American biography: or, An historical account of those persons who have been distinguished in America, as adventurers, statesmen, philosophers, divines, warriors, authors, and other remarkable characters .. (Volume 2) online

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man, has been wafhed into the fea thirty or forty rods*
From this circumftancc, the difference in the depth of wa
ter may be eafily accounted for. " There are feveral plea
ant hills adjoining to the harbour, and *o this '!?." j ':-.'. y


130 P fc I N G.

The natives were executively fond of mu-
fic, and would dance in a ring round an
Englilh youth, who played on an inftrument,
called " a Gitterne."* But they were great
ly terrified at the barking of two Englifh
maftiffs, which always kept them at a dif-
tance, when the people were tired of their

The growth of the place confifted of faf-
fafras, vines, cedar, oak, am, beech, birch,
cherry, hafel, walnut, maple, holly, and wild
plum. The land animals were " (tags and
fallow deer, in abundance, bears, wolves,
foxes, lufernes,'!' porcupines, and dogs with
{harp and long nofes."^ The waters and
fhores abounded with fifh and mell-fim of
various kinds, and aquatic birds in great



* Guittara, Hifpan. Cithara, Lat. Cuittare, Fr.
Ghittar, ItaL Vide Mlnjbeu and Juntas.

f " Luferne, Luccrn, a beaft near the bignefs of a wolf,
of colour between red and brown, fomething mayled like
a cat, and mingled with black fpots ; bred in Mufcovy,
and is a rich furre." Vide Minfoeu in verbum Furre.

Could this animal be the racoon ? JofTelyn gives the
name of luferne to the wild-cat.

\ As the exiftence of this fpecies of animal has been
doubted, I mud remark, that it is feveral times mentioned
by the earlieft adventurers, and twice in Pring's Journal


P R I N G.

By the end of July they had loaded their
bark with faflafras, and fent her to England.
After which they made as much difpatch as
pofTible in lading the fhip, the departure of
which was accelerated by the following

The Indians had hitherto been on friendly
terms with the adventurers ; but feeing their
number leflened and one of their veflels gone,
and thofe who remained difperfed at their
feveral employments, they came one day,
about noon, to the number of one hundred
and forty, armed with bows and arrows, to
the barricade, where four men were on guard
with their mufkets. The Indians called to
them to come out, which they refufed, and
ftood on their defence. Captain Pring, with
two men only, were on board the fhip ; as
foon as he perceived the danger, he fecured


JofTelyn, who was a naturalift, and refided feveral years
in the eaflern parts of New-England, gives this ac
count of it i

' I know of but one kind of beaft in New-England,
produced by equivocal generation, and that is the Indian
dog, begotten between a wolf and a fox, or between a fox
and a wolf ; which they made ufe of, taming them and
bringing them up to hunt with ; but fmce the Englifli
came among them, they have gotten ftore of our dogs,
which they bring up and keep in as much fubjeclion as they
do their wives." Jo/efyn's Vojagct to A r . E. 1 673, /. 94.

132 P R I N G.

the fliip as well as he could, and fired one of
his great guns, as a fignal to the labourers in
the woods, who were repofing after their
fatigue, depending on the maftifFs for pro
tection. The dogs, hearing the gun, awoke
their matters, who, then hearing a fecond
gun, took to their arms, and came to the re
lief of the guard. At the fight of the men
and dogs, the Indians defifted from their pur-
pofe, and affecting to turn the whole into a
jeft, went off laughing without any damagQ
on either fide.

In a few days after, they fat fire to the
woods where the faflafras grew, to the extent
of a mile. Thefe alarming circumftances
determined Pring to retire. After the people
had embarked, and were weighing the an
chors, a larger number than ever they had
feen, about two hundred, came down to the
fhore, and fome in their canoes came off to
the fhip, apparently to invite the adventurers
to a longer continuance. It was not eafy to
Relieve the invitation friendly, nor prudent
to accept it. They therefore came to fail, it
being the 9th of Auguft, After a paffage of
five weeks, by the route of the Azores, they
came into foundings ; and on the zd of Oc

G I L B E R T. 133

tobcr arrived at Kinjr-Road, below Briftol,

O * *

where the bark had arrived about a fortnight
before them. This whole voyage was com
pleted in fix months. Its objects were to
make- difcoveries, and to collect furs and faf-
fafras. No inftance of aggrcflion on the
part of the adventurers is mentioned, nor on
the part of the natives, till after the failing
of the bark.

At the fame time that Martin Pring was
employed in this voyage, BARTHOLOMEW
GILBERT went on a farther difcovery to the
fouthern part of Virginia, having it alfo in
view to look for the loft Colony of Sir Walter
Raleigh.* He failed from Plymouth, May
I o, 1 603, in the bark Elizabeth, of fifty tons,
and went by the way o"f Madeira to the
Weft-Indies, where he touched at feveral of
the iflands, taking in lignum-vitce, tortoifes,
and tobacco.

On the 6th of July he quitted the iflands,
and fleered for Virginia. In four days he
got into the Gulf Stream, and was becalmed
five days. After which the wind fprang up,
and on the 2oth he faw land in the 4oth de
gree of latitude. His object was to fetch the


* Purchas, v. 1656.


mouth of Chefepeag Bay ; but the wind be
ing adverfe, after beating againft it for feveral
days, the neceffity of wood and water obli
ged him to come to anchor about a mile from
the ftiore, where there was an appearance of
the entrance of a river.

On Friday, the 2Qth of July, Captain
Gilbert, accompanied by Thomas Canner, a
gentleman of Bernard's Inn, Richard HarrU
fon, Mate, Henry Kenton, Surgeon, and
Derrick, a Dutchman, went on fhore, leaving
two boys to keep the boat. Immediately af
ter they had entered the wood, the favages
attacked, purfued and killed every one of
them ; two of them fell in fight of the boys,
who had much difficulty to prevent the In-
dians from hauling the boat on fhore.

With heavy hearts they got back to the
(hip ; whofe crew, reduced to eleven, in
cluding the boys, durfl not make any further
attempt ; but fleered for the Weftern Iflands;
after pafling them, they arrived in the river
Thames about the end of September, when
the city of London was " moft grievoufly in
fected with the Plague."

After the peace which King James made
with Spain in 1 604, when the paflion for



the difcovery of a north-weft pafTage was in
full vigour, a (hip was fent from England
by the Earl of Southampton and Lord Arun-
del of Wardour, with a view .to this object.
The commander of the (hip was GEORGE
WEYMOUTH. He failed from the Downs
on the laft day of March, 1605, and came in
fight of the American coaft on the I3th of
May, in the latitude of 41 degrees 30 minutes.

Being there entangled among fhoals and
breakers, he quitted this land, and at the dif-
tance of fifty leagues, difcovered feveral
iflands, to one of which he gave the name
of Sf. George. Within three leagues of this
iiland he came into a harbour, which he
called Pcntecoft harbour ; and failed up a no
ble river, to which it does not appear that he
gave any name, nor does he mention any
name by which it was called by the natives.

The conjectures of hiftorians refpe&ing
this river have been various. Oldmixon
fuppofes it to have been James River in Vir
ginia, whilft Beverley, who aims to correct
him, affirms it to have been Hudfon's River in
New- York. Neither of them could have
made thefe miftakes, if they had read the
original account in Purchas with any atten

136 W E Y M O U T H.

tion. In Smith's Hiftory of Virginia an a-
bridgmcnt of the .voyage is given> but in
fo flight and indefinite a manner as to afford
no fatisfa&ion refpecting the fituation of the
river, whether it were northward or fouth-
ward from the land nrft difcovered.

To afcertain this matter I have carefully
examined Weymouth's Journal and compar
ed it with the beft maps ; but for more per
fect fatisfaction^ I gave an abftrac~l of the
Voyage with a number of queries to Capt.
JOHN FOSTER WILLIAMS, an experienced
mariner and commander of the Revenue
Gutter, belonging to this port ; who has very
obligingly communicated to me his obferva-
tions made in a late cruize. Both of thefe
papers are here fubjoincd.

"ABSTRACT of the VOYAGE of Captain
GEORGE WEYMOUTH, to the Coojl of
America, from the printed Journal, extant
In Purchases Pilgrims, part iv. page 1659.

A.D. 1605, March 31. " Captain George
Weymouth failed from England in the Archan
gel, for the northern part of Virginia, as the
whole coaft of North-America was then called,


W E Y M O U T H. 137

May 13. Arrived in foundings 160


14, In five or fix leagues diftance fhoal-

ed the water from one hundred to five fath
oms, faw from the mail-head a whitijh fandy
cliffy W. N. W. 6 leagues : many breaches
nearer the land ; the ground foul, and depth
varying from fix to fifteen fathoms. Parted
from the land. Latitude 41 degrees 30 min

15, Wind between W. S. W. and S. S.
W. In want of wood and water. Land
much defired, and therefore fought for it
where the w'md 'would befl fujfer us.

QUERY i. As the wind then blew, rriuft
not the courfe b to the north and eaft ?

1 6. In almoft ffty leagues run, found
no land ; the charts being erroneous.

17. Saw land which bore N. N. E. a
great gale of wind and the fea high. Stood
off till two in the morning ; then flood in
again. At eight A. M. faw land again bear
ing N. E. It appeared a mean high land, be
ing as we afterward found it an I/land of no
great compafs. About noon came to anchor
on the north fide in forty fathoms, about a
league from (here. Named the ifland Sf.



QUERY 2. Could this ifland be Segwln
or Monhegan ? or if neither, what ifl
and was it ?

Whilft we were on fhore on the ifland our
men on beard caught thirty large cod and
haddock. From hence we dlfcerned many
iflands, and the main land extending from
W. S. W. to E. N. E. A great way xrp in
to the main, as it then feemed, we difcern-
cd very high mountains ; though the ma:n
feemed but low land. The mountains bore
N. N. E. from us.

QUERY 3. What mountains were thefe ?

May 19. Being Whitfunday\ weighed an
chor at twelve o'clock, and came along to the
other iflands more adjoining to the main, and
in" the road dire&ly to the mountains^ about
three leagues from the firft ifland found a
fafe harbour, defended from all winds, in an
excellent depth of water for mips of any
burthen* in fix, feven, eight, nine, ten fath
oms upon a clay ooze, very tough, where is
good mooring even on the rocks, by the cliff
fide. Named it Pentecoft Harbour.

QUERY 4. Do thefe marks agree with
Sagadahock or Mufqueto Harbour or St.


W M O U f H. i 39

George's Ifland ? or if not, with what
harbour do they agree ?

May 20. Went afhore, found water ifTu-
ing from fprings down the rocky cliffs, and
dug pits to receive it. Found, at no great
4epth, clay, blue, red and white. Good lob-
fters, rock-fifh, plaife, and lumps. With two
or three hooks caught cod and haddock
enough for the fhip's company three days.

24. The Captain, with 14 men armed,
marched through two of the iflands, one pf
which we guefled to be four or five miles ir>
compafs and one broad. Abundance of great
mufcles, foxne of which contained pearls.
One had 14 pearls in it

30. The Captain with 13 men departed
in the fhallop, leaving the (hip in harbour.

3 1. The fhallop returned, having difcov-
ered a great river trending far up into the

QUERY 5. What river was this ?

June i. Indians came and traded with us.

Pointing to one part of the main, eaflward,

they fignified to us that the Bo/babe, their

King, had plenty of furs and much tobacco.

N. B. Here Weymouth kidnapped five

of the natives.


I 4 o W E Y M O U T H.

June 1 1. Faffed up into the river with
our [trip about 26 miles.

/ *.

Obfervatlons by the Author of the Voyage,
James Rojier.

<J THE firft and chief thing required for a
plantation is a bold coaft, and fair land to fall
in with, The next is a fafe harbour for mips
to ride in.

" The nrft is a fpecial attribute of this
more, being free from fands or dangerous
rocks, in a continual good depth, with a moft
excellent land-fall as can be defired, which ia
the firft ifland, named St. George,

" For the fecond, here are more good har
bours for mips of all burdens than all Eng
land can afford. The river, as it runneth up
into the main very nighj6r/y miles, towards
the Great Mountains, beareth in breadth a
mile, fometimes threes-fourths, and half a
mile is the narroweft, where you mall never
have lefs than four or five fathom, hard by
the fhore ; but fix, feven, eight, nine, ten,
at low water. On both fides, every half
mile, very gallant coves, fome able to con
tain almoft one hundred fail of fhips ; the
ground is an excellent foft ooze, with tough


W E Y M O U T H. i 4I

clay for anchor-hold ; and {hips may lie
without anchor, only moored to the fhore
with a hawfer.

" It floweth fixteen. or eighteen feet at
high water.

u Here are made by nature, moil excel
lent places, as dockes to grave and careen
{hips of all burdens, fecure from all winds.

" The river yieldeth plenty of falmon,
and other fifties of great bignefs.

" The bordering land is moft rich, trend
ing all along on both fides, in an equal plain ^
neither mountainous nor rocky, but verged
with a green border of grafs ; which may
be made good feeding ground, being plenti
ful like the outward iflands, with frefh
water, which ftreameth down in many

"As we patted with a gentle wind, in
our fhip, up this river, any man may con
ceive with what admiration we all confented
in joy ; many who had been travellers in
fundry countries, and in the moft famous
rivers, affirmed them not comparable to
this. I will not prefer it before our river
of Thames, becaufe it is England's richefl
treafure ; but we did all wifh thofe excellent


! 4 2 W E Y M O U T H.

harbours, good depths, continual convenient
breadth, and fmall tide-gates, to be as well
therein, for our country's good, as we found
them here ; then I would boldly affirm it to
be the moft rich, beautiful, large, fecure
harbouring river that the world affordeth."

June 12. " Our Captain manned his
Jhalkp with feventeen men, and ran up to
the codde of the river, where we landed,
leaving fix to keep the fhallop. Ten of us,
with our fhot, and fome armed, with a boy
to carry powder and match, marched up the
country, toward the mountains^ which we
defcrled at our firft failing in with the land,
and were continually In our view. To fome
of them, the river brought us fo near, as we
judged ourfelves, when we landed, to be
within a league of them ; but we found
them not, having marched well nigh four
miles, and patted three great hills. Where
fore, becaufe the weather was hot, and our
men in their armour, not able to travel far
and return to our pinnace at night, we re-
folved not to travel further.

" We were no fooner come a-board our pin
nace, returning down toward our (hip, but we
efpied a canoe coming from the further part


W E Y M O U T H. 143'

of the codde of the river, eaftward. In it
were three Indians, one of whom we had
before feen, and his coming was very ear-
neftly to importune us to let one of our men
go with them to the Bo/babe, and then the
next morning he would come to our fhip
with furs and tobacco."

N. B. They did not accept the invita
tion, becaufe they fufpecled danger
from the favages, having detained five
of their people on board to be carried
to England.

June 1 3. " By two o'clock in the morn
ing, taking advantage of the tide, we went
in our pimiace up to that part of the river
which trendeth ivejl into the main, and we
carried a crofs to erect at that point, (a thing
never omitted by any Chriftian travellers.)
Into that river, we rowed, by eflimation,
twenty miles.

" What profit or pleafure is defcribed in
the former part of the river, is wholly doubled
in this ; for the breadth and depth is fuch,
that a (hip, drawing feventeen or eighteen
feet of water, might have palTed as far as
we went with G^rjballop^ and much further,
becaufe we left it in fo good depth. From


144 W E Y M O U T H.*

the place of our {hip's riding in the harbour,
at the entrance into the Sound, to the fur-
theft point we were in this river, by our
eftimation, was not much lefs than threefcore
miles. [That is, as I underftand it, from
Pentecoft Harbour they went /;/ the flip
forty miles, to the codde of the river ; and
thence in the fhallop, or pinnace, twenty
miles up the weft branch.]

QUERY 6. What is meant by codde % It
appears tg be an old word.

" We were fo pleafed with this river, and
fo loth to forfake it, that we would have
continued there willingly for two days,
having only bread and cheefe to eat. But
the tide not fuffering it, we came down
with the ebb. We conceived that the river
ran very far into the land, for we patted
fix or feven miles altogether fre/Jj water ,
(whereof we all drank) forced up by the
flowing of the fait water.

June 14. We warped our fkip down
to the 'river's mouth, and there came to

1 5. Weighed anchor, and with a breeze
from the land, came to our watering place,
in Pentecoft Harbour, and filled our cafk,


W E Y M O U T H. 145

" Our Captain, upon a roek in the midft
of this harbour, made his obfervation by the
fun, of the height, latitude, arid variation,
exaclly, upon all his inftruments, viz. aflro-
labe, femifphere, ring, and crofs-ftafif, and an
excellent variation comjpafs. The latitude he
found 43 degrees 20 miuutes, north ; the
variation, u degrees ij minutes, weft."

N. B. In this latitude no part of the
American coaft lies, except Cape For-
poile, where is only a boat harbour.
The rivers nearefl to it are on the fouth,
Kennebunk, a tide river of no great ex
tent,' terminating in a brook ; and on
the north, Saco,the navigation of which
is ob{lruc~led by a bar at its mouth,
and by a fall at the dillance of fix or
feven miles from the lea. Neither of
thefe could be the river defcribed in
Weymouth's Journal. His obfervation
of the latitude, or the printed account
of it, muft have been erroneous.

S3" " Captain Williams will be fo oblig;'
as to put down his remarks on the above ab-
ftracl: in writing, for the ufe of his humble




Bcjtox, Au.p lift 4, 179".


246 W E Y M O U T H.


" THE firfl land Captain Weymouth faw,
a whitifh fandy cliff, W. N. W. fix leagues,
muft have been Sankoty Head [Nantucket.]
With the wind at W. S. W. and S. S. W. he
could have fetched into this bay, [Bofton]
and muft have feen Cape Cod, had the weath
er been clear. But,

The land he faw on the xyth, I think
muft be the ifland Monhegan, as no^other ifl
and anfwers the defcription. In my laft
cruize to the eaftward, I founded, and had
thirty fathoms, about one league to the north
ward of the ifland. The many iflands he
faw, and the main land, extending from W.
S. W. to E. N. E. agree with that more ;
the mountains he faw bearing N. N. E. were
Penobfcot Hills or Mountains ; for from the
place where I fuppofe the mip lay at anchor,
the above mountains bear N. N. E.

The harbour where he lay with his fhip,
and named Pentecoft Harbour, is, I fuppofe,
what is now called George's Ifland Harbour ',
which bears north from Monhegan, about
two leagues ; which harbour and iflands
agree with his defcriptions, I think, tolerably
well, and the name, George"** IJlands^ fervcs
to confirm it.

W E Y M O U T H. 147

When the Captain went in his boat and
difcovered a great river tending far up into
the main, I fuppofe he went as far as Two-
Bufh Ifland, about three or four leagues from
the {hip, from thence he could difcover Pe-
nobfcot Bay.


Diftaace from the fhip to Two-Bufh

Ifland is about - - 10

From Two-Bum Ifland to Owl's Head 9
From Owl's head to the north end of

Long-Ifland - - 27

From the north end of Long-Ifland to

Old Fort Pownal 6

From the Old Fort to the head of the

tide, or falls, in Penobfcot River 30

4 82

I fuppofe he went with his fhip, round
Two-Bum Ifland, and then failed up to the
weftward of Long-Ifland, fuppofmg himfelf
to be then in the river ; the mountains on
the main to the weftward extending near as
high up as Belfafl Bay. I think it probable
that he anchored with his fhip off the point
which is now called the Old Fort Point.

The codde of the river, where he went
with his fhallop, and marched up in the


i 4 S W E Y M O U T H.

country, toward the mountains, I think muft
be Belfaft Bay.

The canoe that came from the further
part of the codde of the river, eaftward, with
Indians, I think it probable, came from Bag-

The word codde is not cpmmon ; but I
have often heard it ; as, " up in the codde of
the bay," meaning the bottom of the bay.
I fuppofe what he calls " the codde of the
river," is a bay in the river.

The latitude of St. George's Ifland Har
bour, according to Holland's map, is forty-
three degrees forty-eight minutes, which is
nine leagues more north than the pbferva-
tion made by Captain Weymouth.

Bo/Ion, October i f 1797-

I MADE the foregoing remarks, while

on my laft cruize to the eaftward. If any

further information is necefiary, that is in

my power to give, you may command me.

I am, with refpecl, Sir,

Your obedient humble fervant,


Rev. D'-, BEL KNAP.


W E Y M O U T H.


Weymouth's voyage is memorable, only
for the difcovery of Penobfcot River, and for
the decoying of live of the natives on board his,
fhip, whom he carried .to England. Three
of them were taken into the family of Sir
Ferdinando Gorges, then Governor of Plym
outh, in Devonshire. The information,
which he gained from them, corroborated by
Martin Pring, of Briftol, who made a fecond
voyage in 1 606, (and profecuted the difcove
ry of the rivers in the Diftrit of Maine)
prepared the way for the attempt of Sir John
Popham and others to eftablifh a Colony at
Sagadahock, in 1607 ; an account of which
attempt, and its failure, is already given in
the life of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.*

In the early accounts of this country we
find the names of Mavofhen and Norumbega.
Mavofhen was a name for the whole DiftricT:
of Maine, containing nine or ten rivers ; the
wefternmoft of which was Shawakotock,
(written by the French Chouakoet and by
the Englifti, Saco.) The eafternmoft was
QuibequefTon,f which I take to be eafl>
ward of Penobfcot, but cannot fay by what
name it is now called, Norumbega was a

part (
* Vol. I. p. 3 jo, IPurchas, v. 1873.

W E Y M O U T H.

part of the fame diftrift, comprehend
ing Penobfcot Bay and River ; but its eaft-
ern and weftern limits are not defcribed.*

It is alfo to be noted that the river Penob
fcot was fometimes called Pemaquid, though
this latter name is now reftri&ed to a point
or neck of land which lies about fix leagues
to the weftward. Penobfcot is called by the
French, Pentagoet.

This confufion of names occafions no fmali
perplexity to inquirers into the geography
and early hiftory of this country.

* Purchas, r. 1625, 1632.




1 HE firft effectual fettlements of the
Englifh in New-England were made by thofe,
who, after the Reformation, diflented from
the eflablifhment of the Epifcopal Church,
who fuffered on account of their difTent, and
fought an afylum from their fufferings. Uni
formity was infifted on with fuch rigour, as
difgufted many confcientious minifters and
people of the Church of England, and caufed
that feparation which has ever fmce fubfifted.
Thofe who could not conform to the eftab-
liihment, but wifhed for a more complete ref
ormation, were at firft diftinguimed by the
name of Puritans ; and among thefe the moft
rigid were the Brownifts, fo called from
Robert Brown, " a fiery young clergyman,"
who, in 1580, headed a zealous party, and
was vehement for a total feparation. But
his zeal, however violent, was void of con-
fiftency ; for, in his advanced years, he con
formed to the Church ; whilft others, who
more deliberately withdrew, retained their
feparation, though they became more candid


' *~




and moderate in their principles.* Of thefe
people a Congregation was formed, about the

Online LibraryUnknownAmerican biography: or, An historical account of those persons who have been distinguished in America, as adventurers, statesmen, philosophers, divines, warriors, authors, and other remarkable characters .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 7 of 24)