The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

I. Travellers and Explorers, 1583–1763

§ 6. Robert Sedgwick

Robert Sedgwick, one of the worthiest of those New Englanders who were recalled to serve the mother country, obtained a place for himself in literary annals by the reports which he addressed to Cromwell from the West Indies, where he was in charge of an expedition against the Spaniards. Carlyle, wearied of “the deadly inextricable jungle of tropical confusions” through which he struggled in “the Stygian quagmires of Thurloe’s Collection of the State Papers from 1638 to 1661,” found Sedgwick’s letters “of all others the best worth reading on this subject.” Sedgwick was a prospering settler at Charlestown in Massachusetts, speculating in land and customs duties, an organizer of the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company, when his worldly career was diverted by a chance meeting with Cromwell. The Lord Protector recognized a man after his own model, and sent him in quick succession against the Dutch on the Hudson River, the French at Acadia, and the Spanish of the Island Colonies. In one of his reports from his last expedition to Jamaica he begs the Protector to pardon his

  • prolix and rude expressions. I am apt sometimes to think I shall write no more. I am sometimes sick, and think I may fall among the rest of my countrymen; and durst do no other than plainly to let your highness know our state and condition.
  • Plainly and simply, and most convincingly, he set forth the deplorable situation of Jamaica and of the English soldiers who were dying there.