A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land Of Virginia
Produced by Norman M. Wolcott.
[Redactor's note: This is an 8 bit version with accented characters.
Italics have been bracketed with the single 'quote' character. This is
the 1590 edition of de Brys in the Library of Congress.]
A Briefe and True Report --- by Thomas Hariot
A briefe and true report
of the new found land of Virginia,
'of the commodities and of the nature and man
ners of the naturall inhabitants: Discouered b
the English Colony there seated by' Sir Richard
Greinuile Knight 'In the yeere 1585. Which rema
=ined vnder the gouernment of twelue monethes,
At the speciall charge and direction of the Honou=
rable' SIR WALTER RALEIGH Knight, lord Warden
of the stanneries Who therein hath beene fauoured
and authorised b her' MAIESTIE
':and her letters patents:
This fore booke Is made in English
By Thomas Hariot; seruant to the abouenamed
Sir' WALTER, 'a member of the Colon , and there
implo ed in discouering.'
CVM GRATIA ET PRIVILEGIO CĂS.MATIS SPECIALD
FRANCOFORTI AD MOENVM
TYPIS IOANNIS WECHELI, SVMTIBVS VERO THEODORI
DE BRY ANNO CD D XC.
VENALES REPERIVNTVR IN OFFICINA SIGISMVNDI FEIRABENDII
TO THE RIGHT
WORTHIE AND HONOV-
RABLE, SIR VVALTER RALEGH,
KNIGHT, SENESCHAL OF THE DVCHIES OF
Cornewall and Exeter, and L. Warden of the stannaries in Deuon
and Cornewall, T.B. wisheth true felicitie.
'SIR, seeing that the parte of the Worlde, which is betwene the FLORIDA
and the Cap BRETON nowe nammed VIRGINIA, to the honneur of yours most
souueraine Layde and Queene ELIZABETZ, hath ben descouuerd by yours
meanes. And great chardges. And that your Collonye hath been theer
established to your great honnor and prayse, and noelesser proffit vnto
the common welth: Yt ys good raison that euery man euertwe
him selfe for to showe the benefit which they haue receue of yt.
Theerfore, for my parte I haue been allwayes Desirous for to make yow
knowe the good will that I haue to remayne still your most humble
sŠruant. I haue thincke that I cold faynde noe better occasion to
declare yt, then takinge the paines to cott in copper (the most diligent
ye and well that wear in my possible to doe) the Figures which doe
leuelye represent the forme aud maner of the Inhabitants of the sane
countrye with theirs ceremonies, sollemne,, feastes, and the manner and
situation of their Townes of Villages. Addinge vnto euery figure a brief
declaration of the same, to that ende that cuerye man cold the better
vnderstand that which is in liuely represented. Moreouer I haue thincke
that the aforesaid figures wear of greater commendation, If somme
Histoire which traitinge of the commodites and fertillitye of the
rapport which Thomas Hariot hath lattely sett foorth, and haue causse
them booth togither to be printed for to dedicated vnto you, as a thiuge
which by reigtte dooth allreadye apparteyne vnto you. Therfore doe I
creaue that you will accept this little Booke, and take yt In goode
partte. And desiring that fauor that you will receue me in the nomber of
one of your most humble seruantz, besechinge the lord to blese and
further you in all yours good doinges and actions, and allso to
preserue, and keepe you allwayes in good helthe. And so I comitt you
unto the almyhttie, from Franckfort the first of Apprill 1590.'
'Your most humble seruant,'
THEODORVS de BRY.
TO THE ADVEN-
TVRERS, FAVORERS, AND
VVELVVILLERS OF THE EN-
TERPRISE FOR THE INHABITTING
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 known by the
name of VIRGINIA; many voyages hauing bin thiter made at sundrie times
to his great charge; as first in the yeere 1584. and afterwardes in the
yeeres 1585. '1586'. and now of late this last yeare of '1587'. There
haue bin diuers and variable reportes with some slaunderous and
shamefull speeches bruited abroade by many that returned from thence.
Especially of that discouery which was made by the Colony transported by
Sir Richard Greinuile in the yeare '1585'. being of all the others the
most principal and as yet of most effect, the time of their abode in the
countrey beeing a whole yeare, when as in the other voyage before they
staied but sixe weekes; and the others after were onelie for supply and
transportation, nothing more being discouered then had been before.
Which reports haue not done a litle wrong to many that otherwise would
have also fauoured & aduentured in the action, to the honour and
benefite of our nation, besides the particular profite and credite which
would redound to them selues the dealers therein; as I hope by the
sequele of euents to the shame of those that haue auouched the contrary
shalbe manifest: if you the aduenturers, fauourers, and welwillers do
but either encrease in number, or in opinion continue, or hauing bin
doubtfull renewe your good liking and furtherance to deale therein
according to the worthinesse thereof alreadye found and as you shall
vnderstand hereafter to be requisite. Touching which woorthines through
cause of the diuersitie of relations and reportes, manye of your
opinions coulde not bee firme, nor the mindes of some that are well
disposed, bee setled in any certaintie.
I haue therefore thought it good beeing one that haue beene in the
discouerie and in dealing with the natuall inhabitantes specially
imploied; and hauing therefore seene and knowne more then the ordinaire:
to imparte so much vnto you of the fruites of our labours, as that you
may knowe howe iniuriously the enterprise is slaundered. And that in
publike manner at this present chiefelie for two respectes.
First that some of you which are yet ignorant or doubtfull of the state
thereof, may see that there is sufficiŕt cause why the cheefe
enterpriser with the fauour of her Maiestie, notwithstanding suche
reportes; hath not onelie since continued the action by sending into the
countrey againe, and replanting this last yeere a new Colony; but is
also readie, according as the times and meanes will affoorde, 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 & learne what the countrey is; &
therevpon c§sider how your dealing therein if it proceede, may returne
you profit and gaine; bee it either by inhabitting & planting or
otherwise in furthering thereof.
And least that the substance of my relation should be doubtful vnto you,
as of others by reason of their diuersitie: I will first open the cause
in a few wordes wherefore they are [a 3] so different; referring my
selue to your fauourable constructions, and to be adiudged of as by good
consideration you shall finde cause.
Of our companie that returned some for their misdemenour and ill dealing
in the countrey, haue beene there worthily punished; who by reason of
their badde natures, haue maliciously not onelie spoken ill of their
Gouernours; but for their sakes slaundered the countrie it selfe. The
like also haue those done which were of their confort.
Some beeing ignorant of the state thereof, nothwithstanding since their
returne amongest their friendes and acquaintance and also others,
especially if they were in companie where they might not be gainesaide;
woulde seeme to know so much as no men more; and make no men so great
trauailers as themselues. They stood so much as it maie seeme vppon
their credite and reputation that hauing been a twelue moneth in the
countrey, it woulde haue beene a great disgrace vnto them as they
thought, if they coulde not haue saide much wheter it were true or
false. Of which some haue spoken of more then euer they saw or otherwise
knew to bee there; othersome haue not bin ashamed to make absolute
deniall of that which although not by thŕ, yet by others is most
certainely Ńd there plŕtifully knowne. And othersome 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 Iland where wee were seated, or not farre, or at
the leastwise in few places els, during the time of our aboade in the
countrey; or of that many that after golde and siluer was not so soone
found, as it was by them looked for, had little or no care of any other
thing but to pamper their bellies; or of that many which had little
vnderstanding, lesse discretion, and more tongue then was needfull or
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 bee found any English cities, norsuch faire houses, nor at their
owne wish any of their olde accustomed daintie food, nor any soft beds
of downe or fethers: the countrey was to them miserable, & their reports
Because my purpose was but in briefe to open the cause of the varietie
of such speeches; the particularities of them, and of many enuious,
malicious, and slaűderous reports and deuises els, by our owne countrey
men besides; as trifles that are not worthy of wise men to bee 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
The treatise where of for your more readie view & easier vnderstanding I
will diuide into three speciall parts. In the first I will make
declaration of such commodities there alreadie found or to be raised,
which will not onely serue the ordinary turnes of you which are and
shall bee the plŃters and inhabitants, but such an ouerplus sufficiently
to bee yelded, or by men of skill to bee prouided, as by way of
trafficke and exchaunge with our owne nation of England, will enrich
your selues the prouiders; those that shal deal with you; the
enterprisers in general; and greatly profit our owne countrey men, to
supply them with most things which heretofore they haue bene 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 c§modities which wee know the
countrey by our experience doeth yeld of its selfe for victuall, and
sustenance of mans life; such as is 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 c§modities
besides, as I am able to remember, and as I shall thinke behoofull for
those that shall inhabite, and plant there to knowe of; which specially
concerne building, as also some other necessary vses: with a briefe
description of the nature and maners of the people of the countrey.
THE FIRST PART,
'Silke of grasse or grasse Silke.'
THere is a kind of grasse in the countrey vppon the blades where of
there groweth very good silke in forme of a thin glittering skin to bee
stript of. It groweth two foote and a halfe high or better: the blades
are about two foot in length, and half inch broad. The like groweth in
Persia, which is in the selfe same climate as Virginia, of which very
many of the silke workes that come from thence into Europe are made.
Here of if it be planted and ordered as in Persia, it cannot in reason
be otherwise, but that there will rise in shorte time great profite to
the dealers therein; seeing there is so great vse and vent thereof as
well in our countrey as els where. And by the meanes of sowing & plŃting
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 wilde. Which also by
proof here in England, in making a piece of silke Grogran, we found to
be excellent good.
In manie of our iourneyes we found silke wormes fayre and great; as
bigge as our ordinary walnuttes. Although it hath not beene our happe to
haue found such plentie as elsew here to be in the coutrey we haue heard
of; yet seeing that the countrey doth naturally breede and nourish them,
there is no doubt but if art be added in plantig of mulbery trees and
others fitte for them in commodious places, for their feeding and
nourishing; and some of them carefully gathered and husbanded in that
sort as by men of skill is knowne to be necessarie: there will rise as
great profite in time to the Virginians, as there of doth now to the
Persians, Turkes, 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 it of it selfe; and howsoeuer the leafe, and stemme or stalke doe
differ from ours; the stuffe by the iudgemŕt of men of skill is
altogether as good as ours. And if not, as further proofe should finde
otherwise; we haue that experience of the soile, as thas there canno bee
shewed anie 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 applyed to such
purposes. What benefite heereof may growe in cordage and linnens who can
not easily vnderstand?
There is a veine of earth along the sea coast for the space of fourtie
or fiftie miles, whereof by the iudgement of some that have made triall
heere in England, is made good Allum, of that kinde which is called
Roche Allum. The richnesse of such a commoditie is so well knowne that I
neede not to saye any thing thereof. The same earth doth also yeelde
White Copresse, Nitrum, and Alumen Plumeum, but nothing so plentifully
as the common Allum; which be also of price and profitable.
Wapeih, a kinde of earth so called by the naturall inhabitants; very
like to terra sigillata: and hauing beene refined, it hath beene found
by some of our Phisiti§s and Chirurgeons to bee of the same kinde of
vertue and more effectuall. The inhabitŃts vfe it very much for the cure
of sores and woundes: there is in diuers places great plentie, and in
some places of a blewe sort.
'Pitch, Tarre, Rozen, and Turpentine.'
There are those kindes of trees which yeelde them abundantly and great
store. In the very same Iland where wee were seated, being fifteene
miles of length, and fiue or sixe miles in breadth, there are fewe trees
els but of the same kind; the whole Iland being full. [Sassafras.]
Sassafras, called by the inhabitantes Winauk, a kinde of wood of most
pleasand and sweete smel; and of most rare vertues in phisick for the
cure of many diseases. It is found by experience to bee farre better and
of more vses then the wood which is called Guaiacum, or Lignum vitŠ. For
the description, the manner of vsing and the manifolde vertues thereof,
I referre you to the booke of Monardus, translated and entituled in
English, The ioyfull newes from the West Indies.
Cedar, a very sweet wood & fine timber; whereof if nests of chests be
there made, or timber therof fitted for sweet & fine bedsteads, tables,
or deskes, lutes, virginalles & many things else, (of which there hath
beene proofe made already) to make vp fraite with other principal
commodities will yeeld profite.
There are two kinds of grapes that the soile doth yeeld naturally: the
one is small and sowre of the ordinarie bignesse as ours in England: the
other farre greater & of himselfe iushious sweet. When they are plŃted
and husbandeg as they ought, a principall commoditie of wines by them
may be raised.
There are two sortes of Walnuttes both holding oyle, but the one farre
more plentifull then the other. When there are milles & other deuises
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
inhabitantes, wee finde to yeelde very good and sweete oyle. Furthermore
the Beares of the countrey are commonly very fatte, and in some places
there are many: their fatnesse because it is so liquid, may well be
termed oyle, and hath many speciall vses.
All along the Sea coast there are great store of Otters, which beeying
taken by weares and other engines made for the purpose, will yeelde good
profite. Wee 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 handes.
Luzarnes also we haue vnderstŃding of. although for the time we saw
Deare skinnes dressed after the manner of Chamoes or vndressed are to be
had of the naturall inhabitants thousands yeerely by way of trifficke
for trifles: and no more wast or spoile of Deare then is and hath beene
ordinarily in time before.
In our trauailes, there was founde one to haue beene killed by a saluage
or inhabitant: and in an other place the smell where one or more had
lately beene before: whereby we gather besides then by the relation of
the people that there are some in the countrey: good profite will rise
In two places of the countrey specially, one about fourescore and the
other sixe score miles from the Fort or place where wee dwelt: wee
founde neere the water side the ground to be rockie, which by the triall
of a minerall man, was founde to holde Iron richly. It is founde in
manie places of the countrey else. I knowe nothing to the contrarie, but
that it maie bee allowed for a good marchantable commoditie, considering
there the small charge for the labour and feeding of men: the infinite
store of wood: the want of wood and deerenesse thereof in England: & the
necessity of ballasting of shippes.
A hundred and fiftie miles into the maine in two townes wee founde with
the inhabitaunts diuerse small plates of copper, that had beene made as
wee vnderstood, by the inhabitantes that dwell farther into the
countrey: where as they say are mountaines and Riuers that yeelde also
whyte graynes of Mettall, which is to bee deemed Siluer. For
confirmation whereof at the time of our first arriuall in the Countrey,
I sawe with some others with mee, two small peeces of siluer grosly
beaten about the weight of a Testrone, hangyng in the eares of a Wiroans
or chiefe Lorde that dwelt about fourescore myles from vs; of whom
thorowe enquiry, by the number of dayes and the way, I learned that it
had come to his handes from the same place or neere, where I after
vnderstood the copper was made and the white graynes of mettall founde.
The aforesaide copper wee also founde by triall to holde siluer.
Sometimes in feeding on muscles wee founde some pearle; but it was our
hap to meete with ragges, or of a pide colour; not hauing yet discouered
those [places] places where wee hearde of better and more plentie. One
of our companie; a man of skill in such matters, had gathered to gether
from among the sauage people aboute fiue thousande: of which number he
chose so many as made a fayre chaine, which for their likenesse and
vniformitie in roundnesse, orientnesse, and pidenesse of mŃy excellent
colours, with equalitie in greatnesse, were verie fayer and rare; and
had therefore beene presented to her Maiestie, had wee not by casualtie
and through extremity of a storme, lost them with many things els in
comming away from the countrey.
Sweete Gummes of diuers kindes and many other Apothecary drugges of
which wee will make speciall mention, when wee shall receiue it from
such men of skill in that kynd, that in taking reasonable paines shall
discouer them more particularly then wee haue done; and than now I can
makc relation of, for want of the examples I had prouited and gathered,
and are nowe lost. with other thinges by causualtie before mentioned.
'Dyes of diuers kindes.'
There is Shoemake well knowen, and vsed in England for blacke; the seede
of an hearbe called Wasewˇwr; little small rootes called Chßppacor; and
the barke of the tree called by the inhabitaunts Tangomˇckonomindge:
which Dies are for diuers sortes of red: their goodnesse for our English
clothes remayne yet to be proued. The inhabitants vse them onely for the
dying of hayre; and colouring of their faces, aud Mantles made of Deare
skinnes; and also for the dying of Rushes to make artificiall workes
withall in their Mattes and Baskettes; hauing no other thing besides
that they account of, apt to vse them for. If they will not proue
merchantable there is no doubt but the Planters there shall finde apte
vses for them, as also for other colours which wee knowe to be there.
A thing of so great vent and vse amongst English Diers, which cannot bee
yeelded sufficiently in our owne countrey for spare of ground; may bee
planted in Virginia, there being ground enough. The grouth therof need
not to be doubted when as in the Ilandes of the Asores it groweth
plentifully, which is in thesame climate. So likewise of Madder.
Whe carried thither Suger canes to plant which beeing not so well
preserued as was requisit, & besides the time of the yere being past for
their setting when we [b 2] arriued, wee could not make that proofe of
them as wee desired. NotwithstŃding, 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 Lemmons, there may be
planted also Quinses. Wherebi may grow in reasonable time if the action
be diligently prosecuted, no small commodities in Sugers, Suckets, and
Many other commodities by planting may there also bee raised, which I
leaue to your discret and gentle considerations: and many also may bee
there which yet we haue not discouered. Two more commodities of great
value one of certaintie, and the other in hope, not to be planted, but
there to be raised & in short time to be prouided and prepared, I might
have specified. So likewise of those commodities already set downe I
might haue said more; as of the particular places where they are founde
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 bee therewithall
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]
THE SECOND PART,
OF SVCHE COMMO--
DITIES AS VIRGINIA IS
knowne to yeelde for victuall and sustenŃce of mans
life, vsually fed vpon by the naturall inhabitants:
as also by vs during the time of our aboad.
And first of such as are sowed
PAGATOWR, a kinde of graine so called by the inhabitants; the same in
the West Indies is called MAYZE: English men call it Guinney wheate or
Turkie wheate, 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 yeelde a very white and sweete flowre: beeing vsed according to his
kinde it maketh a very good bread. Wee made of the same in the countrey
some mault, whereof was brued as good ale as was to bee desired. So
likewise by the help of hops therof may bee made as good Beere. It is a
graine of marueilous great increase; of a thousand, fifteene hundred and
some two thousand fold. There are three sortes, of which two are ripe in
an eleuen and twelue weekes at the most: sometimes in ten, after the
time they are set, and are then of height in stalke about sixe or seuen
foote. The other sort is ripe in fourteene, and is about ten foote high,
of the stalkes some beare foure heads, some three, some one, and two:
euery head c§taining fiue, sixe, or seuŕ hundred graines within a fewe
more or lesse. Of these graines besides bread, the inhabitants make
victuall [b 3] eyther by parching them; or seething them whole vntill
they be broken; or boyling the floure with water into a pappe.
'Okindgier', called by vs 'Beanes', because in greatnesse & 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
'Wickonzˇwr', 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 tast much, & are far better then our
English peaze. Both the beanes and peaze are ripe in tenne weekes after
they are set. They make them victuall either by boyling them all to
pieces into a broth; or boiling them whole vntill they bee soft and
beginne to breake as is vsed in England, eyther by themselues or mixtly
together: Sometime they mingle of the wheate with them. Sometime also
beeing whole soddeu, they bruse or pound them in a morter, & thereof
make loaues or lumps of dowishe bread, which they vse to eat for
'Macˇcqwer', according to their seuerall formes called by vs,
'Pompions', 'Mellions', and 'Gourdes', because they are of the like
formes as those kindes 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
There is an hearbe 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 foote 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 brothes; other salte they knowe not. Wee our selues, vsed
the leaues also for pothearbes.
There is also another great hearbe in forme of a Marigolde, about sixe
foote in height; the head with the floure is a spanne in breadth. Some
take it to bee 'Planta Solis': of the seedes heereof they make both a
kinde of bread and broth.
All the aforesaid commodities for victuall are set or sowed, sometimes
in groundes a part and seuerally by themselues; but for the most part
together in one ground mixtly: the manner thereof with the dressing and
preparing of the groűd, because I will note vnto you the fertilitie of
the soile; I thinke good briefly to describe.
The ground they neuer fatten with mucke, dounge or any other thing;
neither plow nor digge it as we in England, but onely prepare it in sort
as followeth. A fewe daies before they sowe or set, the men with wooden
instruments, made almost in forme of mattockes or hoes with long
handles; the women with short peckers or parers, because they vse them
sitting, of a foote long and about fiue inches in breadth: doe onely
breake the vpper part of the ground to rayse vp the weedes, grasse, &
old stubbes of corne stalkes with their rootes. The which after a day or
twoes [drying] drying in the Sunne, being scrapte vp into many small
heapes, 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 grounde; I say that then they woulde eyther disperse the
ashes abroade; which wee obserued they doe not, except the heapes bee
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 that care they touch not one
another, (about an inch asunder) and couer them with the moulde againe:
and so through out the whole plot, making such holes and vsing them
after such maner: but with this regard that they bee made in rŃkes,
euery ranke differing from other halfe a fadome or a yarde, and the
holes also in euery ranke, as much. By this meanes there is a yarde
spare ground betwene euery hole: where according to discretion here and
there, they set as many Beanes and Peaze: in diuers places also among
the seedes of 'Macˇcqwer', 'Melden' and 'Planta Solis'.
The ground being thus set according to the rate by vs experimented, an
English Acre conteining fourtie pearches in length, and foure in
breadth, doeth there yeeld in croppe or ofcome of corne, beanes, and
peaze, at the least two hűdred London bushelles: besides the 'Macˇcqwer,
Melden', and 'Planta Solis': When as in England fourtie bushelles of our
wheate yeelded out of such an acre is thought to be much.
I thought also good to note this vnto you, if you which shall inhabite
and plant there, maie know how specially that countrey corne is there to
be preferred before ours: Besides the manifold waies in applying it to
victuall, the increase is so much that small labour and paines is
needful in respect that 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 husbane so much grounde (hauing once borne corne before) with lesse
thŕ foure and twentie houres labour, as shall yeelde him victuall in a
large proporti§ for a twelue m§eth, if hee haue nothing else, but that
which the same groűd will yeelde, and of that kinde onelie which I haue
before spoken of: the saide groűd being also but of fiue and twentie
yards square. And if neede require, but that there is ground enough,
there might be raised out of one and the selfsame ground two haruestes
or ofcomes; for they sowe or set and may at anie time when they thinke
good from the middest of March vntill the ende 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 neuertheles whether to vse or not to vse it, you that
inhabite maie do as you shall haue farther cause to thinke best. Of the
grouth you need not to doubt: for barlie, oates and peaze, we haue seene
proof of, not beeing purposely [b 4] sowen but fallen casually in the
worst sort of ground, and yet to be as faire as any we haue euer seene
here in England. But of wheat because it was musty and hat taken salt
water wee could make no triall: and of rye we had none. Thus much haue I
digressed and I hope not vnnecessarily: nowe will I returne againe to my
course and intreate of that which yet remaineth appertaining to this
There is an herbe which is sowed a part by it selfe & is called by the
inhabitants Vppˇwoc: In the West Indies it hath diuers names, according
to the seuerall places & countries where it groweth and is vsed: The
Spaniardes generally call it Tobacco. The leaues thereof being dried and
brought into powder: they vse to take the fume or smoke thereof by
sucking it through pipes made of claie into their stomacke and heade;
from whence it purgeth superfluous fleame & other grosse humors, openeth
all the pores & passages of the body: by which meanes the vse thereof,
not only preserueth the body from obstructi§s; but also if any be, so
that they haue not beene of too long continuance, in short time breaketh
them: wherby their bodies are notably preserued in health, & know not
many greeuous diseases wherewithall wee in England are oftentimes
The Vppˇwoc us of so precious estimation amongest then, that they thinke
their gods are maruelously delighted therwith: Wherupon sometime they
make hallowed fires & cast some of the pouder therein for a sacrifice:
being in a storme vppon 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, somtime dauncing, clapping of hands,
holding vp of hands, & staring vp into rhe heauens, vttering therewithal
and chattering strange words & noises.
We ourselues during the time we were there vsed to suck it after their
maner, as also since our returne, & haue found manie rare and wonderful
experiments of the vertues thereof; of which the relation woulde require
a volume by it selfe: the vse of it by so manie of late, men & women of
great calling as else, and some learned Phisitions also, is sufficient
And these are all the commodities for sustenance of life that I know and
can remember they vse to husband: all else that followe are founde
growing naturally or wilde.
OPENAVK are a kind of roots of round forme, some of the bignes of
walnuts, some far greater, which are found in moist & marish grounds
growing many together one by another in ropes, or as thogh they were
fastnened with a string. Being boiled or sodden they are very good meate.
OKEEPENAVK are also of round shape, found in dry grounds: some are [of
the] of the bignes 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 roste nor seeth. Their tast is not so good as of the former
rootes, notwithstanding for want of bread & somtimes for varietie the
inhabitants vse to eate them with fish or flesh, and in my iudgement
they doe as well as the houshold bread made of rie heere in England.
'Kaish˙cpenauk' a white kind of roots about the bignes of hen egs & nere
of that forme: their tast was not so good to our seeming as of the
other, and therfore their place and manner of growing not so much cared
for by vs: the inhabitŃts notwithstanding vsed to boile & eate many.
'Tsinaw' a kind of roote much like vnto the which in England is called
the 'China root' brought from the East Indies. And we know not anie
thing to the c§trary but that it maie be of the same kind. These roots
grow manie together in great clusters and doe bring foorth a brier
stalke, but the leafe in shape far vnlike; which beeing supported by the
trees it groweth neerest vnto, wil reach or climbe to the top of the
highest. From these roots while they be new or fresh beeing chopt into
small pieces & stampt, is strained with water a iuice that maketh bread,
& also being boiled, a very good spoonemeate in maner of a gelly, and is
much better in tast if it bee tempered with oyle. This 'Tsinaw' is not
of that sort which by some was caused to be brought into England for the
'China roote', for it was discouered since, and is in vfe as is
aforesaide: but that which was brought hither is not yet knowne neither
by vs nor by the inhabitants to serue for any vse or purpose; although
the rootes in shape are very like.
'Cosc˙shaw', some of our company tooke to bee that kinde of roote which
the Spaniards in the West Indies call 'Cassauy', whereupon also many
called it by that name: it groweth in very muddie pooles and moist
groundes. Being dressed according to the countrey maner, it maketh a
good bread, and also a good sponemeate, and is vsed very much by the
inhabitants: The iuice of this root is poison, and therefore heede must
be taken before any thing be made therewithal: Either the rootes must
bee first sliced and dried in the Sunne, or by the fire, and then being
pounded into floure wil make good bread: or els while they are greene
they are to bee pared, cut into pieces and stampt; loues of the same to
be laid neere or ouer the fire vntill it be soure, and then being well
pounded againe, bread, or sponemeate very good in taste, and holsome may
be made thereof.
'Habascon' is a roote of hoat taste almost of the forme and bignesse of
a Parseneepe, of it selfe it is no victuall, but onely a helpe beeing
boiled together with other meates.
There are also 'Leekes' differeing little from ours in England that grow
in many places of the countrey, of which, when we came in places where,
wee gathered and eate many, but the naturall inhabitants neuer.
CHESTNVTS, there are in diuers places great store: some they vse to eate
rawe, some they stampe and boile to make spoonemeate, and with some
being sodden they make such a manner of dowebread as they vfe of their
beanes before mentioned.
WALNVTS: There are two kindes of Walnuts, and of then infinit store: In
many places where very great woods for many miles together the third
part of trees are walnuttrees. The one kind is of the same taste and
forme or litle differing from ours of England, but that they are harder
and thicker shelled: the other is greater and hath a verie ragged and
harde shell: but the kernell great, verie oylie and sweete. Besides
their eating of them after our ordinarie maner, they breake them with
stones and pound them in morters with water to make a milk which they
vse to put into some sorts of their spoonmeate; also among their sodde
wheat, peaze, beanes and pompions which maketh them haue a farre more
MEDLARS a kind of verie good fruit, so called by vs chieflie for these
respectes: 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 differŕt: for
they are as red as cheries and very sweet: but whereas the cherie is
sharpe sweet, they are lushious sweet.
METAQVESVNNAVK, a kinde of pleasaunt fruite almost of the shape & bignes
of English peares, but that they are of a perfect red colour as well
within as without. They grow on a plant whose leaues are verie thicke
and full of prickles as sharpe as needles. Some that haue bin in the
Indies, where they haue seen that kind of red die of great price which
is called Cochinile to grow, doe describe his plant right like vnto this
of Metaques˙nnauk but whether it be the true Cochinile or a bastard or
wilde kind, it cannot yet be certified; seeing that also as I heard,
Cochinile is not of the fruite but founde 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 marchantable
STRABERIES there are as good & as great as those which we haue in our
MVLBERIES, Applecrabs, Hurts or Hurtleberies, such as wee haue in
SACQVENVMMENER a kinde of berries almost like vnto capres but somewhat
greater which grow together in clusters vpon a plant or herb that is
found in shalow waters: being boiled eight or nine hours according to
their kind are very good meate and holesome, otherwise if they be eaten
they will make a man for the time franticke or extremely sicke.
There is a kind of reed which beareth a seed almost like vnto our rie or
wheat, & being boiled is good meate. [In]
In our trauailes in some places wee founde wilde peaze like vnto ours in
England but that they were lesse, which are also good meate.
'Of a kinde of fruite or berrie in the forme of
There is a kind of berrie or acorne, of which there are fiue sorts that
grow on seuerall kinds of trees; the one is called 'SagatÚmener', the
second 'Osßmener', the third 'Pummuckˇner'. These kind of acorns 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 vntil they be soft & then being sod they make a good
victuall, either to eate so simply, or els being also pounded, to make
loaues or lumpes of bread. These be also the three kinds of which, I
said before, the inhabitants vsed to make sweet oyle.
An other sort is called 'Sap˙mmener' which being boiled or parched doth
eate and taste like vnto chestnuts. They sometime also make bread of
The fifth sort is called 'Mang˙mmenauk', and is the acorne of their kind
of oake, the which beeing dried after the maner of the first sortes, and
afterward watered they boile them, & their seruants or sometime the
chiefe thŕselues, either for variety or for want of bread, doe eate them
with their fish or flesh.
'Deare', in some places there are great store: neere vnto the sea coast
they are of the ordinarie bignes as ours in England, & some lesse: but
further vp into the countrey where there is better feed they are
greater: they differ from ours onely in this, their tailes are longer
and the snags of their hornes looke backward.
'Conies', Those that we haue seen & al that we can heare of are of a
grey colour like vnto hares: in some places there are such plentie that
all the people of some townes make them mantles of the furre or flue of
the skinnes of those they vsually take.
'Saquen˙ckot' & 'Maquˇwoc'; two kindes of small beastes greater then
conies which are very good meat. We neuer tooke any of them our selves,
but sometime eate of such as the inhabitants had taken & brought vnto vs.
'Squirels' which are of a grey colour, we haue taken & eaten.
'Beares' which are all of black colour. The beares of this countrey are
good meat; the inhabitants in time of winter do use to take & eate maie;
so also somtime did wee. They are taken comonlie in this sort. In some
Ilands or places where they are, being hunted for, as soone as they haue
spiall of a man they presently run awaie, & 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
bekilled; we sometime shotte them downe with our caleeuers.
I haue the names of eight & twenty seuerall sortes of beasts which I
haue heard of to be here and there dispersed in the countrie, especially
in the maine: of which there are only twelue kinds that we haue yet
discouered, & of those that be good meat we know only them before
mentioned. The inhabitŃts somtime kil the 'Lyon' & eat him: & we somtime
as they came to our hands of their 'Wolues' or 'woluish Dogges', which I
haue not set downe for good meat, least that some woulde vnderstand my
iudgement therin to be more simple than needeth, although I could
alleage the difference in taste of those kindes from ours, which by some
of our company haue been experimented in both.
'Turkie cockes' and 'Turkie hennes': 'Stockdoues': 'Partridges':
'Cranes': 'Hernes': & in winter great store of 'Swannes' & 'Geese'. Of
al sortes of foule I haue the names in the countrie language of
fourescore and sixe of which number besides those that be named, we haue
taken, eaten, & haue the pictures as they were there drawne with the
names of the inhabitaunts of seuerall strange sortes of water foule
eight, and seuenteene kindes more of land foul, although wee haue seen
and eaten of many more, which for want of leasure there for the purpose
coulde not bee pictured: and after wee are better furnished and stored
vpon further discouery, with their strange beastes, fishe, trees,
plants, and hearbes, they shall bee also published.
There are also 'Parats', 'Faulcons', & 'Marlin haukes', which although
with vs they bee not vsed for meate, yet for other causes I thought good
For foure monthes of the yeere, February, March, Aprill and May, there
are plentie of 'Sturgeons': And also in the same monethes of 'Herrings',
some of the ordinary bignesse as ours in England, but the most part
farre greater, of eighteene, twentie inches, and some two foote in
length and better; both these kindes of fishe in those monethes are most
plentifull, and in best season, which wee founde to bee most delicate
and pleasaunt meate.
There are also 'Troutes, Porpoises, Rayes, Oldwiues, Mullets, Plaice,'
and very many other sortes of excellent good fish, which we haue taken &
eaten, whose names I know not but in the countrey language; wee haue of
twelue sorts more the pictures as they were drawn in the countrey with
The inhabitants vse to take then two maner of wayes, the one is by a
kind of wear made of reedes which in that countrey are very strong. The
other way which is more strange, is with poles make sharpe at one end,
by shooting them into the fish after the maner as Irishmen cast dartes;
either as they are rowing in their boates or els as they are wading in
the shallowes for the purpose. [There]
There are also in many places plentie of these kindes which follow.
'Sea crabbes', such as we haue in England.
'Oystres', some very great, and some small; some rounde and some of a
long shape: They are founde both in salt water and brackish, and those
that we had out of salt water are far better than the other as in our
Also 'Muscles, Scalopes, Periwinkles,' and 'Creuises'.
Seekanauk, a kind of crustie shell fishe which is good meate, about a
foote in breadth, hauing a crustie tayle, many legges like a crab; and
her eyes in her backe. They are founde in shallowes of salt waters; and
sometime on the shoare.
There are many 'Tortoyses' both of lande and sea kinde, their backes &
bellies are shelled very thicke; their head, feete, and taile, which are
in appearance, seeme ougly as though they were members of a serpent or
venemous: but notwithstanding they are very good meate, as also their
egges. Some haue bene founde of a yard in bredth and better.
And thus haue I made relation of all sortes of victuall that we fed vpon
for the time we were in 'Virginia', as also the inhabitants themselues,
as farre foorth as I knowe and can remember or that are specially worthy
to bee remembred.
THE THIRD AND
OF SVCH OTHER
THINGES AS IS BE HOO-
full for those which shall plant and inhabit to
know of; with a description of the nature
and manners of the people of
'Of commodities for building and other
THose other things which I am more to make rehearsall of, are such as
concerne building, and other mechanicall necessarie vses; as diuers
sortes of trees for house & ship timber, and other vses els: Also lime,
stone, and brick, least that being not mentioned some might haue bene
doubted of, or by some that are malicious reported the contrary.
'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 saide before very many, some haue bene seen
excellent faire timber of foure & fiue fadome, & aboue fourescore foot
streight without bough.
'Firre trees' fit for masts of ships, some very tall & great.
'RakÝock', a kind of trees so called that are sweet wood of which the
inhabitans that were neere vnto vs doe commonly make their boats or
Canoes of the form of trowes; only with the helpe of fire, harchets of
stones, and shels; we haue known some so great being made in that sort
of one tree that they haue carried well xx. men at once, besides much
baggage: the timber being great, tal, streight, soft, light, & yet tough
enough I thinke (besides other vses) to be fit also for masts of ships.
'Cedar', a sweet wood good for seelings, Chests, Boxes, Bedsteedes,
Lutes, Virginals, and many things els, as I haue also said before. Some
of our company which haue wandered in some places where I haue not bene,
haue made certaine 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'; wherof the inhabitants vse to make their
'Holly' a necessary thing for the making of birdlime.
'Willowes' good for the making of weares and weeles to take fish after
the English manner, although the inhabitants vse only reedes, which
because they are so strong as also flexible, do serue for that turne
very well and sufficiently.
'Beech'and 'Ashe', good for caske, hoopes: and if neede require, plow
worke, as also for many things els.
'Ascopo' a kinde of tree very like vnto Lawrell, the barke is hoat in
tast and spicie, it is very like to that tree which Monardus describeth
to bee 'Cassia Lignea' of the West Indies.
There are many other strange trees whose names I knowe not but in the
'Virginian' language, of which I am not nowe able, neither is it so
conuenient for the present to trouble you with particular relati§:
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.
Now for Stone, Bricke and Lime, thus it is. Neere vnto the Sea coast
where wee dwelt, there are no kind of stones to bee found (except a fewe
small pebbles about foure miles off) but such as haue bene brought from
farther out of the maine. In some of our voiages wee haue seene diuers
hard raggie stones, great pebbles, and a kinde of grey stone like vnto
marble, of which the inhabitants make their hatchets to cleeue wood.
Vpon inquirie wee heard that a little further vp into the Countrey were
all sortes verie many, although of Quarries they are ignorant, neither
haue they vse of any store whereupon they should haue occasion to seeke
any. For if euerie housholde haue one or two to cracke Nuttes, grinde
shelles, whet copper, and sometimes other stones for hatchets, they haue
enough: neither vse they any digging, but onely for graues about three
foote deepe: and therefore no maruaile that they know neither Quarries,
nor lime stones, which both may bee in places neerer than they wot of.
In the meane time vntill there bee discouerie of sufficient store in
some place or other c§uenient, 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 Oister shels, and of others
burnt, after the maner as they vse in the Iles of Tenet and Shepy, and
also in diuers other places of England: Which kinde of lime is well
knowne to bee as good as any other. And of Oister shels there is plentie
enough: for besides diuers other particular places where are abundance,
there is one shallowe sounde along the coast, where for the space of
many miles together in length, and two or three miles in breadth, the
grounde is nothing els beeing but halfe a foote or a foote vnder water
for the most part.
This much can I say further more of stones, that about 120. miles from
our fort neere the water in the side of a hill was founde by a Gentleman
of our company, a great veine of hard ragge stones, which I thought good
to remember vnto you.
'Of the nature and manners of the people'
It resteth I speake a word or two of the naturall inhabitants, their
natures and maners, leauing large discourse thereof vntill 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 skins, &
aprons of the same rounde about their middles; all els naked; of such as
difference of statures only as wee in England; hauing no edge tooles or
weapons of yron or steele to offend vs withall, neither know they how to
make any: those weap§s that they haue, are onlie bowes made of Witch
hazle, & arrowes of reeds; flat edged truncheons also of wood about a
yard long, neither haue they any thing to defend themselues but targets
made of barcks; and some armours made of stickes wickered together with
Their townes are but small, & neere the sea coast but few, some
c§taining but 10. or 12. houses: some 20. the greatest that we haue
seene haue bene but of 30. houses: if they be walled it is only done
with barks 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 rounde
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 mattes 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. yardes long, and in
other some wee haue seene of foure and twentie. [In]
In some places of the countrey one onely towne belongeth to the
gouernment of a 'Wirˇans' or chiefe Lorde; in other some two or three,
in some sixe, eight, & more; the greatest 'Wirˇans' that yet we had
dealing with had but eighteene townes in his gouernmŕt, 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 farther they
are distant the greater is the difference.
Their maner of warres amongst themselues is either by sudden surprising
one an other most commonly about the dawning of the day, or moone light;
or els by ambushes, or some suttle deuises: Set battels are very rare,
except if fall out where there are many trees, where eyther part may
haue some hope of defence, after the deliuerie of euery arrow, in
leaping behind some or other.
If there fall out any warres betweŕ vs & them; what their fight is
likely to bee, we hauing aduantages against them so many maner of waies,
as by our discipline, our strange weapons and deuises els; especially by
ordinance great and small, it may be easily imagined; by the experience
we 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 thinges of greater value: Notwithstanding in their proper
manner considering the want of such meanes as we haue, they seeme very
ingenious; For although they haue no such tooles, nor any such craftes,
sciences and artes as wee; yet in those thinges they doe, they shewe
excellencie of wit. And by howe much they vpon due consideration shall
finde our manner of knowledges and craftes to exceede theirs in
perfection, and speed for doing or execution, by so much the more is it
probable that they shoulde desire our friendships & loue, and haue the
greater respect for pleasing and obeying vs. Whereby may bee hoped if
meanes of good gouernment bee vsed, that they may in short time be
brought to ciuilitie, and the imbracing of true religion.
Some religion they haue alreadie, which although it be farre from the
truth, yet beyng as it is, there is hope it may bee the easier and
They beleeue that there are many Gods which they call 'Mantˇac', but of
different sortes and degrees; one onely chiefe and great God, which hath
bene from all eternitie. Who as they affirme when hee purposed to make
the worlde, made first other goddes of a principall order to bee as
meanes and instruments to bee vsed in the creation and gouernment to
follow; and after the Sunne, Moone, and Starres, as pettie goddes and
the instruments of the other order more principall. First they say were
made waters, out of which by the gods was made all diuersitie of
creatures that are visible or inuisible.
For mankind they say a woman was made first, which by the woorking of
one of the goddes, conceiued and brought foorth children: And in such
sort they say they had their beginning. [C 3]
But how manie yeeres or ages haue passed since, they say they can make
no relation, hauing no letters nor other such meanes as we to keepe
recordes of the particularities of times past, but onelie tradition from
father to sonne.
They thinke that all the gods are of humane shape, & therfore they
represent them by images in the formes of men, which they call
'Kewasowok' one alone is called 'Kewßs'; Them they place in houses
appropriate or temples which they call 'Mathicˇmuck'; Where they
woorship, praie, sing, and make manie times offerings vnto them. In some
'Machicˇmuck' we haue seene but on '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 bodie according to the workes it
hath done, it is eyther carried to heauŕ the habitacle of gods, there to
enioy perpetuall blisse and happiness, or els to a great pitte or hole,
which they thinke to bee in the furthest partes of their part of the
worlde towarde the sunne set, there to burne continually: the place they
For the confirmation of this opinion, they tolde mee two stories of two
men that had been lately dead and reuiued againe, the one happened but
few yeres before our comming in the countrey of a wicked man which
hauing beene dead and buried, the next day the earth of the graue beeing
seene to moue, was takŕ vp againe; Who made declaration where his soule
had beene, that is to saie very neere entring into 'Popogusso', had not
one of the gods saued him & gaue him leaue to returne againe, and teach
his friends what they should doe to auiod that terrible place of tormenr.
The other happened in the same yeere wee were there, but in a towne that
was threescore miles from vs, and it was tolde mee for straunge newes
that one beeing dead, buried and taken vp againe as the first, shewed
that although his bodie had lien dead in the graue, yet his soule was
aliue, and had trauailed farre in a long broade waie, on both sides
whereof grewe most delicate and pleasaűt trees, bearing more rare and
excellent fruites then euer hee had seene before or was able to
expresse, and at length came to most braue and faire houses, neere which
hee met his father, that had beene 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 subtilty soeuer be in the 'Wiroances' and Priestes, this opinion
worketh so much in manie of the common and simple sort of people that it
maketh them haue great respect to their Gouernours, and also great care
what they do, to auoid torment after death, and to enjoy blisse;
although nothwithstanding there is punishment ordained for malefactours,
as stealers, whoremoongers, and other sortes of wicked doers; some
punished with death, some with forfeitures, some with beating, according
to the greatnes of the factes.
And this is the summe of their religion, which I learned by hauing
special familiarity [miliarity] with some of their priestes. 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 admirati§ of ours, with
earnest desire in many, to learne more than we had meanes for want of
perfect vtterance in their language to expresse.
Most thinges they sawe with vs, as Mathematicall instruments, sea
compasses, the vertue of the loadstone in drawing yron, a perspectiue
glasse whereby was shewed manie strange sightes, burning glasses,
wildefire woorkes, gunnes, bookes, writing and reading, spring clocks
that seeme to goe of themselues, and manie other thinges that wee had,
were so straunge 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 works of gods then of men, or at the
leastwise they had bin giuen and taught vs of the gods. Which made manie
of them to haue such opinions of vs, as that if they knew not the trueth
of god and religion already, it was rather to be 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 we spake of concerning such matters.
Manie times and in euery towne where I came, according as I was able, I
made declaration of the contentes of the Bible; that therein was set
foorth the true and onelie GOD, and his mightie woorkes, that therein
was contayned the true doctrine of saluation through Christ, which manie
particularities of Miracles and chiefe poyntes of religion, as I was
able then to vtter, and thought fitte for the time. And although I told
them the booke materially & of itself was not of anie such vertue, as I
thought they did conceiue, but onely the doctrine therein c§tained; yet
would many be glad to touch it, to embrace it, to kisse it, to hold it
to their brests and heades, and stroke ouer all their bodie with it; to
shew their hungrie desire of that knowledge which was spoken of.
The 'Wiroans' with whom we dwelt called 'Wingina', and many of his
people would be glad many times to be with vs at our praiers, and many
times call vpon vs both in his owne towne, as also in others whither he
sometimes accompanied vs, to pray and sing Psalmes; hoping thereby to
bee partaker in the same effectes which wee by that meanes also expected.
Twise this 'Wiroans' was so greiuously sicke that he was like to die,
and as hee laie languishing, doubting of anie helpe by his owne
priestes, and thinking he was in such daunger for offending vs and
thereby our god, sent for some of vs to praie 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 requestes of manie others
in the like case.
On a time also when their corne began to wither by reason of a drouth
which happened extraordinarily, fearing that it had come to passe by
reason that in some thing they had displeased vs, many woulde come to
vs & desire vs to praie to our God of England, that he would perserue
their corne, promising that when it was ripe we also should be partakers
of the fruite.
There could at no time happen any strange sicknesse, losses, hurtes, or
any other crosse vnto them, but that they would impute to vs the cause
or meanes therof for offending or not pleasing vs.
One other rare and strange accident, leauing others, will I mention
before I ende, which mooued the whole countrey that either knew or
hearde of vs, to haue vs in wonderfull admiration.
There was no towne where we had any subtile deuise practised against vs,
we leauing it vnpunished or not reuenged (because wee sought by all
meanes possible to win them by gentlenesse) but that within a few dayes
after our departure from euerie such towne, the people began to die very
fast, and many in short space; in some townes about twentie, in some
fourtie, in some sixtie, & in one sixe score, which in trueth was very
manie in respect of their numbers. This happened in no place that wee
could learne but where wee had bene, where they vsed some practise
against vs, and after such time; The disease also so strange, that they
neither knew what it was, nor how to cure it; the like by the 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
Insomuch that when some of the inhabitantes which were our friends &
especially the 'Wiroans Wingina' had obserued such effects in foure or
fiue towns to follow their wicked practises, they were preswaded that it
was the worke of our God through our meanes, and that wee by him might
kil and slai 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 iourneyes, hearing that wee had
wrought no reuenge with our weapons, & fearing vpon some cause the
matter should so rest: did come and intreate vs that we woulde bee a
meanes to our God that they as others that had dealt ill with vs might
in like sort die; alleaging howe much it would be for our credite and
profite, as also theirs; and hoping furthermore that we would do so much
at their requests in respect of the friendship we professe them.
Whose entreaties although wee shewed that they were vngodlie, affirming
that our God would not subiect him selfe to anie such praiers and
requestes of mŕ: that in deede all thinges haue beene and were to be
done according to his good pleasure as he had ordained: Ńd that we to
shew ourselues his true seruŃts ought rather to make petition for the
contrarie, that they with them might liue together with vs, bee made
partakers of his truth & serue him in righteousnes; but notwitstanding
in such sort, that wee referre that as all other thinges, to bee done
according to his diuine will & pleasure, Ńd as by his wisedome he had
ordained to be best. [Yet]
Yet because the effect fell out so sodainly and shortly after according
to their desires, they thought neuertheless it came to passe by our
meanes, and that we in vsing such speeches vnto them did but dissemble
in the matter, and therefore came vnto vs to giue vs thankes in their
manner that although wee satisfied them not in promise, yet in deedes
and effect we had fulfilled their desires.
This maruelous accident in all the countrie wrought so strange opinions
of vs, that some people could not tel whether to think vs gods or men,
and the rather because that all the space of their sicknesse, there was
no man of ours knowne to die, or that was specially sicke: they noted
also that we had no women amongst vs, neither that we did care for any
Some therefore were of opinion that wee were not borne of women, and
therefore not mortall, but that wee were men of an old generation many
yeeres past then risen againe to immortalitie.
Some woulde likewise seeme to prophesie 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 & without bodies, & that they by our intreaty & 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 ashemed to say, but earnestly make the
simple people beleue, that the strings of blood that they sucked out of
the sicke bodies, were the strings wherewithal the inuisible bullets
were tied and cast.
Some also thought that we shot them ourselues out of our pieces from the
place where we dwelt, and killed the people in any such towne that had
offended vs as we listed, how farre distant from vs soeuer it were.
And other some saide that it was the speciall woorke of God for our
sakes, as wee our selues haue cause in some sorte to thinke no lesse,
whatsoeuer some doe or maie imagine to the contrarie, specially some
Astrologers knowing of the Eclipse of the Sunne which wee saw the same
yeere before in our voyage thytherward, which vnto them appeared very
terrible. And also of a Comet which beganne to appeare but a few daies
before the beginning of the said sicknesse. But to exclude them from
being the speciall an accident, there are farther reasons then I thinke
fit at this present to bee 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
discreet dealing and gouernement to the imbracing of the trueth, and
nsequently to honour, obey, feare and loue vs.
And although some of our companie towardes the ende of the yeare, shewed
themselues too fierce, in slaying some of the people, in some towns,
vpon causes that on our part, might easily enough haue been borne
withall: yet notwithstanding because it was on their part iustly
deserued, the alteration of their opinions generally & for the most part
concerning vs is the lesse to bee doubted. And whatsoeuer 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, & of the worst that may happen notice to bee taken
with consideration, and as much as may be eschewed. ['The']
NOW I haue as I hope made relation not of so fewe and smal things but
that the countrey of men that are indifferent & wel disposed maie be
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 bee discouered, neither the soile, nor commodities. As we haue reason
so to gather by the difference we found in our trauails: for although
all which I haue before spoken of, haue bin discouered & experiemented
not far from the sea coast where was our abode & most of our trauailing:
yet somtimes as we made our iourneies farther into the maine and
countrey; we found the soyle to bee fatter; the trees greater and to
growe thinner; the grounde 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 hillie ground; more plentie
of their fruites; more abondance of beastes; the more inhabited with
people, and of greater pollicie & larger dominions, with greater townes
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
alreadie discouered? Vnto the Spaniardes 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 yeeld many kinds of excellent
commodities, which we in our discouerie haue not yet seene.
What hope there is els to be gathered of the nature of the climate,
being answerable to the Iland of 'Iapan', the land of 'China, Persia,
Jury, the Ilandes of 'Cyprus' and 'Candy', the South parts 'Greece,
Italy', and 'Spaine', and of many other notable and famous countreis,
because I meane not to be tedious, I leaue to your owne consideration.'
Whereby also the excellent temperature of the ayre there at all seasons,
much warmer then in England, and neuer so violently hot, as sometimes is
vnder & between the Tropikes, or neere them; cannot bee vnknowne vnto
you without farther relation.
For the holsomnesse thereof I neede to say but thus much: that for all
the want of prouision, as first of English victuall; excepting for
twentie daies, wee liued only by drinking water and by the victuall of
the countrey, of which some sorts were very straunge vnto vs, and might
haue bene thought to haue altered our temperatures in such sort as to
haue brought vs into some greeuous and dŃgerous diseases: secondly the
wŃt of English meanes, for the taking of beastes, fishe, and foule,
which by the helpe only of the inhabitants and their meanes, coulde not
bee so suddenly and easily prouided for vs, nor in so great numbers &
quantities, nor of that choise as otherwise might haue bene to our
better satisfaction and contentment. Some want also wee had of clothes.
Furthermore, in all our trauailes which were most speciall and often in
the time of winter, our lodging was in the open aire vpon the grounde.
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 aforesaide causes. For all
foure especially three were feeble, weake, and sickly persons before
euer they came thither, and those that knewe them much marueyled that
they liued so long beeing in that case, or had aduentured to trauaile.
Seing therefore the ayre there is so temperate and holsome, the soyle so
fertile and yeelding such commodities as I haue before mentioned, the
voyage also thither to and fro beeing sufficiently experimented, to bee
perfourmed thrise a yeere with ease and at any season thereof: And the
dealing of 'Sir Walter Raleigh' so liberall in large giuing and graűting
lande there, as is alreadie knowen, with many helpes and furtherances
els: (The least that hee hath graunted hath beene fiue hundred acres to
a man onely for the aduenture of his person): I hope there reamine 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 yere as those are which were
transported the last, and beeing there doe vse but that diligence and
care as is requisite, and as they may with eese: There is no doubt but
for the time following they may haue victuals that is excellent good and
plentie enough; some more Englishe sortes of cattaile also hereafter, as
some haue bene before, and are there yet remaining, may and shall bee
God willing thiter transported: So likewise our kinde of fruites,
rootes, and hearbes may bee there planted and sowed, as some haue bene
alreadie, and proue wel: And in short time also they may raise of those
sortes of commodities which I haue spoken of as shall both enrich
theselues, as also others that shall deale with them.
And this is all the fruites of our labours, that I haue thought
necessary to aduertise you of at this present: what els concerneth the
nature and manners of the inhabitants of 'Virginia': The number with the
particularities of the voyages thither made; and of the actions of such
that haue bene by 'Sir Walter Raleigh' therein and there imployed, many
worthy to bee remembered; as of the first discouerers of the Countrey:
of our generall for the time 'Sir Richard Greinuile'; and after his
departure, of our Gouernour there Master 'Rafe Lane'; with diuers other
directed and imployed vnder theyr gouernement: Of the Captaynes and
Masters of the voyages made since for transporation; of the Gouernour
and assistants of those alredie transported, as of many persons,
accidŕts, and thinges els, I haue ready in a discourse by it
selfe in maner of a Chronicle according to the course of times, and when
time shall bee thought conuenient shall be also published.
This 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 only of this but of all things els, I take my
leaue of you, this moneth of Februarii, 1588.
F I N I S.
Back to Full Books