those Islands we called Saint Clement’s: The second Saint Katharine’s; And the third, Saint Cicilie’s. We took land first in Saint Clement’s, which is compassed about with a shallow water, and admitts no accesse without wading; here by the overturning of the shallop, the maids which had been washing at the land were almost drowned, beside the losse of much linnen, and amongst the rest, I lost the best of mine which is a very maine losse in these parts. The ground is covered thicke with pokickeries (which is a wild wall-nut very hard and thick of shell; but the meate (though little) is passing sweete,) with black wall-nuts, and acorns bigger than ours. It abounds with vines and salletts, hearbs and flowers, full of cedar and sassafras. It is but 400 acres bigg, and therefore too little for us to settle upon.

Heere we went to a place, where a large tree was made into a Crosse; and taking it on our shoulders, wee carried it to the place appointed for it. The Governour and Commissioners putting their hands first unto it, then the rest of the chiefest adventurers. At the place prepared wee all kneeled downe, and said certain prayers; taking possession of the countrey for our Saviour, and for our soveraigne Lord the King of England.

Here our Governour had good advice given him, not to land for good and all, before hee had beene with the Emperour of Paschattoway, and had declared unto him the Cause of our coming: Which was first to learne them a divine Doctrine, which would lead their soules to a place of happinesse after this life were ended; And also, to enrich them with such ornaments of a civil life wherewith our countrey doth abound: and this Emperour being satisfied, none of the inferiour Kings would stirre. In conformity to this advice, hee took two pinnaces, his owne, and another hired in Virginia; and leaving the ship before St. Clements at anchor, went up the river and landing on the south side, and finding the Indians fled for feare, came to Potoemack Towne, when the King being a child, Archihau his uncle governed both him and his countrey for him. Hee gave all the company good wellcome: and one of the company having entered into a little discourse with him touching the errours of their religion, hee seemed well pleased therewith; and at his going away desired him to return unto him againe, telling him he should live at his Table, his men should hunt for him, and hee would divide all with him.

From hence they went to Paschattoway. All were heere armed: 500 Bow-men came to the water-side. The Emperour himself, more fearlesse than the rest, came privately aboard, where he was courteously entertained; and understanding wee came in a peaceable manner, bade us welcome, and gave us leave to sit downe in what place of his Kingdome wee pleased. While this King was aboard, all the Indians came to the water-side, fearing treason, whereupon two of the King’s men, that attended him in our shippe were appointed to row on shoare to quit them of this feare: but they refusing to goe for feare of the popular fury; the interpretours standing on the Deck shewed the King to them that hee was in safety, where-with they were satisfied. In this journey the Governour entertained Captaine Henry Fleete and his three barkes; who accepted a proportion in beaver trade to serve us, being skillfull in the tongue, and well beloved of the natives.

Whilest the Governour was abroad the Indians began to lay aside feare, and to come to our Court of guard, which wee kept night and day upon St. Clement’s Ile: partly to defend our Barge, which was brought in pieces out of England, and there made up, and partly to defend the Captaines men, which were imployed in felling of trees, and cleaning pales for the pallizado: and at last they ventured to come aboard our ship. It was worth the hearing for those who understood them to heare what admiration at our ship; Calling it a Canow, and wondering where so great a tree grew that made it, conceiving it to bee made of one piece, as their Canows are. Our great Ordnance was a great and fearefull thunder, they had never heard any before; all the countrey trembles at them.

The Governour being returned, wee came some nine leagues lower to a river on the north side of that land, as bigg as the Thames: which wee called Saint Gregorie’s river. It runs up to the North about 20 miles before it comes to the fresh. This river makes two excellent Bayes, for 300 sayle of shippes of 1000 tunne, to harbour in with great safety. The one Bay we named Saint George’s; the other (and more inward) Saint Marie’s. The King of Yaocomico, dwells on the left-hand or side thereof: and we tooke up our seate on the right, one mile within the land. It is as brave a piece of ground to set down on as most is in the countrey, and I suppose as good, (if not much better) than the primest parcell of English ground.

Our town we call Saint Marie’s; and to avoid all just occasion of offence, and collour of wrong, wee bought of the King for hatchetts, axes, howes, and cloathes, a quantitie of some 30 miles of Land, which wee call Augusta Carolina; And that which made them the more willing to sell it, was the warres they had with the Sasquesa-hanoughs, a mighty bordering nation, who came often into their countrey, to waste and destroy; and forced many of them to leave their countrey, and passe over Patoemeck to free themselves from perill before wee came. God no doubt disposing all this for them, who were to bring his law and light among the Infidells. Yet, seeing wee came so well prepared with armes, their feare was much lesse, and they could be content to dwell by us: Yet doe they daily relinquish their houses, lands, and Corne-fields, and leave them to us. Is not this a piece of wonder that a nation, which a few dayes before was in armes with the rest against us, should yeeld themselves now unto us like lambes, and give us their houses, lands and livings, for a trifle? Digitus Dei est hic: and surely some great good is intended by God to his Nation. Some few families of Indians are permitted to stay by us till next yeere, and then the land is free.

Wee had not beene long time seated there, ere Sir John Harvey, Governor of Virginia, did our Governour the honour (in most friendly manner) to visit him: and during the time of his being there, the King of Patuxunt also came to visit us; and being come aboard the Arke, and brought into the great Cabbin, and seated betweene the two Governors (Captaine Fleete and Master Golding the interpreters being present) he began his speech as followeth:

“When I heard that a great Werowance of the English was come to Yoacomoco, I had a great desire to see him. But when I heard the Werowance of Pasbie-haye was come thither also to visit him, I presently start up, and without further counsell came to see them both.”

In the time of his stay at St. Marie’s, wee kept the solemnitie of carrying our colours on shore: and the King of Patuxunt accompanying us, was much taken with the ceremony. But the same night (hee and Captaine Fleete being at the Indian House) the Arke’s great gunnes, to honour the day, spake aloude; which the King of Patuxunt with great admiration hearing, counselled his friends the Yoacomoco Indians to be carefull that they breake not their peace with us; and said: “When we shoote, our Bow-strings give a twang that’s heard but a little way off: But doe you not hear what cracks their Bowstrings give?” Many such pretty sayings hee used in the time of his being with us, and at his departure, hee thus exprest his extraordinary affection unto us:

“I doe love the English so well, that if they should kill me, so that they left mee with so much breath, as to speake unto my people, I would commend them not to revenge my Death.”

As for the natives they are proper tall Men of person; swarthy by nature but much more by art: painting themselves with colours in oyle, like a darke red, which they doe to keep the gnatts off: wherein, I confesse, there is more ease than comlinesse.

As for their faces, they have other colours at times, as blew from the nose upward, and red downeward, and sometime contrariwise in great variety, and in very gastly manner; sometimes they have no beards till they come to be very old, and therefore drawe from each side of their mouthes, lines to their very ears, to represent a beard; and this sometimes of one colour, and sometimes of another.

They wear their hair generally very long, and it is as black as Jett: which they bring up in a knott to the left eare, and tye it about with a large string of Wampampegge, or Roanoke, or some other of the best Jewels among them. Upon their forehead, some use to weare a fish of copper, and some weare other figures.

About their neckes, they use to weare many bugle chaynes, though these begin now not to be esteemed among them for truck. Their apparell generally is deere-skin, and some Furre, which they weare like loose mantles: yet under this about their middle, all women and men, at man’s estate, weare Perizomata (or round aprons) of skinnes, which keeps them decently covered, that without any offence to chast eyes wee may converse with them.

All the rest of their bodies are naked, and at times, some of the youngest sort both of men and women have just nothing to cover them. Their feete are as hard as any horne, when they runne over prickles and thornes they feele it not. Their armes is a Bow, with a bunch of Arrowes, of a yard long, furnisht with three feathers at the top; and pointed either with the point of a deere’s horne, or a sharp three-cornered white flint; the rest is a small cane, or straight sticke. They are so experte at these, that I have once seen one, a good distance off, strike a very small bird through the middelle: and they used to cast up a thing from hand, and before it come to the ground to meete it with a shaft. Their bowes are but weake, and carry not levell very farre; yet these are their livelyhood, and every day they are abroad after squirrells, paretidges, turkies, deere, and the like game; whereof there is a wonderfull plenty; though wee dare not yet be so bold ourselves, as to fetch fresh meate by this meanes, farre off.

The Indian houses are all built heere in a long halfe ovall; nine or tenne foote high to the midelle top, where (as in ancient Temples) the light is admitted by a window, halfe a yarde square; which window is also the chimney, which giveth passage to the smoake, the fire being made in the middest of the floore (as in our old halls of England) and about it they use to lie. Save only that their Kings and great men have their Cabbins, and a bed of skinnes well dressed (wherein they are excellent) set on boards and foure stakes driven into the ground. And now at this present, many of us live in these Witchotts (as they terme them) conveniently enough till better bee sett up: But they are dressed up something better than when the Indians had them.

The natural witt of this nation is good and quick, and will concive a thing very readily: they excell in smell and tast, and have far sharper sight than wee. Their ordinary diet is poane and omine, both made of corne, to which they adde at times, fish, fowle, and venison.

They are of great temperance, especially from hott-waters or wine, which they are hardly brought to tast, save only whom the English have corrupted with their owne vices.

For modestie, I must confesse, I never saw from Man or Woman, any action tending to levitie; and yet daily the poore soules are heere in our houses, and take content to bee with us, bringing sometimes turkies, sometimes squirrells as bigge as English rabbetts, but much more dainty; at other times fine white cakes, patridges, oisters ready boil’d and stewed: and doe runne unto us with smiling countenance when they see us, and will fish and hunt for us, if wee will; and all this with entercourse of very few words, but wee have hitherto gathered their meaning by signes.

It is lawfull among them to have more wives than one: but all keepe the rigour of conjugall faith unto their husbands. The women’s very aspect is modest and grave.

Generally the nation is so noble, that you cannot doe them any favour or good turnes but they returne it. There is small passion among them, but they weigh all with a calme and quiet reason. And to doe this the better, in greate affaires they are studdying in a long silence what is best to bee said or done: And then they answer yea or no, in two words: And stand constantly to their resolution.

If these people were once Christians (as by some signes wee have reason to think nothing hinders it but want of language) it would be a right vertuous and renowned Nation.

As for their religion, we have not language ourselves to find it out; Master Thoroughgood, who drives his Lordship’s trade upon the river Patuxunt, hath related somewhat.

First they acknowledge one God of Heaven, which they call (our) God; and cry, a thousand shames upon those Christians that so lightly offend so good a God. But they give no external honour unto him, but use all their might to please an Okee (or frantick spirit) for feare of harme from him. They adore also Wheat and Fire as two gods, very beneficial unto man’s nature.

In the Machicomoco, or temple of Patuxunt, there was seene by our traders this Ceremony. Upon a day appointed all the Townes mett, and a great fire being made; about it stood the younger sort, and behinde them again the elder. Then taking a little deer suett, they cast it into the fire, crying “Taho, Taho,” and lifting their hands to heaven. After this was brought before them a great bagg, filled with a large Tobacco-pipe and Poake, which is the word they use for our Tobacco. This was carried about the fire, the youth following, and singing “Taho, Taho,” in very good tune of voice, and comely gesture of body.

The round ended, one comes reverently to the bagg, and opening it, takes out the Pipe, and divides the Poake from one to one. As every one tooke his draught, hee breath’d his smoake upon the limbs of his owne body; as it were to sanctifie them by this ceremony, to the honour and service of their God, whomsoever they meant.

This is all I can say touching their religion: save only that they seeme to have some knowledge, by tradition, of a flood wherein the world was drowned for sinne.