The Project Gutenberg eBook, Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. III (of 8), by Various, Edited by Justin Winsor

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Title: Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. III (of 8)

English Explorations and Settlements in North America 1497-1689

Author: Various

Editor: Justin Winsor

Release Date: January 21, 2016 [eBook #50987]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



E-text prepared by Giovanni Fini, Dianna Adair, Bryan Ness,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
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English Explorations
North America








The Riverside Press, Cambridge


Copyright, 1884,

All rights reserved.



[The English arms on the title are copied from the Molineaux map, dated 1600.]

The Voyages of the Cabots. Charles Deane 1
Illustration: Sebastian Cabot, 5.
Autographs: Henry VII., 1; Henry VIII., 4; Edward VI., 6; Queen Mary, 7.
Critical Essay 7
Illustrations: La Cosa map (1500), phototype, 8, 8; Ruysch’s map (1508), 9; Orontius Fine’s map (1531), 11; Stobnicza’s map (1512), 13; Page of Peter Martyr in fac-simile, 15; Thorne’s map (1527), 17; Sebastian Cabot’s map (1544), 22; Lok’s map (1582), 40; Hakluyt-Martyr map (1587), 42; Portuguese Portolano (1514-1520), 56.
Hawkins and Drake. Edward E. Hale 59
Illustrations: John Hawkins, 61; Zaltieri’s map (1566), 67; Furlano’s map (1574), 68.
Autographs: John Hawkins, 61; Francis Drake, 65.
Critical Essay on Drake’s Bay 74
Illustrations: Modern map of California coast, 74; Viscaino’s map (1602), 75; Dudley’s map (1646), 76, 77; Jeffreys’ sketch-map (1753), 77.
Notes on the Sources of Information. The Editor 78
Illustrations: Hondius’s map, 79; Portus Novæ Albionis, 80; Molineaux’s map (1600), 80; Sir Francis Drake, 81, 84; Thomas Cavendish, 83.
Explorations to the North-West. Charles C. Smith 85
Illustrations: Martin Frobisher, 87; Molineaux globe (1592), 90; Molineaux map (1600), 91; Sir Thomas Smith, 94; James’s map of Hudson Bay (1632), 96.
Autographs: Martin Frobisher, 87; John Davis, 89; George Waymouth, 91; William Baffin, 94.
Critical Essay 97
Illustration: Luke Fox’s map of Baffin’s Bay (1635), 98.
The Zeno Influence on Early Cartography; Frobisher’s and Hudson’s Voyages. The Editor 100
Illustrations: The Zeno map (circa 1400), 100; map in Wolfe’s Linschoten (1598), 101; Beste’s map (1578), 102; Frobisher’s Strait, 103.
Sir Walter Ralegh: Settlements at Roanoke and Voyages to Guiana. William Wirt Henry 105
Autographs: Walter Ralegh, 105; Queen Elizabeth, 106; Ralph Lane, 110.
Critical Essay 121
Illustrations: White’s map in Hariot (1587), 124; De Laet’s map (1630), 125.
Autograph: Francis Bacon, 121.
Virginia, 1606-1689. Robert A. Brock 127
Illustrations: Jamestown, 130; George Percy, 134; Seal of the Virginia Company, 140; Lord Delaware, 142.
Autographs: King James, 127; Delaware, 133; Thomas Gates, 133; George Percy, 134; George Calvert, 146; William Berkeley, 147.
Critical Essay 153
Autographs: William Strachey, 156; Delaware, 156; John Harvey, 156; John West, 164.
Notes on the Maps of Virginia, etc. The Editor 167
Illustration: Smith’s map of Virginia or the Chesapeake, phototype, 167.
Norumbega and its English Explorers. Benjamin F. De Costa 169
Illustration: Map of Ancient Pemaquid, 177.
Autographs: J. Popham, 175; Ferd. Gorges, 175.
Critical Essay[ix] 184
Illustrations: Modern map of Coast of Maine, 190; Henri II. map (1543), 195; Hood’s map (1592), 197; Smith’s map of New England (1616), 198.
Autographs: J. Popham, 175; Ferd. Gorges, 175.
Earliest English Publications on America, and other Notes. The Editor 199
Illustrations: Title of Eden’s Münster, 200; Münster’s map (1532), 201, (1540), 201; Title of Stultifera Nauis (1570), 202; Gilbert’s map (1576), 203; Linschoten, 206; John G. Kohl, 209; Lenox globe (1510-1512), 212; Extract from Molineaux globe (1592), 213; Frankfort globe (1515), 215; Molineaux map (1600), 216.
Autographs: Humphrey Gilbert, 203; Richard Hakluyt, 204; Jul. Cæsar, 205; Ro. Cecyll, 206; John Smith, 211.
The Religious Element in the Settlement of New England.—Puritans and Separatists in England. George E. Ellis 219
Critical Essay 244
The Pilgrim Church and Plymouth Colony. Franklin B. Dexter 257
Illustrations: Site of Scrooby Manor-House, 258; Map of Scrooby and Austerfield, 259; Austerfield church, 260; Record of William Bradford’s baptism, 260; Robinson’s House in Leyden, 262; Plan of Leyden, 263; Map of Cape Cod Harbor, 270; Map of Plymouth Harbor, 272; Historic Swords, 274; Governor Edward Winslow, 277; Pilgrim relics, 279; Governor Josiah Winslow, 282.
Autographs: John Smyth, 257; John Robinson, 259; Robert Browne, 261; Francis Johnson, 261; Signatures of Mayflower Pilgrims (William Bradford, Myles Standish, William Brewster, John Alden, John Howland, Edward Winslow, George Soule, Francis Eaton, Isaac Allerton, Samuel Fuller, Peregrine White, Resolved White, John Cooke), 268; Dorothy May, 268; William Bradford, 268; Thomas Cushman, 271; Alexander Standish, 273; James Cole, senior, 273; Signers of the Patent,1621 (Hamilton, Lenox, Warwick, Sheffield, Ferdinando Gorges), 275; Governors of Plymouth Colony (William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Thomas Prence, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow), 278.
Critical Essay 283
Illustrations: Extract from Bradford’s History, 289; First page, Plymouth Records, 292.
Autograph: Nathaniel Morton, 291.
New England. Charles Deane 295
Illustrations: Dudley’s map of New England (1646), 303; Alexander’s map (1624), 306; John Wilson, 313; Dr. John Clark, 315; John Endicott, 317; Hingham meeting-house, 319; Joseph Dudley, 320; John Winthrop of Connecticut, 331; John Davenport, 332; Map of Connecticut River (1666), 333.
Autographs[x]: William Blaxton, 311; Samuel Maverick, 311; Thomas Walford, 311; Mathew Cradock, 312; John Wilson, 313; Quaker autographs, 314; John Endicott, 317; Colonial ministers of 1690 (Charles Morton, James Allen, Michael Wigglesworth, Joshua Moody, Samuel Willard, Cotton Mather, Nehemiah Walter), 319; Joseph Dudley, 320; Abraham Shurt, 321; Thomas Danforth, 326; Thomas Hooker, 330; John Haynes, 331; John Winthrop, the younger, 331; John Allyn, 335; William Coddington, 336; Samuel Gorton, 336; Narragansett proprietors (Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison, Thomas Willett, Jno. Paine, Edward Hutchinson, Amos Richison, John Alcocke, George Denison, William Hudson), 338; Roger Williams, 339.
Critical Essay 340
Illustrations: Seal of the Council for New England, 342; Cotton Mather, 345; Ship of the seventeenth century, 347; Fac-simile of a page of Thomas Lechford’s Plaine Dealing, 352; James Savage’s manuscript note on Lechford, 353; Beginning of Thomas Shepard’s Autobiography, 355.
Autographs: Leaders in Pequot war (John Mason, Israel Stoughton, Lion Gardiner), 348; Jonathan Brewster, 349; Nathaniel Ward, 350; Signatures connected with the Indian Bible (Robert Boyle, Peter Bulkley, William Stoughton, Joseph Dudley, Thomas Hinckley, John Cotton, John Eliot, James Printer), 356; Edward Johnson, 358; John Norton, 358; Edward Burrough, 359; Robert Pike, 359; Benjamin Church, 361; Thomas Church, 361; William Hubbard, 362; Walter Neale, 363; Ferdinando Gorges, 364; John Mason, 364; Roger Goode, 364; Thomas Gorges, 364; Connecticut secretaries (John Steel, Edward Hopkins, Thomas Welles, John Cullick, Daniel Clark, John Allyn), 374.
Bibliographical Notes; Early Maps of New England. The Editor 380
Illustrations: Maps of New England (1650), 382, (1680), 383.
Autograph: John Carter Brown, 381.
The English in New York. John Austin Stevens 385
Illustrations: Sir Edmund Andros, 402; Great Seal of Andros, 410.
Autographs: Commissioners (Richard Nicolls, Sir Robert Carr, George Cartwright, Samuel Maverick), 388; Francis Lovelace, 395; Thomas Dongan, 404; Jacob Leisler, 411.
Critical Essay 411
Notes. The Editor 414
Illustrations: View of New York (1673), 416; View of The Strand, 417; Plan of New York, 418; Stadthuys (1679), 419.
Autograph: Thomas Willett, 414.
The English in East and West Jersey, 1664-1689. William A. Whitehead 421
Autographs: King James, 421; Richard Nicoll, 421; Robert Carr, 422; John Berkeley, 422; G. Carteret, 423; Philip Carteret, 424; James Bollen, 428; Edward Byllynge, 430; Gawen Laurie, 430; Nicolas Lucas, 430; Edmond Warner, 430; R. Barclay, 436; Earl of Perth, 439.
Critical Essay[xi] 449
Note. The Editor 455
Illustration: Sanson’s map (1656), 456.
Note on New Albion. Gregory B. Keen 457
Illustrations: Insignia of the Albion knights, 462; Farrer map of Virginia (1651), 465.
Autograph: Robert Evelin, 458.
The Founding of Pennsylvania. Frederick D. Stone 469
Illustrations: George Fox, 470; William Penn, 474; Letitia Cottage, 483; Seal and Signatures to Frame of Government, 484; Slate-roof House, 492.
Autographs: William Penn, 474; Thomas Wynne, 486; Charles Mason, 489; Jeremiah Dixon, 489; Thomas Lloyd, 494.
Critical Essay 495
Illustrations: Title of Some Account, etc., 496; Title of Frame of Government, 497; Receipt and Seal of Free Society of Traders, 498; Gabriel Thomas’s map (1698), 501; Seal of Pennsylvania, 511; Section of Holme’s map of Pennsylvania, 516.
The English in Maryland, 1632-1691. William T. Brantly 517
Illustrations: George, first Lord Baltimore, 518; Baltimore arms, 520; Map of Maryland (1635), 525; Endorsement of Toleration Act, 535; Baltimore coins, 543; Cecil, second Lord Baltimore, 546.
Autographs: George, first Lord Baltimore, 518; Leonard Calvert, 524; Thomas Cornwallis, 524; John Lewger, 528; Thomas Greene, 533; Margaret Brent, 533; William Stone, 534; Josias Fendall, 540; Charles Calvert, 542.
Critical Essay 553
Autograph: Thomas Yong, 558.








Vice-President, Massachusetts Historical Society.

“WE derive our rights in America,” says Edmund Burke, in his Account of the European Settlements in America, “from the discovery of Sebastian Cabot, who first made the Northern Continent in 1497. The fact is sufficiently certain to establish a right to our settlements in North America.” If this distinguished writer and statesman had substituted the name of John Cabot for that of Sebastian, he would have stated the truth.


John Cabot, as his name is known to English readers, or Zuan Caboto, as it is called in the Venetian dialect, the discoverer of North America, was born, probably, in Genoa or its neighborhood. His name first appears in the archives of Venice, where is a record, under the date of March 28, 1476, of his naturalization as a citizen of Venice, after the usual residence of fifteen years. He pursued successfully the study of cosmography and the practice of navigation, and at one time visited Arabia, where, at Mecca, he saw the caravans which came thither, and was told that the spices they brought were received from other hands, and that they came originally from the remotest countries of the east. Accepting the new views as to “the roundness of the earth,” as Columbus had done, he was quite disposed to put them to a practical test. With his wife, who was a Venetian woman, and his three sons, he removed to England, and took up his residence at the maritime city of Bristol. The time at which this removal took place is uncertain. In the year 1495 he laid his proposals before the king, Henry VII., who on the 5th of March, 1495/6, granted to him and his three sons, their heirs and[2] assigns a patent for the discovery of unknown lands in the eastern, western, or northern seas, with the right to occupy such territories, and to have exclusive commerce with them, paying to the King one fifth part of all the profits, and to return to the port of Bristol. The enterprise was to be “at their own proper cost and charge.” In the early part of May in the following year, 1497, Cabot set sail from Bristol with one small vessel and eighteen persons, principally of Bristol, accompanied, perhaps, by his son Sebastian; and, after sailing seven hundred leagues, discovered land on the 24th of June, which he supposed was “in the territory of the Grand Cham.” The legend, “prima tierra vista,” was inscribed on a map attributed to Sebastian Cabot, composed at a later period, at the head of the delineation of the island of Cape Breton. On the spot where he landed he planted a large cross, with the flags of England and of St. Mark, and took possession for the King of England. If the statement be true that he coasted three hundred leagues, he may have made a periplus of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, returning home through the Straits of Belle Isle. On his return he saw two islands on the starboard, but for want of provisions did not stop to examine them. He saw no human beings, but he brought home certain implements; and from these and other indications he believed that the country was inhabited. He returned in the early part of August, having been absent about three months. The discovery which he reported, and of which he made and exhibited a map and a solid globe, created a great sensation in England. The King gave him money, and also executed an agreement to pay him an annual pension, charged upon the revenues of the port of Bristol. He dressed in silk, and was called, or called himself, “the Great Admiral.” Preparations were made for another and a larger expedition, evidently for the purpose of colonization, and hopes were cherished of further important discoveries; for Cabot believed that by starting from the place already found, and coasting toward the equinoctial, he should discover the island of Cipango, the land of jewels and spices, by which they hoped to make in London a greater warehouse of spices than existed in Alexandria. His companions told marvellous stories about the abundance of fish in the waters of that coast, which might foster an enterprise that would wholly supersede the fisheries of Iceland. On the 3d of February 1497/8 the King granted to John Cabot (the sons are not named) a license to take up six ships, and to enlist as many men as should be willing to go on the new expedition. He set sail, says Hakluyt, quoting Fabian, in the beginning of May, with, it is supposed, three hundred men, and accompanied by his son Sebastian. One of the vessels put back to Ireland in distress, but the others continued on their voyage. This is the last we hear of John Cabot. His maps are lost. It is believed that Juan de la Cosa, the Spanish pilot, who in the year 1500 made a map of the Spanish and English discoveries in the New World, made use of maps of the Cabots now lost.

Sebastian Cabot, the second son of John Cabot, was born in Venice,[3] probably about the year 1473. He was early devoted to the study of cosmography, in which science his father had become a proficient, and Sebastian was largely imbued with the same spirit of enterprise; and on the removal of his father with his family to England, he lived with them at Bristol. His name first occurs in the letters patent of Henry VII., dated March 5, 1495/6, issued to John Cabot and his three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius, and to their heirs and assigns, authorizing them to discover unknown lands. There is some reason to believe that he accompanied his father in the expedition, already mentioned, on which the first discovery of North America was made; but in none of the contemporary documents which have recently come to light respecting this voyage is Sebastian’s name mentioned as connected with it. A second expedition, as already stated, followed, and John Cabot is distinctly named as having sailed with it as its commander; but thenceforward he passes out of sight. Sebastian Cabot, without doubt, accompanied the expedition. No contemporary account of it was written, or at least published, and for the incidents of the voyage we are mainly indebted to the reports of others written at a later period, and derived originally from conversations with Sebastian Cabot himself; in all of which the father’s name, except incidentally, as having taken Sebastian to England when he was very young, is not mentioned. In these several reports but one voyage is spoken of, and that, apparently, the voyage on which the discovery of North America was made; but circumstances are narrated in them which could have taken place only on the second or a later voyage.

With a company of three hundred men, the little fleet steered its course in the direction of the northwest in search of the land of Cathay. They came to a coast running to the north, which they followed to a great distance, where they found, in the month of July, large bodies of ice floating in the water, and almost continual daylight. Failing to find the passage sought around this formidable headland, they turned their prows and, as one account says, sought refreshment at Baccalaos. Thence, coasting southwards, they ran down to about the latitude of Gibraltar, or 36° N., still in search of a passage to India, when, their provisions failing, they returned to England.

If the views expressed by John Cabot, on his return from his first voyage, had been seriously cherished, it seems strange that this expedition did not, at first, on arriving at the coast, pursue the more southerly direction, where he was confident lay the land of jewels and spices.

They landed in several places, saw the natives dressed in skins of beasts, and making use of copper. They found the fish in such great abundance that the progress of the ships was sometimes impeded. The bears, which were in great plenty, caught the fish for food,—plunging into the water, fastening their claws into them, and dragging them to the shore. The expedition was expected back by September, but it had not returned by the last of October.


There is some evidence that Sebastian Cabot, at a later period, sailed on a voyage of discovery from England in company with Sir Thomas Pert, or Spert, but which, on account of the cowardice of his companion, “took none effect.” But the enterprise is involved in doubt and obscurity.


In 1512, after the death of Henry VII., and when Henry VIII. had been three years on the throne, Sebastian Cabot entered into the service of Ferdinand, King of Spain, arriving at Seville in September of that year, where he took up his residence; and on the 20th of October was appointed “Capitan de Mar,” with an annual salary of fifty thousand maravedis.[1] Preparations for a voyage of discovery were now made, and Cabot was to depart in March, 1516, but the death of Ferdinand prevented his sailing. On the 5th of February, 1518, he was named, by Charles V., “Piloto Mayor y Exâminadór de Pilotos,” as successor of Juan de Solis, who was killed at La Plata in 1516. This office gave him an additional salary of fifty thousand maravedis; and it was soon afterwards decreed that no pilots should leave Spain for the Indies without being examined and approved by him. In 1524 he attended, not as a member but as an expert, the celebrated junta at Badajoz, which met to decide the important question of the longitude of the Moluccas,—whether they were on the Spanish or the Portuguese side of the line of demarcation which followed, by papal consent in 1494, a meridian of longitude, making a fixed division of the globe, so far as yet undefined, between Spain and Portugal. On the second day of the session, April 15, he and two others delivered an opinion on the questions involved.

In the following year an expedition to the Moluccas was projected, and under an agreement with the Emperor, executed at Madrid on the 4th of March, Sebastian Cabot was appointed its commander with the title of Captain-General. The sailing of the expedition was delayed by the intrigues of the Portuguese. In the mean time his wife, Catalina Medrano, who is again mentioned with her children a few years later, received by a royal order fifty thousand maravedis as a gratificacion. On April 3, 1526, the armada sailed from St. Lucar for the Spice Islands, intending to pass through the Straits of Magellan. It was delayed from point to point, and did not arrive on the coast until the following year, when Cabot entered the La Plata River. A feeling of disloyalty to their commander, the seeds of which had been sown from the beginning, broke out in open mutiny. He had, moreover, lost one of his vessels off the coast of Brazil. He therefore determined to proceed no farther at present, to send to the Emperor a report of the condition of affairs, and in the mean time to explore the La[5] Plata River, which had been penetrated by De Solis in 1515. He remained in that country for several years, and returned in July or August, 1530. The details of this expedition are described in another volume of this work and by another hand.


[This cut follows a photograph taken from the Chapman copy of the original. The original was engraved when owned by Charles J. Harford, Esq., for Seyer’s Memoirs of Bristol, 1824, vol. ii. p. 208, and a photo-reduction of that engraving appears in Nicholl’s Life of Sebastian Cabot. Other engravings have appeared in Sparks’s Amer. Biog., vol. ix. etc. See Critical Essay.—Ed.]


As might have been expected, this enterprise was regarded at home as a failure, and Cabot had made many enemies in the exercise of his legitimate authority in quelling the mutinies which had from time to time broken out among his men. Complaints were made against him on his return. Several families of those of his companions who were killed in the expedition brought suits against him, and he was arrested and imprisoned, but was liberated on bail. Public charges for misconduct in the affairs of La Plata were preferred against him; and the Council of the Indies, by an order dated from Medina del Campo, Feb. 1, 1532, condemned him to a banishment of two years to Oran, in Africa. I have seen no evidence to show that this sentence was carried into execution. Cabot, who on his return laid before the Emperor Charles V. his final report on the expedition, appears to have fully justified himself in that monarch’s esteem; for he soon resumed his duties as Pilot Major, an office which he retained till his final return to England.

Cabot made maps and globes during his residence in Spain; and a large mappe monde bearing date 1544, engraved on copper, and attributed to him, was found in Germany in 1843, and is now deposited in the National Library in Paris. This map has been the subject of much discussion. While in the employ of the Emperor, Cabot offered his services to his native country, Venice, but was unable to carry his purpose into effect. He was at last desirous of returning to England, and the Privy Council, on Oct. 9, 1547, issued a warrant for his transportation from Spain “to serve and inhabit in England.” He came over to England in that or the following year, and on Jan. 6, 1548/9, the King granted him a pension of £166 13s. 4d., to date from St. Michael’s Day preceding (September 29), “in consideration of the good and acceptable service done and to be done” by him. In 1550 the Emperor, through his ambassador in England, demanded his return to Spain, saying that Cabot was his Pilot Major under large pay, and was much needed by him,—that “he could not stand the king in any great stead, seeing he had but small practice in those seas;” but Cabot declined to return. In that same year, June 4, the King renewed to him the patent of 1495/6, and in March, 1551, gave him £200 as a special reward.


The discovery of a passage to China by the northwest having been deemed impracticable, a company of merchants was formed in 1553 to prosecute a route by the northeast, and Cabot was made its governor. He drew up the instructions for its management, and the expedition under Willoughby was sent out, the results of which are well known. China was not reached, but a trade with Muscovy was opened through Archangel. After the accession of Mary to the Crown of England, the Emperor made another unsuccessful demand for Cabot’s return to Spain. On Feb. 6, 1555/6, what is known as the Muscovy Company was chartered, and Cabot became its[7] governor. Among the last notices preserved of this venerable man is an account, by a quaint old chronicler, of his presence at Gravesend, April 27, 1556, on board the pinnace, the “Serchthrift,” then destined for a voyage of discovery to the northeast. It is related that after Sebastian Cabot, “and divers gentlemen and gentlewomen” had “viewed our pinnace, and tasted of such cheer as we could make them aboard, they went on shore, giving to our mariners right liberal rewards; and the good old Gentleman, Master Cabota, gave to the poor most liberal alms, wishing them to pray for the good fortune and prosperous success of the ‘Serchthrift,’ our pinnace. And then at the sign of the ‘Christopher,’ he and his friends banqueted, and made me and them that were in the company great cheer; and for very joy that he had to see the towardness of our intended discovery he entered into the dance himself, amongst the rest of the young and lusty company,—which being ended, he and his friends departed most gently commending us to the governance of Almighty God.”


Cabot’s pension, granted by the late King, was renewed to him by Queen Mary Nov. 27, 1555; but on May 27, 1557, he resigned it, and two days later a new grant was issued to him and William Worthington, jointly, of the same amount, by which he was deprived of one half his pay. This is the last official notice of Sebastian Cabot. He probably died soon afterwards, and in London. Richard Eden, the translator and compiler, attended him in his last moments, and “beckons us, with something of awe, to see him die.” He gives a touching account of the feeble and broken utterances of the dying man. Though no monument or gravestone marks his place of burial, which is unknown, his portrait is preserved, as shown on a preceding page.


UNLIKE the enterprises of Columbus, Vespucius, and many other navigators who wrote accounts of their voyages and discoveries at the time of their occurrence, which by the aid of the press were published to the world, the exploits of the Cabots were unchronicled. Although the fact of their voyages had been reported by jealous and watchful liegers at the English Court to the principal cabinets of the Continent, and the map of their discoveries had been made known, and this had had its influence in leading other expeditions to the northern shores of North America, the historical literature relating to the discovery of America, as preserved in print, is, for nearly twenty years after the events took place, silent as to the enterprises and even the names of the Cabots. Scarcely anything has come down to us directly from these navigators themselves, and for what we know we have hitherto been chiefly indebted to the uncertain reports, in foreign languages, of conversations originally held with Sebastian Cabot many years afterwards, and sometimes related at second and third hand. Even the year in which[8] the voyage of discovery was made was usually wrongly stated, when stated at all, and for more than two hundred years succeeding these events there was no mention made of more than one voyage.[2]

La Cosa Map. 1500. - Left side

La Cosa Map. 1500. - Right side



I now ask the reader to follow me down through the sixteenth century, if no further, and examine what notices of the Cabots and their voyages we can find in the historical literature of this period; and then to examine what has recently come to light.


John Cabot had died when his son Sebastian in 1512, three years after the death of Henry VII., left England and entered into the service of the King of Spain, who gave him the title of Captain, and a liberal allowance, directing that he should reside at Seville to await orders. He there became an intimate friend of the famous Peter Martyr, the author of the Decades of the New World, or De Orbe Novo, and a volume of letters entitled Opus Epistolarum, etc., a writer too well known to need further introduction here. Through Martyr, for the first time, there was printed in 1516 an account of the voyage of the Cabots.




He published in that year at Alcala (Complutum), in Spain, the first three of his Decades, addressed to Pope Leo X., the second and third of which Decades had been written in 1514 and 1515.[3] In the sixth chapter of the third Decade—of which we give later a page in slightly reduced fac-simile—is the following:—

“These northern shores have been searched by one Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian born, whom, being but in manner an infant, his parents carried with them into England, having occasion to resort thither for trade of merchandise, as is the manner of the Venetians to leave no part of the world unsearched to obtain riches. He therefore furnished two ships in England at his own charges, and first with three hundred men directed his course so far towards the North Pole that even in the month of July he found monstrous heaps of ice swimming on the sea, and in manner continual daylight; yet saw he the land in that tract free from ice, which had been molten. Wherefore he was enforced to turn his sails and follow the west; so coasting still by the shore that he was thereby brought so far into the south, by reason of the land bending so much southwards that it was there almost equal in latitude with the sea Fretum Herculeum. He sailed so far towards the west that he had the island of Cuba on his left hand in manner in the same degree of longitude. As he travelled by the coasts of this great land (which he named Baccalaos) he saith that he found the like course of the waters toward the great west, but the same to run more softly and gently than the swift waters which the Spaniards found in their navigation southward.... Sebastian Cabot himself named these lands Baccalaos, because that in the seas thereabout he found so great multitudes of certain big fishes much like unto tunnies (which the inhabitants call baccallaos)[4] that they sometimes staied his ships. He also found the people of those regions covered with beasts’ skins, yet not without the use of reason. He also saith there is great plenty of bears in those regions which use to eat fish; for plunging themselves into the water, where they perceive a[14] multitude of these fishes to lie, they fasten their claws in their scales, and so draw them to land and eat them, so (as he saith) they are not noisome to men. He declareth further, that in many places of those regions he saw great plenty of laton among the inhabitants. Cabot is my very friend, whom I use familiarly, and delight to have him sometimes keep me company in mine own house. For being called out of England by the commandment of the Catholic king of Castile, after the death of Henry VII. King of England, he is now present at Court with us, looking for ships to be furnished him for the Indies, to discover this hid secret of Nature. I think that he will depart in March in the year next following, 1516, to explore it. What shall succeed your Holiness shall learn through me, if God grant me life. Some of the Spaniards deny that Cabot was the first finder of the land of Baccalaos, and affirm that he went not so far westward.”[5]



[The legends on the map even on the large scale are not clear, and Brunet, Supplement, p. 697, gives a deceptive account of them. The Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 54, makes them thus: On North America, “Ortus de bona ventura,” and “Isabella.” Hispaniola is called “Spagnolla.” On the northern shore of South Ameica, “Arcay” and “Caput de Sta de.” On its eastern parts, “Gorffo Fremosa,” “Caput S. Crucis,” and “Monte Fregoso.” At the southern limit, “Alla pega.” The straight lines of the western coasts, as well as the words “Terra incognita,” are thought to represent an uncertainty of knowledge. The island at the west is “Zypangu insula,” or Japan. Mr. Bartlett, the editor of the Carter-Brown Catalogue, is of the opinion that the island at the north is Iceland; but it seems more in accordance with the prevailing notions of the time to call it Baccalaos. It appears in the same way on the Lenox globe, and in the circumpolar MS. map of Da Vinci (1513) in the Queen’s library at Windsor, where this island is marked “Bacalar.” The eastern coast outline of the Stobnicza map bears a certain resemblance to the Waldseemüller map which appeared in the Ptolemy of 1513, having been however engraved, but not published, in 1507, and Stobnicza may have seen it. If so, he might have intended the straight western line of North America to correspond to the marginal limit of the Ptolemy map; but he got no warrant in the latter for the happy conjecture of the western coast of the Southern Continent, nor could he find such anywhere else, so far as we know. The variations of the eastern coast do not indicate that he depended, solely at least, upon the Ptolemy map, which carries the northern cut-off of the northern continent five degrees higher. “Isabella” is transferred from Cuba to Florida, and the northeast coast of South America is very different. There are accurate fac-similes of this Ptolemy map in Varnhagen’s Premier Voyage de Vespucci, and in Stevens’s Historical and Geographical Notes, pl. ii. See the chapter on Norumbega, notes.—Ed.]

This account we may well suppose to have come primarily from Sebastian Cabot himself, and it will be noticed that his father is not mentioned as having accompanied him on the voyage. Indeed, no reference is made to the father except under the general statement that his parents took him to England while he was yet very young, pene infans. No date is given, and but one voyage is spoken of. It may be said that Peter Martyr is not here writing a history of the voyage or voyages of the Cabots; that the account is merely brought into his narrative incidentally, as it were, to illustrate a subject upon which he was then writing,—namely, on a “search” into “the secret causes of Nature,” or the reason “why the sea runneth with so swift course from the east into the west;” and that he cites the observations of Sebastian Cabot, in the region of the Baccalaos, for his immediate purpose. Richard Biddle, in his Life of Sebastian Cabot, pp. 81-90, supposes the voyage here described to be the second, that of 1498, undertaken after the death of the father, as the mention of the three hundred men taken out would imply a purpose of colonization, while the first voyage was one of discovery merely; and thinks that this view is confirmed by a subsequent reference of Martyr to Cabot’s discovery of the Baccalaos, in Decade seven, chapter two, written in 1524, where the discovery is said to have taken place “twenty-six years before,” that is, in 1498.[6]




A map of the world was composed in 1529 by Diego Ribero, a very able cosmographer and map-maker of Spain in the early part of the sixteenth century. It is a very interesting map, but is so well known to geographers that I need give no particular description of it here. The northern part of our coast, delineated upon it, is supposed to have been drawn from the explorations and reports of Gomez made in 1525. It was copied and printed, in its general features only, in 1534, at Venice. A superior copy in fac-simile of the original map was published by Dr. Kohl in 1860, at Weimar, in his Die beiden Æltesten General-Karten von Amerika.[7] On this map an inscription, of which the following is an English version, is placed over the territory inscribed Tierra del Labrador: “This country the English discovered, but there is nothing useful in it.” See an abridged section of the map and a description of it in Kohl’s Doc. Hist. of Maine, i. 299-307.[8]




In 1530, four years after Martyr’s death, there was published at Alcala (Complutum), in Spain, his eight Decades, De Orbe Novo, which included the three first published in 1516, in the last of which, the third, appeared the notice of Sebastian Cabot cited above. And it may be added here that the three Decades, including the De nuper ... repertis insulis, etc., or abridgment, so called, of the fourth Decade, printed at Basel in 1521, were reprinted together in that city in 1533. Of later editions there will be occasion to say something farther on. Martyr’s notice of Cabot was the earliest extant, and the republication of these Decades, at different places, served to keep alive the important fact of the discovery of North America under the English flag. In some of these later Decades, written in 1524 and 1525, references will be found to Sebastian Cabot and to his employment in Spain.

There was published in Latin at Argentoratum (Strasbourg), in 1532, by James Ziegler,—a Bavarian theologian, who cultivated mathematics and cosmography with success,—a book relating in part to the northern regions. Under the head of “Gronland” the author quotes Peter Martyr’s account of Sebastian Cabot’s voyage:—

“Peter Martyr of Angleria writeth in his Decades of the Spanish navigations, that Sebastian Cabot,[9] sailing from England continually towards the north, followed that course so far that he chanced upon great flakes of ice in the month of July; and diverting from thence he followed the coast by the shore, bending toward the south until he came to the clime of the island of Hispaniola above Cuba, an Island of the Cannibals. Which narration hath given me occasion to extend Gronland beyond the promontory or cape of Huitsarch to the continent or firm land of Lapponia above the castle of Wardhus; which thing I did the rather for that the reverend Archbishop of Nidrosia constantly affirmed that the sea bendeth there into the form of a crooked elbow.”

This writer evidently supposed that Cabot sailed along the east coast of Greenland, and the inference he drew from Cabot’s experience, as related by Martyr, confirmed his belief[19] that that country joined on to Lappona (Lapland),—an old notion which lasted down to the time of Willoughby,—making “one continent;” and so he represented it on his map no. 8, published in his book.[10] He places “Terra Bacallaos” on the east coast of “Gronland.” He believed that Cabot’s falling in with ice proved “that he sailed not by the main sea, but in places near unto the land, comprehending and embracing the sea in the form of a gulf.” I have copied this from Eden’s English version of Ziegler (Decades, fol. 268), in the margin of which at this place Eden says, “Cabot told me that this ice is of fresh water, and not of the sea.”[11]

There was published at Venice in 1534, in Italian, a volume in three parts; the first of which was entitled, Summario de la generale historia de l’indie occidentali cavato da libri scritti dal signor don Pietro Martyre del consiglio delle indie della maesta de l’imperadore, et da molte altre particulari relationi.[12]

This, as will be seen, purports to be a summary drawn from Peter Martyr and other sources,—“from many other private accounts.” The basis of the work is Martyr’s first three Decades, published together in Latin in 1516, the original arrangement of the author being entirely disregarded, many facts omitted, and new statements introduced for which no authority is given. By virtue of the concluding words of the quoted title, the translator or compiler appears to claim the privilege of taking the utmost liberty with the text of Martyr. For the well-known passage in the sixth chapter of the third Decade, where Martyr says that Sebastian Cabot “sed a parentibus in Britāniam insulam tendentibus, uti moris est Venetorum: qui commercii causa terrarum omnium sunt hospites transportatus pene infans” (“whom being yet but in manner an infant, his parents carried with them into England, having occasion to resort thither for trade of merchandise, as is the manner of the Venetians to leave no part of the world unsearched to obtain riches”), the Italian translator has substituted, “Costui essendo piccolo fu menato da suo padre in Inghilterra, da poi la morte del quale trouandosi ricchissimo, et di grande animo, delibero si come hauea fatto Christoforo Colombo voler anchor lui scoprire qualche nuoua parte del mōdo,” etc. (“He being a little boy was taken by his father into England, after whose death, finding himself very rich and of great ambition, he resolved to discover some new part of the world as Columbus had done”).

M. D’Avezac has given some facts which show that the editor of this Italian version of Peter Martyr, as he calls this work, was Ramusio, the celebrated editor of the Navigationi et Viaggi,[13] etc., and this work is introduced into the third volume of that publication, twenty-one years later. Mr. Brevoort has also called my attention to the fact that the woodcut of “Isola Spagnuola,” used in the early work, was introduced into the later one, which is confirmatory of the opinion that Ramusio was at least the editor of the Summario of 1534.[14]

Cabot we know was, during his residence in Spain, a correspondent of Ramusio,—at least, the latter speaks once of Cabot’s having written to him, and we shall see farther on that they were not strangers to each other,—and it is possible that this modification of Peter Martyr’s language was authorized by him. It is here stated, however, that Cabot reached only 55° north, while in the prefatory Discorso to his third volume the editor says that Cabot wrote to him many years before that he reached the latitude of 67 degrees and a half, and no explanation is given as to whether the reference is to the same voyage. A fair inference from the passage above cited from the Italian Summario would be that Sebastian Cabot planned the voyage of discovery after his father’s death, which we know[20] was not true; as it was equally untrue that the death of his father made him very rich, for the Italian envoy tells us that John Cabot was poor. Indeed, the whole language of the passage relating to Sebastian Cabot is mythical and untrustworthy, whoever may have inspired it.[15]

I now come to a map of Sebastian Cabot, bearing date 1544, as the year of its composition, a copy of which was discovered in Germany in 1843, by Von Martius, in the house of a Bavarian curate, and deposited in the following year in the National Library in Paris. It has been described at some length by M. D’Avezac, in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, 4 ser. xiv. 268-270, 1857. It is a large elliptical mappe monde, engraved on metal, with geographical delineations drawn upon it down to the time it was made. I saw the map in Paris in 1866. On its sides are two tables: the first, on the left, inscribed at the head “Tabula Prima;” and that on the right, “Tabula Secunda.” On these tables are seventeen legends, or inscriptions, in duplicate; that is to say, in Spanish and in Latin, the latter supposed to be a translation of the former,—each Latin legend immediately following the Spanish original and bearing the same number.[16]

After the seventeen legends in Spanish and in Latin, we come to a title or heading: “Plinio en el secund libro capitulo lxxix., escriue” (“Pliny, in the second book, chapter 79, writes”). Then follows an inscription in Spanish, no. 18, from Pliny’s Natural History, cap. lxvii., the chapter given above being an error. Four brief inscriptions, also in Spanish, numbered 19 to 22, relating to the natural productions of islands in the eastern seas, taken from other authors, complete the list. So there are twenty-two Spanish inscriptions or legends on the map,—ten on the first table and twelve on the second,—the last five of which have no Latin exemplaires; and there are no Latin inscriptions without the same text in Spanish immediately preceding.

There are no headings prefixed to the inscriptions, except the 1st, the 17th, and 18th. The first inscription, relating to the discovery of the New World by Columbus, has this title, beneath Tabula Prima, “del almirante.” The 17th—a long inscription—has this title: Retulo, del auctor conçiertas razones de la variaçion que haze il aguia del marear con la estrella del Norte (“A discourse of the author of the map, giving certain reasons for the variation of the magnetic needle in reference to the North Star”). It is also repeated in Latin over the version of the inscription in that language. The title to the 18th inscription, if it may be called a title, has already been given.

The 17th inscription begins as follows: “Sebastian Caboto, capitan y piloto mayor de la S. c. c. m. del Imperador don Carlos quinto deste nombre, y Rey nuestro sennor [21]hizo este figura extenda en plano, anno del nascimo de nrō Salvador Iesu Christo de MDXLIIII. annos, tirada por grados de latitud y longitud con sus vientos como carta de marear, imitando en parte al Ptolomeo, y en parte alos modernos descobridores, asi Espanoles como Portugueses, y parte por su padre, y por el descubierto, por donde, podras navegar como por carta de marear, teniendo respecto a luariaçion que haze el aguia,” etc. (“Sebastian Cabot, captain and pilot-major of his sacred imperial majesty, the emperor Don Carlos, the fifth of this name, and the king our lord, made this figure extended on a plane surface, in the year of the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, 1544, having drawn it by degrees of latitude and longitude, with the winds, as a sailing chart, following partly Ptolemy and partly the modern discoveries, Spanish and Portuguese, and partly the discovery made by his father and himself: by it you may sail as by a sea-chart, having regard to the variation of the needle,” etc.). Then follows a discussion relating to the variation of the magnetic needle, which Cabot claims first to have noticed.[17]

In the inscription, No. 8, which treats of Newfoundland, it says: “This country was discovered by John Cabot, a Venetian, and Sebastian Cabot, his son, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ, MCCCCXCIV. [1494] on the 24th of June, in the morning, which country they called ‘primum visam’; and a large island adjacent to it they named the island of St. John, because they discovered it on the same day.”[18]

A fac-simile of this map was published in Paris by M. Jomard, in Plate XX. of his Monuments de la Géographie (begun in 1842, and issued during several years following down to 1862), but without the legends on its sides, which unquestionably belong to the map itself; for those which, on account of their length, are not included within the interior of the map, are attached to it by proper references. M. Jomard promised a separate volume of “texte explicatif,” but death prevented the accomplishment of his purpose.[19]




If this map, with the date of its composition, is authentic, it is the first time the name of John Cabot has been introduced to our notice in any printed document, in connection with the discovery of North America. Here the name is brought in jointly with that of Sebastian Cabot, on the authority apparently of Sebastian himself. He is said to be the maker of the map, and if he did not write the legends on its sides he may be supposed not to have been ignorant of their having been placed there. As to Legend No. 8, copied above, who but Sebastian Cabot would know the facts embodied in it,—namely, that the discovery was made by both the father and the son, on the 24th of June, about five o’clock in the morning; that the land was called prima vista, or its equivalent, and that the island near by was called St. John, as the discovery was made on St. John’s Day? Whether or not Sebastian Cabot’s statement is to be implicitly relied on, in associating his own name with his father’s in the voyage of discovery, in view of the evidence which has recently come to light, the legend itself must have proceeded from him. Some additional information in the latter part of the inscription, relating to the native inhabitants, and the productions of the country, may have been gathered in the voyage of the following year. Sebastian Cabot, without doubt, was in possession of his father’s maps, on which would be inscribed by John Cabot himself the day on which the discovery was made.

Whatever opinions, therefore, historical scholars may entertain as to Sebastian Cabot’s connection with this map in its present form, or with the inscriptions upon it as a whole, all must admit that the statements embodied in No. 8, and, it may be added, in No. 17, could have been communicated by no one but Sebastian Cabot himself. The only alternative is that they are a base fabrication by a stranger. Moreover, this very map itself, or a map with these legends upon it, as we shall see farther on, was in the possession of Richard Eden, or was accessible to him; and one of its long inscriptions was translated into English, and printed in his Decades, in 1555, as from “Cabot’s own card,”—and this at a time when Cabot was living in London, and apparently on terms of intimacy with Eden. Legend No. 8 contains an important statement which is confirmed by evidence recently come to light, namely, the fact of John Cabot’s agency in the discovery of North America; and, although the name of the son is here associated with the father, it is a positive relief to find an acknowledgment from Sebastian himself of a truth that was to receive, before the close of the century, important support from the publication of the Letters Patent from the archives of the State. And this should serve to modify our estimate of the authenticity of reports purporting to come from Sebastian, in which the father is wholly ignored, and the son alone is represented as the hero. The long inscription, No. 17, contains an honorable mention of his father, as we have already seen; and in the Latin duplicate, the language in the passage which I have given in English will be seen to be even more emphatic than is expressed in the Spanish text. Indeed, in several instances in the Latin, though generally following the Spanish, so far as I have had an opportunity of observing, there are some statements of fact not to be found in the Spanish.[20] The passage already cited concludes[24] thus in the Latin: “And also from the experience and practice of long sea-service of the most excellent John Cabot, a Venetian by nation, and of my author [the map is here made to speak for itself] Sebastian his son, the most learned of all men in knowledge of the stars and the art of navigation, who have discovered a certain part of the globe for a long time hidden from our people.”[21]

Though we are not quite willing to believe that Sebastian Cabot wrote the eulogy of himself contained in this passage, yet who but he could have known of those facts concerning his father, who, we suppose, had been dead some fifty years before this map was composed?

The map itself, as a work of Sebastian Cabot, is unsatisfactory, and many of the legends on its sides are also unworthy of its alleged author. It brought forward for the first time, in Legend 8, the year 1494 as the year of the discovery of North America, which the late M. D’Avezac accepted, but which I cannot but think from undoubted evidence, to be adduced farther on, is wrong. The “terram primum visam” of the legend is inscribed on the northern part of Cape Breton, and there would seem to be no good reason for not accepting this point on the coast as Cabot’s landfall. The “y de s. Juan,” the present Prince Edward Island, is laid down on the map; and although Dr. Kohl thinks that the name was given by the French, and that Cabot may have taken it, not from his own survey, but from the French maps, I have seen no evidence of the application of the name on any map before this of Cabot. Cartier gave the name “Sainct Jean” to a cape on the west coast of Newfoundland, in 1534, discovered also on St. John’s Day; but this fact was not known, in print at least, till 1556, when the account of his first voyage was published in the third volume of Ramusio.

We find no strictly contemporaneous reference to this map, or evidence that it exerted any influence on opinions respecting the first two voyages of the Cabots; and the name of John Cabot again sinks out of sight. Dr. Kohl has called attention to the fact that the author of this map has copied the coast line of the northern shore largely from Ribero.

It may be added that the inscription No. 8, on Cabot’s map, has since its republication by Hakluyt, with an English version by him, in 1589, been regarded as containing the most definite and satisfactory statement which had appeared as to the discovery of North America, the date as to the year having been subjected to some interesting criticisms, to be referred to farther on.

In the year 1550 Ramusio issued at Venice the first volume of his celebrated collection of voyages and travels in Italian, entitled, Delle Navigationi et Viaggi, etc. This contained, in a discourse on spices, etc., the well-known report of a conversation at the villa of Hieronymo Fracastor, at Caphi, near Verona, in which the principal speaker, a most profound philosopher and mathematician, incidentally relates an interview which he had, some years before, with Sebastian Cabot at Seville. Ramusio, who was present, and tells the story himself, says he does not pretend to give the conversation precisely as he heard it, for that would require a talent beyond his; but he would try and give briefly what he could recollect of it. The substance of Cabot’s story as related, much abridged by me, is this:—


Sebastian Cabot’s father took him from Venice to London when he was very young, yet having some knowledge of the humanities, and of the sphere. His father died at the time when the news was brought of the discovery of Columbus, which caused a great talk at the court of Henry VII., and which created a great desire in him (Cabot) to attempt some great thing; and understanding, by reason of the sphere, that if he should sail by the northwest he would come to India by a shorter route, he caused the king to be informed of his idea, and the king immediately furnished him with two small ships, and all things necessary for the voyage, which was in the year 1496, in the beginning of summer. He therefore began to sail to the northwest, expecting to go to Cathay, and from thence to turn towards India, but found after some days, to his displeasure, that the land ran towards the north. He still proceeded hoping to find the passage, but found the land still continent to the 56th degree; and seeing there that the coast turned toward the east, he, in despair of finding the passage, turned back and sailed down the coast toward the equinoctial, ever hoping to find the passage, and came as far south as Florida, when, his provisions failing, he returned to England, where he found great tumults among the people, and wars in Scotland.

The volumes of Ramusio became justly celebrated throughout the literary centres of Europe, and the publication of the account of Sebastian Cabot’s discovery in the first volume attracted the attention of scholars in England. It will be noticed that Sebastian Cabot here, as well as in the account in Peter Martyr, is said to have been born in Venice, and taken to England while yet very young; yet not so young but that he had acquired some knowledge of letters, and of the sphere. He speaks here of the death of his father as occurring before the voyage of discovery was entered upon, for which he had two small ships furnished him by the king. He says that this was in the year 1496; yet he speaks of events occurring in England on his return,—great tumults among the people, and wars in Scotland,—which point to the year 1497. The latitude he reached “under our pole” was 56 degrees; and, despairing to find the passage to India, he turned back again, sailed down the coast, “and came to that part of this firm land we now call Florida.”[22] Many incidents here described could not have occurred on the voyage of discovery, as we shall see farther on.

We do not know the precise year in which the interview at Seville between this learned man and Sebastian Cabot was held, but have given some reasons below for believing that it took place about ten years before it was printed by Ramusio.[23]


I might mention here another reference to Cabot, in Ramusio’s third volume, 1556, though of a little later date. In a prefatory dedication to his excellent friend Hieronimo Fracastor,[24] at whose house the conversation related in Ramusio’s first volume took place, Ramusio under date of June 20, 1553, says that “Sebastian Cabot our countryman, a Venetian,” wrote to him many years ago that he sailed along and beyond this land of New France, at the charges of Henry VII. King of England; that he sailed a long time west and by north into the latitude of 67½ degrees, and on the 11th of June, finding still the sea open, he expected to have gone on to Cathay, and would have gone, if the mutiny of the shipmaster and mariners had not hindered him and made him return homewards from that place.[25]

I have already briefly referred to this letter, in speaking of the alleged voyage of 1516-17, contended for by Biddle (pp. 117-19), on which occasion he thinks Cabot entered Hudson Bay. This passage in Ramusio is mentioned twenty years later by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in his tract, as we shall see farther on, principally on account of the high degree of northern latitude reached, 67½°, and where the sea was found still open.[26] As this is the only account of a voyage which describes so high an elevation reached, and an immediate return thence by reason of mutiny, some have supposed that the incidents described must have occurred on a third voyage, in company with Sir Thomas Pert. On Cabot’s map of 1544 there is inscribed a coast line trending westward, terminating at the degree of latitude named.

In 1552 Gomara’s Historia General de las Indias was published at Saragossa in Spain. In cap. xxxix., under the head of “Los Baccalaos,” he says:—

“Sebastian Cabot was the first that brought any knowledge of this land, for being in England in the days of King Henry VII. he furnished two ships at his own charges, or (as some say) at the King’s, whom he persuaded that a passage might be found to Cathay by the North Seas.... He went also to know what manner of lands those Indies were to inhabit. He had with him three[27] hundred men, and directed his course by the track of Iceland, upon the Cape of Labrador, at fifty-eight degrees (though he himself says much more), affirming that in the month of July there was such cold and heaps of ice that he durst pass no further; that the days were very long and in manner without night, and the nights very clear. Certain it is that at sixty degrees the longest day is of 18 hours. But considering the cold and the strangeness of the unknown land, he turned his course from thence to the west, refreshing themselves at Baccalaos; and following the coast of the land unto the 38th degree, he returned to England.”[27]

Francis Lopez Gomara was among the most distinguished of the historical writers of Spain. In his History of the Indies his purpose was to give a brief view of the whole range of Spanish conquest in the islands and on the American continent, as far down as about the middle of the sixteenth century. He must have known Cabot in Seville, and might have informed himself as to his early maritime enterprises, but he seems to have neglected his opportunity. His book was published after Cabot had returned to England. On one point in the above brief account, namely, as to whether the ships were furnished at the charge of Cabot, he speaks doubtfully. Peter Martyr had said that Cabot furnished two ships at his own charge, while Ramusio, in the celebrated Discorso, makes Cabot say that the king furnished them. As usual but one voyage is spoken of; and Sebastian Cabot is the only commander, and is called a Venetian. His statement contains little new, and is principally a repetition of Peter Martyr. There is added the statement that the expedition, on returning from the northern coasting, “refreshed at Baccalaos.” The degrees given, as to the latitude and longitude reached in sailing both north and south, appear to be an inference from Martyr and Ramusio. The incidents here related of course refer to the second voyage. Gomara, in his history, has other notices of Cabot during his residence in Spain at a later period, in connection with his account of the junta at Badajos, and the expedition to the La Plata.

In 1553 Richard Eden, the first English collector of voyages and travels, published in London a translation “out of Latin into English” of the fifth book of the Universal Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster, entitling it A Treatise of the Newe India,[28] etc. In the dedication of the book to the Duke of Northumberland, who had been Lord High Admiral of England under Henry VIII., Eden says, incidentally, that “King Henry VIII. about the same year of his reign [i. e. between April 1516 and April 1517], furnished and sent forth certain ships under the gouvernance of Sebastian Cabot yet living, and one Sir Thomas Pert, whose faint heart was the cause that the voyage took none effect;” and that if manly courage “had not at that time been wanting, it might happily have come to pass that that rich treasure called Perularia, which is now in Spain in the city of Sivil, and so named for that in it is kept the infinite riches brought hither from the new-found-land of Peru, might long since have been in the Tower of London, to the king’s great honor and wealth of this his realm.”

I find no notice taken of this statement of Eden, at the time, and it is only when we come down to the publication of Hakluyt’s folio, in 1589, that we see an attempt made to attach some importance to it. Although deviating a little from the chronological order of[28] this narrative, I propose here to bring together what I may have to say concerning this voyage.

Dr. Kohl[29] very properly says that this incidental remark of Eden is all the original evidence we have on this so-called expedition of Cabot in 1516, to which some modern writers attach great importance, and by which great discoveries are said to have been made under Henry VIII. Hakluyt, in his folio of 1589, p. 515, copies the language of Eden cited above, and also an abstract from a spurious Italian version of Oviedo, in Ramusio’s collections, in which that writer is made to say that a Spanish vessel in the year 1517 fell in with an English rover at the islands of St. Domingo and St. John’s in the West Indies, on their way from Brazil; and concludes that this English rover could be none other than the vessel of Cabot and Pert. But Richard Biddle,[30] nearly two hundred and fifty years after Hakluyt wrote this opinion, exploded this theory by showing that Oviedo, in his genuine work, really gave 1527 as the date of the meeting of the English vessel, as narrated. Biddle, however, still had faith in Eden’s statement that an expedition sailed from England in the year indicated, commanded by Cabot and Pert, but held that it took a northwesterly direction, and that it was on this expedition that Cabot entered Hudson Bay, and reached the high latitude of 67½ N. as mentioned by him in a letter to Ramusio;[31] in which letter Cabot says that “on the 11th of June, finding still the open sea without any manner of impediment, he thought verily by that way to have passed on still the way to Cathay, which is in the east, ... if the mutiny of the shipmaster and mariners had not hindered him, and made him to return homewards from that place.” Biddle saw a parallel in the language of Eden as to the “faint heart” of Pert, and in that of Cabot as to the “mutiny of the shipmaster and mariners;” not forgetting also similar language in a letter written by Robert Thorne to Doctor Ley, in 1527, relating to a voyage of discovery to the west, in which Thorne’s father and another merchant of Bristol, Hugh Eliot, were participants—which voyage, Mr. Biddle says, was in 1517—that, “if the mariners would then have been ruled and followed their pilots’ mind, the lands of the West Indies, from whence all the gold cometh, had been ours.”[32] Mr. Biddle forgets that in the letter of Cabot to Ramusio, cited above, the writer says that the voyage of which he is here speaking was made in the reign of Henry VII., who died in 1509, seven or eight years before the date which Biddle assigns to the alleged Cabot and Pert voyage.

Dr. Kohl, who has very learnedly and at great length examined the claims for this voyage of 1516-17,[33] has little confidence that any such expedition actually sailed. Eden says the voyage “took none effect,” which may mean that the expedition never sailed. It seems also very improbable that Cabot, so recently domiciled in Spain, where he was occupying an honorable position, should leave it all now and re-enter the service of England, by whose Government he had apparently for so many years been neglected. No English or Spanish writer mentions his leaving Spain at this time.[34]


In 1555 there appeared in London the first collection in English of the “results of that spirit of maritime enterprise which had been everywhere awakened by the discovery of America.” The book was edited by Richard Eden,—just mentioned as the translator of the fifth book of Munster, in 1553,—and consisted of translations from foreign writers, principally Latin, Spanish, and Italian, of travels by sea and land, largely relating to discoveries in the New World. The book was entitled, The Decades of the Newe Worlde or West India, etc., inasmuch as one hundred and sixty-six folios out of three hundred and seventy-four, which the book contains, consist of the first three Decades of Peter Martyr, and an epitome of the fourth Decade first issued at Basle, in 1521. Then follow abstracts of Oviedo, Gomara, Ramusio, Ziegler, Pigafeta, Munster, Bastaldus, Vespucius, and several others. Some of the voyages are original and were drawn up by Eden’s own hand. It is a very desirable book to possess; and though Eden was a clumsy editor, not always correct in his translations, and did not always make it clear whether he or his author was speaking, we are grateful to him for the book. An enthusiastic tribute is paid to Eden and his book by Richard Biddle,[35] who sets him off by an invidious comparison with Richard Hakluyt, whom he studiously depreciates. Eden was apparently a devoted Catholic, and was a spectator of the public entry of Philip and Mary into London in 1554. He says that the splendid pageant as it passed before him inspired him to enter upon some work which he might in due season offer as the result of his loyalty, and “crave for it the royal blessing.”[36] In his preface to the reader Eden gives a brief review of ancient history, and coming down to the time of the conquest of the Indies by Spain he eulogizes the conduct of that nation towards the natives, particularly in having so effectually labored for their conversion. His language is one continued eulogy of the Spaniards. He urges England to submit to King Philip, of whom he says:—

“Of his behavior in England, his enemies (which canker virtue never lacked),—they, I say, if any such yet remain,—have greatest cause to report well, yea so well, that if his natural clemency were not greater than was their unnatural indignation, they know themselves what might have followed.... Being a lion he behaved himself as a lamb, and struck not his enemy having the sword in his hand. Stoop, England, stoop, and learn to know thy lord and master, as horses and other brute beasts are taught to do!”

He earnestly desires to see the Christian religion enlarged, and urges his countrymen to follow here the example of the Spaniards in the New World. He says:—

“I am not able, with tongue or pen, to express what I conceive hereof in my mind, yet one thing I see which enforseth me to speak, and lament that the harvest is so great and the workmen so few. The Spaniards have showed a good example to all Christian nations to follow. But as God is great and wonderful in all his works, so beside the portion of land pertaining to the Spaniards (being eight times bigger than Italy, as you may read in the last book of the second Decade), and beside that which pertaineth to the Portugals, there yet remaineth another portion of that main land reaching toward the northeast, thought to be as large as the other, and not yet known but only by the sea-coasts, neither inhabited by any Christian men; whereas, nevertheless, (as writeth Gemma Phrisius) in this land there are many fair and fruitful regions, high mountains, and fair rivers, with abundance of gold, and diverse kinds of beasts. Also cities and towers so well builded, and people of such civility, that this part of the world seemeth little inferior to our Europe, if the inhabitants had received our religion. They are witty people and refuse not bartering with strangers. These regions are called Terra Florida and Regio Baccalearum or Bacchallaos, of the which you may read somewhat in this book in the voyage of that worthy old man yet living,[30] Sebastian Cabot, in the vi. book of the third Decade. But Cabot touched only in the north corner, and most barbarous part thereof, from whence he was repulsed with ice in the month of July. Nevertheless, the west and south parts of these regions have since been better searched by other, and found to be as we have said before.... How much therefore is it to be lamented, and how greatly doth it sound to the reproach of all Christendom, and especially to such as dwell nearest to these lands (as we do), being much nearer unto the same than are the Spaniards (as within xxv days sailing and less),—how much, I say, shall this sound unto our reproach and inexcusable slothfulness and negligence, both before God and the world, that so large dominions of such tractable people and pure gentiles, not being hitherto corrupted with any other false religion (and therefore the easier to be allured to embrace ours), are now known unto us, and that we have no respect neither for God’s cause nor for our own commodity, to attempt some voyages into these coasts, to do for our parts as the Spaniards have done for theirs, and not ever like sheep to haunt one trade, and to do nothing worthy memory among men or thanks before God, who may herein worthily accuse us for the slackness of our duty toward him.”

The few voyages of discovery made by the English in the first part of the sixteenth century, either by the authority of the Government or on private account, were productive of little results; and when Sebastian Cabot finally returned to England from Spain, in 1547 or 1548, his influence was engaged by sundry merchants of London, who were seeking to devise some means to check the decay of trade in the realm, by the discovery of a new outlet for the manufactured products of the nation. The result was the sending off the three vessels under Willoughby, in May, 1553, to the northeast, and finally the incorporation of the merchant adventurers, with Cabot as governor.

In Richard Eden’s long address to the reader prefixed to his translation of the fifth Book of Sebastian Münster, written probably before the Willoughby expedition had been heard from, he speaks of “the attempt to pass to Cathay by the North East, which some men doubt, as the globes represent it all land north, even to the north pole.” In his preface to his Decades, cited above, written two years later, we have seen that he urges the people of England to turn their attention in the old direction, and to take possession of the waste places still unoccupied by any Christian people; which regions be says are called Terra Florida and Regio Baccalearum. These offer a large opportunity for traffic as a remedy for the stagnation of trade under which England is suffering, and a wide field for the Christian missionary.

The reader will have noticed, in the above extract, that Eden says that Sebastian Cabot “touched only in the north corner and most barbarous part” of the region which he is urging his countrymen to take possession of, “from whence he was repulsed with ice in the month of July.”

Eden’s Decades placed before the English reader for the first time the several notices of Sebastian Cabot, of which mention has been here made; namely, by Martyr, Ramusio, Gomara, and the brief Commentary by Ziegler. And the fact that this large unoccupied territory at the west, which Eden here urges the English Government and people to take possession of, was discovered by Cabot for the English nation, could not fail in time to produce its fruit upon the English mind.

Sebastian Cabot, as we have seen, was living in England at the time Richard Eden published his book, and a very old man. Eden appears to have been on terms of acquaintance with him, if not of intimacy; and unless the infirmities of years weighed too heavily upon his faculties, Cabot might have been able to impart much information to one so curious and eager as Eden was to gather up details. Eden more than once speaks of what Sebastian Cabot told him. In the margin of folio 255, where is a report of the famous conversation concerning Sebastian Cabot, extracted from Ramusio, in which Cabot is spoken of as “a Venetian born,” Eden says: “Sebastian Cabot told me that he was born in Brystowe, and that at iiii years old he was carried with his father to Venice, and so returned again into England with his father, after certain years, wherby he was thought to have been born in Venice.” This was a bad beginning on the part of Eden as an interviewer; that is to say, the truth was not reached.


Sebastian Cabot, if he had been asked, might have told Eden much more. Why did not Eden hand in a list of questions? Why did he not submit to him a proof-sheet of the story from Ramusio, which we know contains so many errors, and ask him to correct it, so that the world might have a true account of the discovery of North America? What an excellent opportunity was lost to Cabot for printing here under the auspices of Eden all those maps and discourses which Hakluyt, at a later period, tells us were in the custody of the worshipful Master William Worthington, who was very willing to have them overseen and published, but which have never yet seen the light![37]

I have already called attention to the fact that Eden had a copy of Cabot’s map, and translated one of the legends upon it,—that relating to the River La Plata, no. vii.[38]

About this time, or perhaps a few years earlier, there was painted in England a portrait of Sebastian Cabot, supposed for many years to have been done by Holbein, whose death has usually been referred to the year 1554, though recent investigations have rendered it probable that he died eleven years before. The first notice of this portrait which I have seen is in Purchas.[39] A minute description of it, with a notice of its disappearance from Whitehall, where it hung for many years, is given by Mr. Biddle,[40] who subsequently purchased the picture in England and brought it to this country, where in 1845 it was burned with his house and contents, in Pittsburg, Pa. Two excellent copies of it, however, had fortunately been taken, one of which, by the artist Chapman, is in the gallery of the Massachusetts Historical Society,[41] and the other in that of the New York Historical Society.[42] The portrait was painted after Cabot had returned to England; and it is said, I know not on what authority, to have been painted for King Edward VI., who died in 1553. Cabot lived some five years longer. The picture represents Cabot as a very old man. It has the following inscription upon it:[43]

Effigies· Sebastiani Caboti
Angli· Filii· Johãnis· Caboti· Vene
Ti· Militis· Avrati· Primi· Invēt
Oris· Terræ Noviæ Sub Herico Vii. Angl

Læ Rege.

A peculiar interest is attached to this inscription, from the circumstance that it must probably have proceeded from Sebastian Cabot himself; that is to say, the facts intended to be embodied in it by the artist or herald could best come from him. But being clumsily expressed, it is uncertain whether the son or the father was intended to be represented as the knight and discoverer. With the exception of the legend on the map already mentioned, it is the only direct testimony presumably from Sebastian himself as to the principal fact involved. That joins both the father and the son as discoverers. Here the honor is given to but one of them, but unhappily the only statement clearly expressed is that Sebastian Cabot is an Englishman and the son of John Cabot, a Venetian. Which was the knight and the discoverer no one can tell certainly from the legend itself. The inscription has been the subject of considerable discussion and even controversy.[44] Humboldt has a brief note on the subject,[45] in which he says: “Il importe de savoir si c’est le père Jean ou[32] le fils Sebastien qui est désigné comme celui auquel la décoverte est due. Si c’était le fils, Holbein aurait probablement placé le mot filii après Veneti. Il aurait écrit: Effigies Seb. Caboti Angli, Joannis Caboti Veneti filii....” We now know from other evidence that John Cabot was the discoverer of North America. He may have been accompanied by his son, Sebastian, but it would have been a pleasant fact to have the testimony of the son to his father’s honor clearly expressed, as may have been intended in this awkward composition. Sebastian Cabot has been the sphinx of American history for over three hundred years, and this inscription over his head in his picture does not tend to divest him of that character. There has as yet appeared no other evidence to show that either John Cabot or Sebastian was ever knighted. Purchas[46] insists on giving the title of “Sir” to the son. Laying aside the question as to the interpretation of the inscription on the portrait, there is sufficient evidence elsewhere to show that Sebastian Cabot was not a knight. In two documents to be more particularly noticed in another place,—one dated in May, 1555, and the other in May, 1557, the latter dated not long before Sebastian Cabot’s death,—relating to a pension granted to him by the Crown of England, he is styled “Armiger,” a dignity below that of knight and equivalent to that of esquire. See Rymer’s Fœdera, vol. xv. pp. 427 and 466.

In 1558 there was published in Paris a book entitled Les Singularitez de la France Antarcktique, etc., by F. André Thevet, the French Cosmographer.[47] This writer is held in little estimation, and deservedly so. In chapter lxxiv. fol. 145, verso, in speaking of the Baccalaos, is this passage:—

“It was first discovered by Sebastian Babate, an Englishman, who persuaded Henry VII., King of England, that he could go easily this way by the North to Cathay, and that he would thus obtain spices and other articles from the Indies equally as well as the King of Portugal; added to which he proposed to go to Peru and America, to people the country with new inhabitants, and to establish there a New England, which he did not accomplish. True it is he put three hundred men ashore, somewhere to the north of Ireland, where the cold destroyed nearly the whole company, though it was then the month of July. Afterwards Jaques Cartier (as he himself has told me) made two voyages to that country in 1534 and 1535.”

This passage it will be seen is a mere perversion of that in Gomara, changing the name of Cabot to Babate, and Iceland to Ireland, but adding the wholly unauthorized statement that the three hundred men were put ashore and perished in the cold. Mr. Biddle,[48] who calls attention to this writer’s recklessness, says that this is a “random addition suggested by the reference in Gomara to one of the objects of Cabot’s expedition, and the reasons which compelled him to turn back.” On the other hand, he thinks it possible that Thevet “derived his information from Cartier, who would be very likely to know of any such attempt at settlement.” It is not at all likely that Thevet had any authority whatever for his statement. His mention of Cartier is probably suggested by seeing in Gomara,[49] immediately following the extract from him above quoted, the mention of Cartier as being on that coast in 1534 and 1535. But Thevet’s statement has entered into sober history, and has been quoted and requoted.

Captain Antonio Galvano, the Portuguese, had died in 1557, leaving behind him a Trádado, a historical treatise, which was published at Lisbon in 1563. It gives an account “of all the discoveries, ancient and modern, which have been made up to the year one thousand five hundred and fifty.” This is a valuable chronological list of discoveries in which the[33] writer includes, in the latter part, his own experience. He spent the early part of his life in India, and the latter part, on being recalled home, in compiling an account of all known voyages. The Hakluyt Society have published Galvano’s book in the original, from a copy, believed to be unique, in the Carter-Brown Library, at Providence R. I. It is accompanied by an English version, by an unknown translator, long in the possession of Hakluyt, corrected and published by him, as the title says, in 1601.[50] Hakluyt never could get sight of a copy of the original edition. On comparing the texts, several omissions and additions are noticed by the modern editor. The former are supposed to be due to the inadvertence of the translator, the latter to Hakluyt, who supplied what he thought important from other sources; and to him are probably due the marginal references. The following is the English version of Galvano’s account[51] of Cabot’s discovery, some omissions having been supplied by the modern editor:—

“In the year 1496 there was a Venetian in England called John Cabota, who having knowledge of such a new discovery as this was [viz. the discovery by Columbus], and perceiving by the globe that the islands before spoken of stood almost in the same latitude with his country, and much nearer to England than to Portugal, or to Castile, he acquainted King Henry the Seventh, then King of England, with the same, wherewith the said king was greatly pleased, and furnished him out with two ships and three hundred men; which departed and set sail in the spring of the year, and they sailed westward till they came in sight of land in 45 degrees of latitude towards the north, and then went straight northwards till they came into 60 degrees of latitude, where the day is eighteen hours long, and the night is very clear and bright. There they found the air cold, and great islands of ice, but no ground in seventy, eighty, an hundred fathoms sounding, but found much ice, which alarmed them; and so from thence putting about, finding the land to turn eastwards, they trended along by it on the other tack, discovering all the bay and river[52] named Deseado, to see if it passed on the other side; then they sailed back again, diminishing the latitude, till they came to 38 degrees toward the equinoctial line, and from thence returned into England. There be others which say that he went as far as the Cape of Florida, which standeth in 25 degrees.”

It will be seen that the greater part of this is taken from Gomara, and the writer had also read Peter Martyr and Ramusio, and from the latter takes his year 1496. One statement,—namely, that Cabot came in sight of land in 45 degrees north,—is original here, which would almost lead one to suppose that Galvano had seen the prima vista of Cabot’s map.

It will be noticed, near the beginning of the extract from Galvano, that John Cabot is said to be the discoverer. Thus it stands in the old English version as published by Hakluyt, but in the original Portuguese it reads: “No anno de 1496 achandose hum Venezeano por nome Sebastiāo Gaboto em Inglaterra,” etc. The substitution of John for Sebastian was no doubt due to Hakluyt, who also made this marginal note: “The great discovery of John Cabota and the English.”[53]

In this same year (1563) there was published in London an English version from the French of Jean Ribault, entitled, The whole and True discoverie of Terra Florida (englished the Flourishing Lande), etc., giving an account of the attempt to found a colony at Port Royal in the preceding year. The translation was made by Thomas Hacket, and was reprinted by Richard Hakluyt in his Divers Voyages, in 1582.[54] In referring to the preceding attempts at discovery and settlement of those northern shores, he says:—


“Of the which there was one, a very famous stranger named Sebastian Cabota, an excellent pilot, sent thither by King Henry, the year 1498, and many others, who never could attain to any habitation, nor take possession thereof one only foot of ground, nor yet approach or enter into these parts and fair rivers into the which God hath brought us.”[55]

This passage from Ribault is cited principally for the date there given, 1498, as the year of Sebastian Cabot’s visit to the northern shores. It was not the year of the discovery, but was the year of the second voyage. Where did Ribault pick up this date? No one of the notices of Cabot’s voyage hitherto cited contains it. I have already called attention to Peter Martyr’s language, in 1524, that Sebastian Cabot discovered the Baccalaos twenty-six years before, from which by a calculation that date is arrived at.[56]

In 1570 Abraham Ortelius published at Antwerp the first edition of his celebrated Theatrum orbis terrarum, containing fifty-three copperplate maps, engraved by Hogenberg.[57] In the beginning of the book is a list of the maps which Ortelius had consulted, and he mentions among them one by “Sebastianus Cabotus Venetus, Universalem Tabulam: quam impressam æneis formis vidimus, sed sine nomine loci et impressoris.” This would seem to describe, so far as it goes, the Cabot map in the National Library, at Paris, which is a large engraved map of the world, “without the name of the place or the printer.”

Mr. Biddle was impressed with the belief that Ortelius was largely influenced in the composition of his map by the map of Cabot. He contended that Cabot’s landfall was the coast of Labrador, and he found near that coast, on the map of Ortelius, a small island named St. John, which he supposed was that discovered by Cabot on St. John’s day and so named, and was taken by Ortelius from Cabot’s map.[58] But an examination of the Paris map fails to confirm Biddle’s hypothesis. The “Y. de s. Juan,” is in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near where the prima vista is placed. A delineation of what might be called Hudson Bay appears on the map of Ortelius, and Biddle supposed that Cabot’s map furnished the authority for it. But no such representation of that bay appears on Cabot’s map.


In 1574 there appeared at Cologne another edition of Peter Martyr’s three Decades, published in connection with some writings of the distinguished Fleming, Damiani A. Goès.[59] The third Decade of Martyr, as I have already said, contained the earliest notice of Sebastian Cabot.

We have arrived at a period now when the public men of England began especially to interest themselves in voyages of discovery and colonization, and successfully to engage the good offices of the Queen in their behalf. “There hath been two special causes in former age,” says George Beste in “the Epistle Dedicatory” to his voyages of Frobisher, published in 1578, “that have greatly hindered the English nation in their attempts. The one hath been lack of liberality in the nobility; and the other, want of skill in the cosmography and the art of navigation,—which kind of knowledge is very necessary for all our noblemen, for that, we being islanders, our chiefest strength consisteth by sea. But these two causes are now in this present age (God be thanked!) very well reformed; for not only her Majesty now, but all the nobility also, having perfect knowledge in cosmography, do not only with good words countenance the forward minds of men, but also with their purses do liberally and bountifully contribute unto the same; whereby it cometh to pass that navigation, which in the time of King Henry VII. was very raw, and took (as it were) but beginning (and ever since hath had by little and little continual increase), is now in her Majesty’s reign grown to his highest perfection.”[60]

Frobisher sailed on his first voyage in June, 1576. The tract of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, entitled, A Discourse of Discovery for a new Passage to Cataia, principally written ten years before, was published before Frobisher left the Thames. The reference in this tract to Sebastian Cabot—who “by his personal experience and travel hath set forth and described this passage [that is, the Straits of Anian] in his charts, which are yet to be seen in the Queen’s Majesty’s Privy Gallery at Whitehall, who was sent to make this discovery by King Henry VII., and entered the same fret,” etc.—has led Mr. Biddle to suppose that Frobisher had the benefit of Cabot’s experience, and that his maps or charts hanging in the gallery at Whitehall had delineated on them the strait or passage through to the Pacific, which Cabot entered, and would have passed on to Cathay, if he had not been prevented by the mutiny of the master and mariners.[61]

One would naturally infer that Gilbert wrote this passage after inspecting the map in Whitehall, but the full passage of which we have here given an extract is taken from Cabot’s letter in Ramusio,[62] to which work Gilbert refers in the margin of his tract thus: “Written in the Discourses of Navigation.”[63] I may add that in the following year, 1577, Richard Willes published a new edition of Eden,[64] containing all the references to Cabot in the genuine edition, and also a paper on Frobisher’s first voyage, with some speculations, added to those of Gilbert, as to the northwest passage. In this paper, addressed to the Countess of Warwick, he makes frequent reference to Cabot’s card or table, in possession[36] of the countess’s father “at Cheynies,” as proving by Cabot’s experience the existence of such a strait as had been spoken of by Gilbert, and of which Frobisher in his first voyage was in search. He says: “Cabota was not only a skilful seaman but a long traveller, and such a one as entered personally that strait, sent by King Henry VII. to make this aforesaid discovery, as in his own discourse of navigation you may read in his card drawn with his own hand; the mouth of the northwest strait lieth near the 318 meridian, betwixt 61 and 64 degrees in elevation, continuing the same breadth about 10 degrees west, where it openeth southerly more and more.”[65]

If the Countess of Warwick’s father, the Earl of Bedford, had a map by Cabot, with a northwestern strait delineated on it in degrees of latitude and longitude as described by Willes, it could not be a copy of the recently recovered Paris map. In the latter the coast to the north of Labrador from latitude 58 to 65 runs in a northeasterly direction, when it suddenly trends in a northwesterly direction, its delineation ceasing at latitude 68, where is this inscription, “Costa del hues norueste” (coast west-northwest). Dr. Kohl is of opinion that Cabot is here delineating, from his own experience, Cumberland Island in Davis’s Strait; but Mr. Biddle thinks that Cabot’s highest northern latitude was reached in Fox’s Channel on the shores of Melville Peninsula. All these speculations seem to me to be based on very uncertain data.[66]

One is impressed with the ambiguous language of Willes when he speaks of Cabot’s “own discourse of navigation [which] you may read in his card drawn by his own hand.” The phrase “discourse of navigation” sounds so much like Gilbert’s reference in the margin of his tract to Ramusio, that I am disposed to refer it to that source.

Clement Adams, as we shall see farther on, made a copy of Cabot’s map or a copy of some reputed map of Cabot, in 1549 (if the supposition as to the date is correct), which in Hakluyt’s time hung in the gallery at Whitehall, and of which copies were also to be seen in many merchants’ houses; yet it is difficult to understand how different copies of a genuine map of Cabot could contain such variations. Certainly they are all unsatisfactory, and throw but little light on the voyage of the Cabots.

The indefatigable compiler and translator Belleforest issued in 1576,[67] in Paris, his Cosmographie Universelle, on the basis of the work of Sebastian Munster; and he says[68] that Sebastian Cabot attempted, at the expense of Henry VII. of England, to find the way to Cathay by the north; that he discovered the point of Baccalaos, which the Breton and Norman sailors now call the Coast of Codfish, and proceeding yet farther reached the latitude of 67 degrees towards the Arctic pole. Substantially the same passage may be found in Chauveton’s Histoire Nouvelle du Nouveau Monde, p. 141, published at Geneva, in 1579, being a translation of Benzoni, and of other writers.

In connection with Frobisher’s voyage there was published in London, in 1578, A Prayse and Report of Maister Martyne Frobisher’s Voyage to Meta Incognita, by Thomas Churchyard, a miscellaneous and voluminous writer, who says: “I find that Cabota was the first in King Henry VII.’s days that diserned this frozen land or seas from 67 towards the north, from thence toward the south along the coast to 36 degrees.”[69]

The work of George Beste, the writer of the account of Frobisher’s three voyages, before mentioned, published in London in 1578, speaks of Sebastian Cabot as having discovered sundry parts of new-found-land, and attempted the passage to Cathay, and as being an Englishman, born in Bristowe. And a yet further reference is made to him, with the singular additional statement that the date of his discovery was 1508. This date may be a clerical or typographical error.

These brief notices of Sebastian Cabot are cited as showing how a tradition is kept[37] alive by one author or compiler quoting another, neither of which is of the slightest authority in itself.

In 1582 there appeared at Paris a work entitled Les Trois Mondes, etc. by L. V. Popellinière. It is a mere compilation, and embraces translations from various authors relating to the discoveries of the different maritime nations of Europe in various parts of the world. His third world is Australia, called by the Spaniards, he says, Terra del Fuego, which is here represented on a map as a large continent.[70] On fol. 25 it is said that Cabot was the first to conduct the English to the Baccalaos, which was better known to him than to any other; that he armed two ships at the charge and with the consent of Henry VII. of England to go there, and took out with him three hundred Englishmen, and sailed along 48½ degrees in a strait, but was so baffled by the extremity of the cold which he found there in July, that, although the days were long, and the nights were clear, he did not dare to pass beyond with his men to the island to which he wished to conduct them.

This is substantially a resumé of the account in Gomara, with a discrepancy in stating the latitude reached.

Following a long resumé in French of the conversation in the first volume of Ramusio, this writer remarks: “This then was that Gabote which first discovered Florida for the King of England, so that the Englishmen have more right thereunto than the Spaniards; if to have right unto a country, it sufficeth to have first seen and discovered the same.”[71]

In 1580 was published the first edition of Stow’s Chronicle (or Annals) of England, etc., which contains, under the year 1498, the alleged passage from Fabian, which Mr. Biddle[72] charges Hakluyt with perverting, by prefixing in his larger work the name of John Cabot to the “Venitian” as it appeared in the Divers Voyages of 1582. The passage in Stow begins thus: “This year one Sebastian Gabato, a Genoa’s son, born in Bristow,” etc. Reference will be made to this document farther on.

In 1582 Richard Hakluyt published his Divers Voyages, his first book, which contains many curious and important documents. It is dedicated to Master Philip Sidney, Esquire, who, with other statesmen and public men of England, was then deeply interested in American Colonization, being largely inspired by political considerations. The dedication contains an interesting summary of what had been done by other nations, and the reasons why England should now enter upon this work. Reasons are also given for believing that “there is a strait and short way open into the west even unto Cathay,” which they had so long desired to find. And finally the claim of England to the large unsettled territory in America is set forth, “from Florida to sixty-seven degrees northward, by the letters patent granted to John Gabote and his three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Santius, with Sebastian’s own certificate to Baptista Ramusius of his discovery of America, and the testimony of Fabian our own chronicler.”

We begin now to approach for the first time a document which is of the highest authenticity and value. I mean the letters patent, which Hakluyt here prints,[73] under[38] which the discovery of North America was made by authority of England. John Cabot, the father, now emerges from obscurity, for we find the grant is to him and to his three sons, of whom Sebastian is the second. The patent gave them permission to sail with five ships, at their own costs and charges, under the royal banners and ensigns, to all countries and seas of the east, of the west, and of the north, and to seek out and discover whatsoever isles, countries, and provinces of the heathen and infidels, whatsoever they be, which before this time had been unknown to Christians. They also had license to set up the royal banners in the countries found by them, and to conquer and possess them as the king’s vassals and lieutenants. This document is dated 5 March, 1495 (that is 1496, new style). Hakluyt also prints an extract from Fabian’s chronicle, furnished him by John Stow, and supposed to have been in manuscript, as it is not contained in any printed edition of Fabian. In the heading which Hakluyt gives to the paper as printed, he says it is “a note of Sebastian Gabote’s voyage of discovery.” The document reads: “This year the King (by means of a Venetian which made himself very expert and cunning in knowledge of the circuit of the world and islands of the same, ...) caused to man and victual a ship at Bristowe to search for an island which, he said he knew well, was rich and replenished with rich commodities,—which ship thus manned and victualed at the King’s cost, divers merchants of London ventured in her small stocks, being in her as chief patron the said Venetian. And in the company of the said ship sailed also out of Bristowe three or four small ships fraught with slight and gross merchandizes; ... and so departed from Bristowe in the beginning of May, of whom in this Mayor’s time returned no tidings.” This of course refers to the voyage of 1498.

In the margin against this paper Hakluyt has this note: “In the 13 year of King Henry the VII., 1498,” and also “William Purchas, Mayor of London,” whose time expired the last of October, 1498. Stow, as has been seen, had already printed this paper, two years before, in his Annals; and it is reprinted in later editions of that work. What precise shape the original paper was in, which was used by Stow and Hakluyt, we do not know. If they had but one original it was not followed in all its details by both. Dr. E. E. Hale printed in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society for October, 1865, a paper from the Cotton manuscripts in the British Museum, Vitellius, A. xvi, which he thought was the original paper used by each, and to which Hakluyt’s copy conforms more nearly than does that of Stow. The Cotton manuscript gives no name to the navigator, but calls him a stranger “Venetian,” as does Hakluyt. Stow, who probably rarely heard of the name of John Cabot, and was very familiar with that of Sebastian, calls him “Sebastian Gaboto, a Genoa’s son.”[74]


Hakluyt also prints in this precious little volume the substance of Sebastian Cabot’s letter to Ramusio, printed in the beginning of his third volume, in which he mentions the degree of latitude, 67½° N., which Cabot reached in his voyage in search of a way to Cathay.

He also prints for the first time the two well-known letters of Robert Thorne, in the latter of which, addressed to Dr. Ley, the English ambassador to Spain, the writer says that his father and another merchant of Bristol, Hugh Eliot, were the discoverers of the new-found lands. Some have conjectured that these merchants went out with the Cabots, and others that they were in some later expedition not well defined. Hakluyt also prints here an English version of “Verarzanus,” and Hacket’s “Ribault.” The volume also contains two maps, one of which, prepared by Michael Locke, was made, he says, “according to Verarzanus’s plat,” an “old excellent map, which he gave to King Henry VIII., and is yet in the custody of Master Locke.” The map of Locke was probably made only in its general features according to the original model, and contained some more modern additions by its compiler. It has one interesting inscription upon it,—namely, on the delineation of C. Breton we read, “J. Gabot, 1497.” This is the first time I have seen this date assigned as the date of the discovery.[75]

Hakluyt’s little volume expressed the interest felt in England on the subject of North American colonization, and furnished the ground on which England based her title to the country. He also announced in this book that Sebastian Cabot’s maps and discourses were then in the custody of one of Cabot’s old associates, William Worthington, who was willing to have them seen and published.

The interest in the contemplated voyage of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who made the first serious attempt in that century at colonization for England, culminated next year, when he sailed and never returned. Among the reports of that voyage was one written by Mr. Edward Haies in 1583, in which he says: “The first discovery of these coasts (never heard of before) was well begun by John Cabot the father, and Sebastian the son, an Englishman born, who were the first finders out of all that great tract of land stretching from the Cape of Florida unto those islands which we now call the Newfoundland; all which they brought and annexed unto the crown of England.”[76]

Sir George Peckham, a large adventurer with Gilbert, also wrote in 1583 on the same theme, and he makes mention of the title of England in the following language: “In the time of the Queen’s grandfather of worthy memory, King Henry VII., letters patent were by his Majesty granted to John Cabota, an Italian, to Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius, his three sons, to discover remote, barbarous, and heathen countries, which discovery was afterwards executed to the use of the Crown of England in the said King’s time by Sebastian and Sancius, his sons, who were born here in England.”[77] It seems to have been thought that the title of England would be strengthened by the statement that the discoverers, or some of them, were native subjects of the Crown of England. This seems to[40] have been one reason why it has always been insisted on that Sebastian Cabot, so long supposed to be the discoverer, was born in England.[78]


I have already spoken of an edition of Peter Martyr’s Decades in the original Latin,[41] De Orbe Novo, published at Paris in 1587, under the editorship of Richard Hakluyt, who was then residing in that city in connection with the British Embassy. It was dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh, for whom, three years before, Hakluyt had written the Discourse on Westerne Planting. It was the first time the Decades had been printed entire since the first edition of them appeared at Alcala in Spain in 1530. It has been suggested by Mr. Brevoort that the Spanish Government did not favor their circulation, or encourage their republication. In Hakluyt’s edition there was inserted an excellent map of North and South America, of small size, six and a half by seven and a half inches, and dedicated to him by the maker, “F. G.” On the delineation of the coast of Labrador, there is inscribed just north of the River St. Lawrence, “Baccalaos Ab Anglis, 1496.” This date was without doubt supplied by Hakluyt himself, who, in his Discourse on Westerne Planting, insisted on that erroneous date as the true year of discovery,—citing the conversation in the first volume of Ramusio for his authority, as we have seen.

In tracing down the notices in print of John or Sebastian Cabot, we come now to a book of considerable interest, published in Venice in 1588, some years after the death of its author, Livio Sanuto. It was entitled Geographica Distincta, etc., and related in part to matters connected with naval science. The author was deeply interested in the subject of the variation of the needle, and having heard that Sebastian Cabot had publicly explained this subject to the King of England (supposed to be Edward VI., on Cabot’s return to England), he applied to the Venetian ambassador there resident to ascertain from Cabot himself where he had fixed the point of no variation. The information was accordingly procured and published by Sanuto. In the course of his investigations the author made use of a map composed by Cabot himself, in which the position of this meridian was seen to be one hundred and ten miles to the west of the island of Flores, one of the Azores. Mr. Biddle,[79] who dwells at some length on this volume, calls attention to the fact “that the First Meridian on the maps of Mercator, running through the most western point of the Azores, was adopted with reference to the supposed coincidence in that quarter of the true and magnetic poles.” Sanuto makes frequent reference to the map of Cabot in his book, and also makes mention of Cabot’s observations relating to the variation of the compass at the equator. I have already called attention to one of the legends on Cabot’s map of 1544, no. 17, which relates in part to the variation of the needle. In Prima Parte, lib. ii. fol. 17, Sanuto gives a brief account of Cabot’s voyage, which Mr. Biddle[80] says corresponds minutely with that which Sir Humphrey Gilbert derived from the map hung up in Queen Elizabeth’s gallery. Sanuto, however, evidently copied from Cabot’s letter in the preface of the third volume of Ramusio, from which also the language in Gilbert is drawn.

In 1589 Hakluyt published his first folio of 825 pages entitled, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, a monument of his industry as a collector. In this first folio Hakluyt included several pieces from his little quarto tract of 1582, and he collected and put into English other most important evidence relating to the discovery of North America by the Cabots. He gave the passage in Peter Martyr, the conversation in Ramusio, the extract from Gomara, added to those documents reprinted from the quarto tract, all of which have been here noticed in the order in which they appeared in print. It may be added that in the passage from Fabian Hakluyt introduced the name of John Cabot as the Venetian, though he allowed the name of Sebastian[42] to stand in the heading, probably through inadvertence. He also brought the marginal date into the text.


[This sketch-map is taken from the fac-simile in Stevens’s Historical and Geographical Notes, and needs the following key:—

1. Groenlandia.
2. Islandia.
3. Frislandia.
4. Meta incognita ab Anglis inventa An. 1576.
5. Demonum ins.
6. S. Brandon.
7. Baccalaos ab Anglis, 1496.
8. Hochelaga.
9. Nova Albion inventa An. 1580, ab Anglis.
10. Nova Francia.
11. Virginia, 1584.
12. Bermuda.
13. Azores.
14. Florida.
15. Nueva Mexico.
16. Nova Hispania.
17. Caribana.
18. Brasilia.
19. Fretum Magellani.
20. Peru.

This map is so rare that the copies in some of the choicest collections lack it, such as the Huth (p. 920,) Brinley (no. 42), and Carter-Brown (no. 370). Rich priced a copy in 1832 with the map at £4 4s., which would to-day be a small sum for the book without the map; while a copy with the map is now worth £20. Quaritch, Cat. 331, no. 1. The Boston Athenæum copy has the map. See Norton’s Lit. Gazette, new series, i. 272. Bull. Soc. Géog., Oct. 1858, p. 271.—Ed.]

He also produced here from the Rolls Office a memorandum of a license granted by the[43] King to John Cabot alone, to take five English ships of two hundred tons or under, with necessary furniture, and mariners and subjects of the King as would willingly go with him,—dated the 3d day of February in the thirteenth year of his reign (1497/8).

The full copy of this license Hakluyt probably never saw, and the significance of this brief memorandum was never known until, two hundred and forty years afterwards, the entire document was found and published by Mr. Richard Biddle in his Memoir of Sebastian Cabot.[81] It was therefore often interpreted, in connection with the letters patent previously issued, as a grant to take up ships for the first voyage, which, as was supposed, did not take place till 1498.

The original grant of this license, of which Hakluyt publishes a brief memorandum, is found to be a permit to enlist ships and mariners, etc., “and them convey and lead to the land and isles of late found by the said John in our name and by our commandment. Paying for them and every of them as and if we should in or for our own cause pay, and none otherwise.”

The part I have italicized is most significant, and shows that a previous voyage had been made by John Cabot under the authority of the Crown.

Hakluyt also reprinted for the first time, in Latin, with an English version, an extract from Sebastian Cabot’s map, being no. 8 of the Legends inscribed upon it, relating to the discovery of North America, already recited on p. 21. And in saying that it was taken from Sebastian Cabot’s map, I should explain that Hakluyt says it was “an extract taken out of the map of Sebastian Cabot, cut by Clement Adams, ... which is to be seen in her Majesty’s Privy Gallery at Westminster, and in many other ancient merchants’ houses.” This language is a little equivocal, and some have supposed that Hakluyt intended to say that the extract simply was cut by Adams, and not that the whole map was copied by him. Clement Adams was a schoolmaster and a learned man, and probably[44] was not an engraver. But Hakluyt is elsewhere more explicit. In his Westerne Planting,[82] he says: “His [Cabot’s] own map is in the Queen’s Privy Gallery at Westminster, the copy whereof was set out by Mr. Clement Adams, and is in many merchants’ houses in London.” It was probably reproduced under the inspection of Adams. We do not know the year in which Adams’s copy was made, unless an equivocal date in the margin of Purchas[83] may be regarded as expressing the year, namely “1549.” Purchas has fallen into great confusion in attempting to describe Cabot’s map and his picture as they hung in Whitehall in his time.[84]

All these documents relative to the Cabot voyages were reprinted by Hakluyt in the third volume of his larger work—bearing a similar general title to that of 1589—published in 1600.[85] In the extract from Cabot’s map, cut by Clement Adams, there reproduced, he changed the date of the year of the discovery from 1494 to 1497. This latter is no doubt the true date, but on what authority did Hakluyt make the change? M. D’Avezac, who contended that 1494 was the true date of the discovery, that being the date on Cabot’s map, believed that the change was the result of a typographical error.[86] That it was deliberate and that the change was not made by an error of the printer, is shown by the fact that the altered date appears both in the Latin extract and the English version of it; and that the index or general catalogue at the beginning of the third volume, in noticing the authorities for Sebastian Cabot’s voyage, gives “1497” as the year. Again, a copy of Emeric Molyneaux’s map, prepared about this time, and inserted in some copies of this volume of Hakluyt, has on the delineation of Labrador, which some suppose to have been the prima vista of Cabot, the following inscription: “This land was discovered by John and Sebastian Cabot for King Henry VII., 1497.”[87] I have already referred to the earliest use of this date as the year of the discovery, inscribed on a map of Locke in Hakluyt’s Divers Voyages of 1582. But the true source of the date is not here revealed.[88]

Clement Adams’s map is yet a mystery. I have already called attention to two editions of Cabot’s map, one of which is in the National Library at Paris, and another from[45] which the legends in Chytræus were copied. The extract from Adams’s edition, first made by Hakluyt in 1589,[89] was in Latin, but from a text quite different from that of Chytræus, or from the Paris map. It is Legend No. 8 of the inscriptions, and was the “Chapiter of Gabot’s mapp De terra nova,” as set out by Adams, which Hakluyt tells us of in his Discourse.[90] This heading is the same as that in Chytræus. Here we have two different translations from a Spanish original. Did Adams transcribe from another copy of Cabot’s map yet to be discovered—for we can hardly suppose he would make a new Latin version of the legends, with one already before him—or did he translate from a map with the Spanish legends only?—neither of which precious documents is to be found in our bureaus of cartography, and they are yet to be added to Dr. Kohl’s list of lost maps!

Following Hakluyt’s extract from Adams’s map is an English version by him, beginning thus:—

“In the year of our Lord 1494, John Cabot, a Venetian, and his son Sebastian (with an English fleet set out from Bristol), discovered that land which no man before that time had attempted, on the 24th of June, about five of o’clock early in the morning. This land he called Prima vista, that is to say, First seen, because, as I suppose, it was that part whereof they had the first sight from sea. That island which lyeth out before the land he called the Island of S. John, upon this occasion, as I think, because it was discovered upon the day of St. John the Baptist.”

It is scarcely necessary to say that the passage in parenthesis is not in the original, but is introduced by Hakluyt. But the words which I have italicized are represented in the extract by “credo” and “opinor,” and are not authorized by the language of the Paris map, nor by the same legend in Chytræus. In the concluding part of this extract, not here quoted, Hakluyt speaks of a certain kind of fish seen by the Cabots, “which the Savages call Baccalaos.” The Latin of Adams’s map and of the Paris map is vulgus, which may mean the common people of Europe, or the fishermen. In the Spanish of the Paris map, it is said that the fish are called Baccalaos, but it does not say by whom. The “white bears” of the Spanish crept into the Latin of Adams, and of course into Hakluyt’s English, as “white lions.”

An interesting discussion as to the authenticity of this map of Cabot in the Paris Library, in connection with the genuineness of the date 1494, as expressing the true year of the discovery of North America, may be seen in the letter of M. D’Avezac to President Woods, already referred to. M. D’Avezac accepts the map and the date as genuine and authentic, while Dr. Kohl rejects both. Mr. Richard Henry Major, in his paper on “The True Date of the English Discovery,” etc., ably reviews the whole question discussed by those distinguished savans, and adopts a somewhat modified view. He believes that Sebastian Cabot originally drew a map with legends or inscriptions upon it in Spanish only, but that he had no hand in publishing it, or in correcting it for the press, and that the errors in the engraved map arose from the ignorance or inadvertence of transcribers; that the date of the discovery, 1497, was expressed in Roman numerals in the manuscript; that the letter V. in the numerals VII. was carelessly drawn, and not well joined at the base, so that a reader might well take it for a II.; and that such an error might more easily occur in a manuscript, especially on parchment, than on an engraved map on paper. As evidence that the Paris map, which Dr. Kohl thinks was made in Germany or Belgium, was copied from a Spanish manuscript, Mr. Major cites the instance of the name Laguna de Nicaragua being rendered into “Laguna de Nicaxagoe.” The Spanish manuscript r being in the form of our northern x, the transcriber showed his ignorance by substituting the one letter for the other. So also as regards the copy made by Clement Adams from the Spanish original. He made an independent translation of the inscriptions into Latin, which accounts for the two Latin versions, and also made the same error for the same reason, in giving the date 1494, instead of 1497.

Mr. Major believes that Hakluyt had good reason for making the change of date from[46] 1494 to 1497 as the true date of discovery, as in the same volume in which the change was made he introduced the remarkable map of Molyneaux, referred to above, on which that date was inscribed as the year of the discovery; and furthermore that he may have consulted the papers of Cabot in the possession of William Worthington.[91]

To return again from this long digression to the volumes of Hakluyt in which he has brought together his various authorities relating to the voyages of the Cabots, one is impressed with a feeling of disappointment that he makes no attempt to reconcile their apparent glaring discrepancies,—that is to say, as to the different dates given in them to the voyage of discovery, and the variation in the different degrees of latitude reached; while no opinion is expressed as to the comparative agency of John or Sebastian Cabot, or the question as to whether there was more than one voyage,—I mean a second immediately following the first which was of discovery. In the general catalogue prefixed in 1600 to the third volume of his larger work, he refers to these several “testimonies” as proving a voyage of discovery in 1497, while in reality no one of them proves that date, bearing in mind that the date in the extract from Adams’s map was in this later reprint inserted by him on some evidence not found in his volumes,—the truth being that all these testimonies, taken as a whole, refer probably to two if not three voyages, as we have already seen.[92]

I do not forget that these volumes of Hakluyt contain other interesting documents relating to Cabot,—namely, the record of the pension granted by Edward VI., dated Jan. 6, 1548-49, of £165 13s. 6d., to date from the preceding Michaelmas Day (September 29); the Ordinances and Instructions compiled by Cabot for the intended voyage for Cathay, May 9, 1553; his appointment in the charter of the Muscovy Company, Feb. 6, 1555-56, as its governor; the story of his presence on board the “Serchthrift” at Gravesend on the 13th of April, 1556, about to sail on a voyage of discovery to the northeast, where the venerable man “entered into the dance himself.”[93]

I have already referred to a volume of Chytræus, containing the Latin legends on Sebastian Cabot’s map, which was published about this time,—the first edition in 1594, a second in 1599, and a third edition in 1606. We can hardly suppose that Hakluyt ever saw this book, at least in the earlier editions, as he could hardly have failed to incorporate the inscriptions into his larger work. The date 1494 given in the 8th Legend as the year of the discovery of the new lands, and the same date incorporated in Hakluyt’s folio of 1589 from Adams’s map, gave currency to its use to a limited extent.[94] But Hakluyt’s larger work of 1598-1600 quite superseded in use his previous books, and Chytræus was probably rarely seen or consulted; yet Mr. Biddle, who never could have seen Chytræus or Hakluyt’s folio of 1589, could never understand why later writers, like Harris and Pinkerton, adopted that date.

I did not propose, in presenting this sketch of authorities relating to the Cabots, in chronological order, to pursue the inquiry much beyond the period to which I have arrived.[47] Neither do I flatter myself that I have, in the field already traversed, embraced everything in printed form that should have been noticed, and something of value may have escaped me. In proceeding, therefore, to notice two or three important works relating to my theme published about the period now reached, I shall conclude this chapter by introducing some important material which has come to light at a later time, from the slumbering archives of foreign States, and much of it within a few years.[95]

One of the most important books relating to the history of America was published at Madrid, 1601-15, by Herrera,—Historia General. It contains nothing relating to the first voyages of the Cabots, except the passage from Gomara already cited; but it gives other interesting facts respecting Sebastian Cabot’s residence in Spain, drawn from official documents. In citing passages from this work below, I have also made use of the more recently published works of Navarrete, and even of other writers, where they relate to the same subject. In the “deceptive conversation” given in the first volume of Ramusio, Cabot[48] is made to say that the troubles in England induced him, that is, on his return from his voyage of discovery, to seek employment in Spain. But Peter Martyr informs us that Cabot did not leave England until after the death of Henry VII., which took place in 1509.[96] Herrera[97] mentions the circumstances under which the invitation from Ferdinand was given and accepted, and Cabot arrived in Spain, Sep. 13, 1512.

He was taken into service as “capitan,” with pay of fifty thousand maravedis by a royal grant made at Lagroño, Oct. 20, 1512.[98] Eden,[99] in a translation of Peter Martyr, makes that author say that Cabot had been, at the time at which Martyr was writing, 1515, appointed a member of the Council of the Indies, but it is believed that the original language of Martyr, “concurialis noster,” will not bear that interpretation.[100] In 1515 he was appointed “Cosmographo de la Casa de la Contratacion,” an office which involved the care of revising maps and charts.[101] And in that same year, Peter Martyr tells us, there was projected a voyage under the command of Cabot, to search for that “hid secret of Nature” in the northwest, to sail in the following year, 1516. But the death of King Ferdinand, on the 23d of January of that year, put an end to the expedition. In November, 1515, Cabot and Juan Vespucius gave an opinion (parecer) concerning the demarcation line in Brazil.[102] I have already spoken of the alleged voyage of Cabot and Sir Thomas Pert from England, of 1516-17, concerning which serious doubts have been expressed. Herrera makes no mention of Cabot’s leaving Spain at this time; and De Barcia, not perhaps the highest authority, in the preface to his Ensayo Chronologico, etc., Madrid, 1723, says that Cabot was residing quietly in Spain from 1512 to 1526, and that “he never intended or proposed to prosecute the proposed discovery.” On Feb. 5, 1518, he was appointed “Piloto Mayor y Examinador de Pilotos,” succeeding Juan de Solis, who had been killed on the La Plata River in 1516, with the same pay in addition to that of capitano.[103] In 1520 this appointment is again confirmed, with orders that no pilot should pass to the Indies without being first examined and approved by him.[104] On April 14, 1524, the celebrated Congress at Badajos was held, which was attended by Cabot, not as a member but as an expert; and he and several others delivered an opinion on the questions submitted, April 15, the second day of the session.[105] Immediately after the decision of the Congress, which was pronounced practically in favor of the Spanish interest, a company was formed at Seville to prosecute the trade to the Moluccas, through the Straits of Magellan, and Cabot was invited to take the command; and in September of this year he received the sanction of the Council of the Indies to engage in the enterprise, and the agreement with the Emperor was executed at Madrid on March 4, 1525, and the title of Captain-General was conferred upon him. It was intended that the expedition should depart in August, but it was delayed by the intrigues of the Portuguese, and did not sail till April 3, 1526.[106] Cabot’s expedition to the La Plata, it having been diverted on the coast from its original destination, will be considered in another volume. On Oct. 25, 1525, his wife, Catalina Medrano, was directed by a royal order to receive fifty thousand maravedis as a “gratificacion.”[107]

Cabot returned from South America to Seville with two ships at the end of July or the beginning of August, 1530, and laid his final report before the Emperor, of which an[49] abstract may be found in Herrera. Private complaints were laid against him, and at the suit of the families of some of his companions who had perished in the expedition he was arrested and imprisoned, but liberated on bail. Public charges were preferred against him for misconduct in the affairs of the La Plata, and the Council of the Indies by an order dated from Medina del Campo, Feb. 1, 1532, condemned him to a banishment of two years to Oran, in Africa. But the sentence was not carried into execution. Under the date of 1531, Herrera speaks of his wife and children.[108]

During Cabot’s absence, that is to say, on April 4, 1528, Alonzo de Chaves was appointed “Piloto Mayor,” with Ribero;[109] but the office was resumed by him not long after his return. Navarrete quotes from the Archivo de Indias a declaration made in 1574, by Juan Fernandez de Ladrillos, of Moguer, a great pilot, over seventy years old, who had sailed to America for twenty-eight years, that he was examined by Sebastian Cabot in 1535.[110] This office Cabot retained till he left Spain and returned to England.

I may as well introduce here as elsewhere a few passages from that part of the history of Oviedo recently published at Madrid, for the first time, by the Academy of History. Oviedo is very severe on Cabot for his want of knowledge and skill in his operations on the La Plata. But my citations are for another purpose. “Another great pilot (piloto mayor), Sebastian Cabot, Venetian by origin, educated in England, who at present is Piloto Mayor and Cosmographer of their Royal Majesties, etc.... I will not defend from passions ... and negligence Sebastian Cabot in the affairs of this expedition, since he is a good person and skilful in his office of cosmography, and making a map of the whole world in plane or in a spherical form; but it is not the same thing to command and govern people as to point a quadrant or an astrolabe.”[111]

Several interesting episodes in the life of Cabot during his residence in Spain have been recently made public from the Venetian archives. They may be related here.

The story of Cabot’s intrigue with the authorities of Venice is told in a remarkable and interesting letter of Gasparin Contarini, the Venetian ambassador to Charles V., dated Valladolid, Dec. 31, 1522. Cabot was at this time holding a high office under the Emperor, and was drawing large pay. It appears that he had made secret proposals to the Council of Ten through a friend of his, a certain friar, named Hieronimo de Marin, a native of Ragusa, to enter into the service of Venice, and disclose the strait or passage which he claimed to have discovered, whereby she would derive a great commercial benefit. He proposed to visit Venice and lay the whole plan before the Council. The Council of Ten, though they had but little confidence in the scheme, made all this known to their ambassador by letter, in which they enclosed a letter also for Cabot, which they had instructed the friar to write to him. Contarini sent for Cabot, who happened then to be residing at the court, and gave him his letter, which he there read with manifest embarrassment. After his fears had been quieted he told Contarini that he had previously, in England, out of the love he bore his country, spoken to the ambassadors of Venice on the subject of the newly discovered countries, through which he had the means of benefiting Venice, and that the letter had reference to that subject; but he besought the ambassador to keep the thing a secret, as it would cost him his life. Contarini told him that he was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair, but they would talk further on the subject in the evening. At the hour appointed, when they were closeted alone in the ambassador’s chamber, Cabot said:—

“My Lord Ambassador, to tell you the whole truth, I was born in Venice, but was brought up in England (Io naqui a Venetia, ma sum nutrito in Engelterra), and then entered the service of their Catholic Majesties of Spain, and King Ferdinand made me a captain, with a salary of 50,000 maravedis.[50] Subsequently his present Majesty gave me the office of Pilot Major, with an additional salary of 50,000 maravedis, and 25,000 maravedis besides, as a gratuity; forming a total of 125,000 maravedis, equal to about 300 ducats.”

He then proceeded to say that being in England some three years before, Cardinal Wolsey offered him high terms if he would sail with an armada of his on a voyage of discovery, for which preparations were making; but he declined unless the Emperor would give his consent, in which case he would accept the offer. But meeting with a Venetian who reproached him for not serving his own country instead of being engaged altogether for foreigners, his heart smote him, and he wrote the Emperor to recall him, which he did. And on his return to Seville, and contracting an intimate friendship with this Ragusan friar, he unbosomed himself to him; and, as the friar was going to Venice, charged him with the aforesaid message to the Council of the Ten, and to no one else; and the Ragusan “swore to me a sacred oath to this effect.” Cabot then said he would go to Venice, and lay the matter before the Council, after getting the Emperor’s consent to go, “on the plea of recovering his mother’s dowry.” The ambassador approved of this, but made some serious objections to the feasibility of the scheme which Cabot proposed for the benefit of Venice. Cabot answered his objections. In the course of the conversation he told Contarini that he had a method for ascertaining by the needle the distance between two places from east to west, which had never been previously discovered by any one. The interview was concluded by his promising to go to Venice at his own expense, and return in like manner if his plan was disapproved by the Council. He then urged Contarini to keep the matter secret.

On the following 7th of March the ambassador again wrote to the Chiefs of the Ten, saying that Cabot had been several times to see him, and that he was disposed to come to Venice to carry his purpose into effect, but that he did not then dare ask leave for fear he might be suspected of going to England, and he must wait three months longer; and that Cabot desired the Council to write him a letter urging him to come to Venice for the dispatch of his affairs (meaning his private business). On the 28th of April the Council, in the name of the Ragusan friar, wrote to Cabot what had been done to discover where his property was; that there was good hope of recovering the dower of his mother and aunt, and that had he been present no doubt the object would have been attained before. He is therefore urged to come at once, “for your aunt is very old.” The Council say they have caused this letter to be written “touching his private affairs, in order that it may appear necessary for him to quit Spain.” On the 26th of July, Contarini again writes that Cabot, who had been residing at Seville, had come to Valladolid on his way to Venice, and was endeavoring to get leave of the Imperial Councillors to go, and that the Signory would be informed of the result of the application. Probably he never went. The next mention of him in the Venetian correspondence, during his residence in Spain, is under the date of September 21, 1525,—that Sebastian Cabot is captain of the fleet preparing for the Indies.[112]

Cabot still kept up his intrigues with Venice, even after his return to England. On the 12th of September, 1551, the Council of Ten write to their ambassador in England, telling him to assure Cabot that they are gratified by his offer, and that they will do all they can about the recovery of his property there, but that it is necessary that he should come personally to Venice, as no one there knows him; that the matters concerned are over fifty years old, and by the death of men, decay of houses, and perishing of writings, as well as by his own absence, no assured knowledge can be arrived at. He should therefore come at once. Ramusio, the Secretary of the Council, had been put in trust by Cabot of all[51] such evidences as should come to hand regarding Cabot’s business, and he would use all diligence towards establishing his rights. In the mean time the ambassador is to learn from him all he can about this navigation.

Whether this talk about Cabot’s property in Venice, the dowry from his mother and his aged aunt, was all fictitious, perhaps never can be known. That these alleged facts were used as a pretext or “blind” in this correspondence, was on both sides avowed.[113]

It has been already mentioned, that, after Cabot’s return to England, and his entry into the service of Edward VI.,—a warrant for his transportation hither from Spain having passed the Privy Council on the 9th of Oct. 1547,—the King, on the 6th of January, 1548/9, granted him a pension for life of £166 13s. 4d., “in consideration of good and acceptable service done and to be done by him.” But in the following year a little contretemps occurred between Cabot and the Emperor Charles V. Through the Spanish ambassador, Jan. 19, 1549/50, Charles had demanded the return of Cabot to Spain, saying that he was the “Grand Pilot of the Emperor’s Indies, ... a very necessary man for the Emperor, whose servant he was, and had a pension of him.” The Council replied that Cabot was not detained by them, but that he had refused to go, saying that being the King’s subject there was no reason why he should be compelled to go. The ambassador insisted that Cabot should declare his mind to him personally; and an interview was held, at which Cabot made a declaration to the same import, but said he was willing to write to the Emperor, having good-will towards him, concerning some matters important for the Emperor to know. He was then asked if he would return to Spain if the King of England and the Council should demand of him to go; to which Cabot made an equivocal answer, but which the Council, to whom a report of the conversation was made by a third person present, interpreted to mean that he would not go, as he had divers times before declared to them.[114]

In March, 1551, Sebastian Cabot received from the King a special reward of £200. On the 9th of September, 1553, soon after the accession of Philip and Mary, the Emperor, Charles V., again made an earnest request that Cabot should return to Spain. But he declined to go. On the 27th of November, 1555, Cabot’s pension was renewed to him. Edward VI. having died two years previous, the former grant had probably expired with him. On the 27th of May, 1557, Cabot resigned his pension, and on the 29th a new grant was made to him and to William Worthington, jointly, of the same amount, so that Cabot was bereft of half his pay.[115] Cabot died not long afterwards, the precise date, however, not being known.

Mr. Biddle was strongly impressed with the belief that Cabot suffered great neglect and injustice in his last days from Philip, through the jealousy of Spain of the growing commerce and maritime enterprise of England, stimulated by one who had left his father’s service and refused to return, and “who was now imparting to others the benefit of his vast experience and accumulated stores of knowledge.” And he believed that William Worthington, who was associated with Cabot in the last grant to him of his pension, was a creature of Spain, who finally got possession of Cabot’s papers, and confiscated them beyond the reach of the students and statesmen of England.

I will now call attention to some documents recently made public, principally derived from the archives of Venice and of Spain, which reveal John Cabot again to our view and show him to have been the real discoverer of North America.[116]


John Cabot, or in the Venetian dialect, Zuan Caboto, was probably born in Genoa or its neighborhood, and came to Venice as early as 1461. He there married a daughter of the country, by whom he had three sons. On the 28th of March, 1476, by the unanimous consent of the Senate, he obtained his naturalization as a citizen of Venice,[117] “within and without,” having resided there fifteen years.[118] He engaged in the study of cosmography and the practice of navigation, and at one time visited Mecca, where the caravans brought in the spices from distant lands. He subsequently left Venice with his family for England and took up his residence in Bristol, then one of the principal maritime cities of that country. Sebastian is reported as saying that his father went to England to follow the trade of merchandise. When this removal took place is uncertain. Peter Martyr says that Sebastian, the second son, at the time was a little child (pene infans), while Sebastian himself says, if correctly reported, that he was very young (che egli era assai giouare), yet that he had some knowledge of the humanities and of the sphere. He therefore must have arrived at some maturity of years.[119] Eden[120] says that Sebastian told him that he was born in Bristol, and was taken to Venice when he was four years old, and brought back again after certain years. He told Contarini, at a most solemn interview, that he was born in Venice and bred (nutrito) in England, which is probably true. It is reasonable to suppose that the three sons were of age when the letters patent were granted to them and their father in March, 1496, in which case Sebastian, being the second son, must have been born as early as 1473, or three years before his father took out his papers of naturalization in Venice.[121]

In a letter from Ferdinand and Isabella to Doctor de Puebla, in London, dated March 28, 1496, they say, after acknowledging his letter of the 21st of January: “You write that a person like Columbus has come to England for the purpose of persuading the King to enter into an undertaking similar to that of the Indies, without prejudice to Spain and Portugal. He is quite at liberty.” But Puebla is further charged to see that the King of England, who they think has had this temptation laid before him by the King of France, is not deceived in this matter, for that these undertakings cannot be executed without prejudice to Spain and Portugal.[122]


A reasonable inference from this would be, that John Cabot had arrived in England not long before the date of Puebla’s letter to their Majesties, to lay his proposals before Henry VII., as Columbus had done some years before through his brother, and not that he had been a long resident in the country. The letters patent had already been issued, that is to say, on the 5th of March.[123] This letter from Spain may have caused some delay in the sailing of the expedition, which did not depart till the following year. But some time was necessary to beat up recruits for the voyage, and to enlist the aid of the substantial citizens of Bristol in the undertaking. John Cabot, accompanied perhaps by his son Sebastian, finally sailed in the early part of May, 1497, with one small vessel and eighteen persons, “almost all Englishmen and from Bristol,” says Raimondo; who adds, “The chief men of the enterprise are of Bristol, great sailors.” A few foreigners were included in the company, as we learn from the same authority that a Burgundian and a Genoese accompanied them. The name of the vessel is said to have been the “Matthew.” Mr. Barrett[124] says: “In the year 1497, June 24th, on St. John’s day, as it is in a manuscript in my possession, ‘was Newfoundland found by Bristol men in a ship called the Matthew.’” How much of this paragraph was in the manuscript is not clear. The first part of it was evidently taken from Hakluyt. And we are not told whether the manuscript was ancient or modern. It cannot now be found.[125]

John Cabot returned in the early part of August. The following well-known memorandum, from the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VII., “August 10, 1497: To him who found the New Isle, 10l.,” is supposed to refer to him.[126]

Additional evidence concerning the voyage will now be given. The following is a letter from Lorenzo Pasqualigo, a merchant residing in London, to his brothers in Venice, dated August 23d, 1497, which I have somewhat abridged:—

“The Venetian, our countryman, who went with a ship from Bristol, is returned, and says that 700 leagues hence he discovered land in the territory of the Grand Cham. He coasted 300 leagues and landed, saw no human beings, but brought to the king certain snares set to catch game, and a needle for making nets. Was three months on the voyage. The king has promised that in the spring our countryman shall have ten ships. The king has also given him money wherewith to amuse himself till then, and he is now in Bristol with his wife, who is also a Venetian, and with his sons. His name is Zuan Cabot, and he is styled the great Admiral. Vast honor is paid him. The discoverer planted on his new-found land a large cross, with one flag of England and one of St. Mark, by reason of his being a Venetian.... London, 23d of August, 1497.”[127]

On the following day, August 24, 1497, Raimondo de Soncino, envoy of the Duke of Milan to Henry VII., wrote the following passage in a long dispatch to his Government:

“Also, some months ago, his Majesty sent out a Venetian who is a very good mariner, and has good skill in discovering new islands, and he has returned safe, and has found two very large and[54] fertile new islands, having likewise discovered The Seven Cities, four hundred leagues from England in the western passage. This next spring his Majesty means to send him with fifteen or twenty ships.”[128]

In the following December, Raimondo de Soncino wrote another letter from London, making more particular mention of John Cabot’s discovery, and of the intention of the King to authorize another expedition. This letter, from the State Archives of Milan, was first published in the Annuario Scientifico, in 1865,[129] and is now published in English for the first time. There is some obscurity in the letter in a few places, in naming the direction in which the vessel sailed, as the east when the west was evidently intended. Whether this was a clerical error, or whether by the term “the east” was meant “the land of the spices” to which the expedition was bound, and which in the language of the day lay to the east, is uncertain. Neither is the geographical object named as “Tanais” recognized. This letter throws no light on the Landfall. I am indebted to Professor Bennet H. Nash, of Harvard College, for revising the translation of this letter.

Most Illustrious and Excellent My Lord:—

Perhaps among your Excellency’s many occupations, it may not displease you to learn how his Majesty here has won a part of Asia without a stroke of the sword. There is in this kingdom a Venetian fellow, Master John Caboto by name, of a fine mind, greatly skilled in navigation, who seeing that those most serene kings, first he of Portugal, and then the one of Spain, have occupied unknown islands, determined to make a like acquisition for his Majesty aforesaid. And having obtained royal grants that he should have the usufruct of all that he should discover, provided that the ownership of the same is reserved to the crown, with a small ship and eighteen persons he committed himself to fortune; and having set out from Bristol, a western port of this kingdom, and passed the western limits of Hibernia, and then standing to the northward he began to steer eastward, leaving (after a few days) the North Star on his right hand; and, having wandered about considerably, at last he fell in with terra firma, where, having planted the royal banner and taken possession on behalf of this King, and taken certain tokens, he has returned thence. The said Master John, as being foreign-born and poor, would not be believed if his comrades, who are almost all Englishmen and from Bristol, did not testify that what he says is true. This Master John has the description of the world in a chart, and also in a solid globe which he has made, and he [or the chart and the globe] shows where he landed, and that going toward the east he passed considerably beyond the country of the Tanais. And they say that it is a very good and temperate country, and they think that Brazil-wood and silks grow there; and they affirm that that sea is covered with fishes, which are caught not only with the net but with baskets, a stone being tied to them in order that the baskets may sink in the water. And this I heard the said Master John relate, and the aforesaid Englishmen, his comrades, say that they will bring so many fishes that this kingdom will no longer have need of Iceland, from which country there comes a very great store of fish which are called stock-fish. But Master John has set his mind on something greater; for he expects to go farther on toward the East (Levant,) from that place already occupied, constantly hugging the shore, until he shall be over against [or “on the other side of”] an island, by him called Cipango, situated in the equinoctial region, where he thinks all the spices of the world, and also the precious stones, originate; and he says that in former times he was at Mecca, whither spices are brought by caravans from distant countries, and that those who brought them, on being asked where the said spices grow, answered that they do not know, but that other caravans come to their homes with this merchandise from distant countries, and these [caravans] again say that they are brought to them from other remote regions. And he argues thus,—that if the Orientals[55] affirmed to the Southerners that these things come from a distance from them, and so from hand to hand, presupposing the rotundity of the earth, it must be that the last ones get them at the North toward the West; and he said it in such a way, that, having nothing to gain or lose by it, I too believe it: and what is more, the King here, who is wise and not lavish, likewise puts some faith in him; for (ever) since his return he has made good provision for him, as the same Master John tells me. And it is said that, in the spring, his Majesty afore-named will fit out some ships, and will besides give him all the convicts, and they will go to that country to make a colony, by means of which they hope to establish in London a greater storehouse of spices than there is in Alexandria; and the chief men of the enterprise are of Bristol, great sailors, who, now that they know where to go, say that it is not a voyage of more than fifteen days, nor do they ever have storms after they get away from Hibernia. I have also talked with a Burgundian, a comrade of Master John’s, who confirms everything, and wishes to return thither because the Admiral (for so Master John already entitles himself) has given him an island; and he has given another one to a barber of his from Castiglione-of-Genoa, and both of them regard themselves as Counts, nor does my Lord the Admiral esteem himself anything less than a Prince. I think that with this expedition there will go several poor Italian monks, who have all been promised bishoprics. And, as I have become a friend of the Admiral’s, if I wished to go thither I should get an archbishopric. But I have thought that the benefices which your Excellency has in store for me are a surer thing; and therefore I beg that if these should fall vacant in my absence, you will cause possession to be given to me, taking measures to do this rather [especially] where it is needed, in order that they be not taken from me by others, who because they are present can be more diligent than I, who in this country have been brought to the pass of eating ten or twelve dishes at every meal, and sitting at table three hours at a time twice a day, for the sake of your Excellency, to whom I humbly commend myself.

Your Excellency’s

Very humble servant,


London, Dec. 18, 1497.

These letters are sufficient to show that North America was discovered by John Cabot, the name of Sebastian being nowhere mentioned in them, and that the discovery was made in 1497. The place which he first sighted is given on the map of 1544 as the north part of Cape Breton Island, on which is inscribed “prima tierra vista,” which was reached, according to the Legend, on the 24th of June. Pasqualigo, the only one who mentions it, says he coasted three hundred leagues. Mr. Brevoort, who accepts the statement, thinks he made the periplus of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, passing out at the straits of Belle Isle, and thence home.[130] He saw no human beings, so that the story of men dressed in bear-skins and otherwise described in the Legend must have been seen by Sebastian Cabot on a later voyage. The extensive sailing up and down the coast described by chroniclers from conversations with Sebastian Cabot many years afterwards, though apparently told as occurring on the voyage of discovery,—as only one voyage is ever mentioned,—must have taken place on a later voyage. There was no time between the 24th of June and[56] the 1st of August for any very extensive explorations. Indeed, John Cabot intimated to Raimondo that he intended on the next voyage to start from the place he had already found, and run down the coast towards the equinoctial regions, where he expected to find the island of Cipango and the country of jewels and spices. No doubt he was anxious to return and report his discovery thus far, and provide “for greater things.” The plea of a shortness of provisions may have covered another motive. The great abundance of fish reported might have supplied any immediate want.


[This map, at no. 5, places the Breton discovery at the Cabot landfall. The original is dated by Kohl (Discovery of Maine, 179) in 1520; and by Kunstmann in 1514. Stevens, Hist. and Geog. Notes, pl. v., copies Kunstmann. The points and inscriptions on it are as follows:—

1. Do Lavrador (Labrador). Terram istam portugalenses viderunt atamen non intraverunt. (The Portuguese saw this country, but did not enter it.)

2. Bacaluaos (east coast of Newfoundland).

3. (Straits of Belle Isle.)

4. (South entrance to Gulf of St. Lawrence.)

5. Tera que foij descuberta por bertomas. (Land discovered by the Bretons.)

6. Teram istam gaspar Corte Regalis portugalemsis primo invenit, etc. (Nova Scotia. Gaspar Cortereal first discovered this country, and he took away wild men and white bears; and many animals, birds and fish are in it. The next year he was shipwrecked and did not return, and so was his brother Michael the following year.) The voyages of the Cortereals will be described in Vol. IV.—Ed.]

John Cabot was now in high favor with the King, who supplied him with money, by which he was able to make a fine appearance. Indeed, the King granted him under the great seal, during the royal pleasure, a pension of twenty pounds sterling per annum, having the purchasing value of two hundred pounds at the present time; to date from the preceding 25th of March. The grant was a charge upon the customs of the port of Bristol. The document authorizing this grant we are able to present here for the first time in print. The order from the King is dated the 13th of December, 1497, and it passed the seals the 28th of January, 1498:[131]

“Memorandum quod xxviii. die Januarii anno subscripto istæ litteræ liberatæ fuerunt domino Cancellario Angliæ apud Westmonasterium exequendæ:—

“Henry, by the Grace of God King of England and of France and Lord of Ireland, to the most reverend father in God, John Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and of the apostolic see legate, our Chancellor, greeting:—

“We let you wit that we for certain considerations, us specially moving, have given and granted unto our well-beloved John Calbot, of the parts of Venice, an annuity or annual rent of twenty pounds sterling to be had and yearly paid from the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady last past, during our pleasure, of our customs and subsidies coming and growing in our port of Bristowe by the hands of our customs there for the time being at Michaelmas and Easter, by even portions. Wherefore we will and charge you that under our great seal ye do make hereupon our letters patents in good and effectual form. Given under our privy seal, at our palace of Westminster, the xiiith day of December, the xiiith year of our reign.”


Preparations were now made for a second voyage, and a license to John Cabot alone, as we have already seen, was issued by the King, for leave to take up six ships and to enlist as many of the King’s subjects as were willing to go. This was evidently a scheme of colonization. Peter Martyr says, if this is the voyage which he is describing, that Sebastian Cabot—for he never speaks of John—furnished two ships at his own charge, and Sebastian Cabot, in Ramusio, says that the King furnished them, and the Bristol merchants are supposed to have furnished three others; and they took out three hundred men.[132] The Fabian manuscript quoted by Hakluyt says they sailed in the beginning of May; and De Ayala says they were expected back by September. There is no doubt that Sebastian Cabot accompanied his father on this voyage. From the documents already cited from Peter Martyr and Ramusio there is some reason to believe that the expedition coasted some distance to the north, and then returning ran down the coast as far as to the 36° N. without accomplishing the purpose for which they went. That this latter course was pursued receives some confirmation from the declarations of John Cabot on his return from the first voyage, that he believed it practicable to reach in that direction the Island of Cipango and the land of the spices. But the prospects were discouraging and their provisions failed. Gomara, in noticing this voyage, says that on their return from the north they stopped at Baccalaos for refreshment. But all the accounts relied on for this voyage are vague and, as we have already seen, unsatisfying.

The following letter from the Prothonotary, Don Pedro de Ayala, residing in London, to Ferdinand and Isabella, dated July 25, 1498, relates to the sailing of this expedition:

“I think your Majesties have already heard that the King of England has equipped a fleet in order to discover certain islands and continents which he was informed some people from Bristol, who manned a few ships for the same purpose last year, had found. I have seen the map which the discoverer has made, who is another Genoese like Columbus, and who has been in Seville and in Lisbon asking assistance for his discoveries. The people of Bristol have, for the last seven years, sent out every year two, three, or four light ships in search of the Island of Brazil and the Seven Cities, according to the fancy of this Genoese. The King determined to send out ships, because the year before they brought certain news that they had found land. His fleet consisted of five vessels, which carried provisions for one year. It is said that one of them, in which Friar Buel went, has returned to Ireland in great distress, the ship being much damaged. The Genoese has continued his voyage. I have seen on a chart the direction which they took and the distance they sailed; and I think that what they have found, or what they are in search of, is what your Highnesses already possess. It is expected that they will be back in the month of September.... I think it is not further distant than 400 leagues.... I do not now send the chart, or mapa mundi, which that man has made, and which, according to my opinion, is false, since it makes it appear as if the land in question was not the said islands.”[133]

We see by this letter that this “Genoese,” who had discovered land the year before, had again sailed on the expedition here described. If so important a person as John Cabot now was to the King had died before its departure, the fact would have been known at court, and De Ayala would surely have mentioned it, as the Spaniards were very jealous of all these proceedings. The statement that the King had equipped the fleet may only mean that the expedition was fitted and sent out under his countenance and protection. De Ayala says it was expected back in September, but it had not returned by the last of October. No one knows when the expedition returned, and no one knows what became[58] of John Cabot. When the domestic calendars of the reign of Henry VII. are published, some clew to him may turn up. In the mean time we must wait patiently.

The enterprise was regarded as a failure, and no doubt the Bristol and London adventurers suffered a pecuniary loss. All schemes of Western discovery and colonization were for years substantially abandoned by England. Some feeble attempts in this direction appear to have been made in 1501 and 1502, when patents for discovery were granted by Henry in favor of some merchants of Bristol, with whom were associated several Portuguese, but it is not certain that anything was done under their authority.[134]

NOTE.—Henri Harrisse’s Jean et Sébastien Cabot, leur origine et leurs voyages, has been published since this chapter was completed.





Massachusetts Historical Society.

THE English voyagers had no mind to content themselves with adventure in those more rugged regions to which the Cabots had introduced them. Whether in peace or war, their relations with Spain were growing closer and closer all through the sixteenth century. Sebastian Cabot, in fact, soon passed into the service of the Spanish Crown. Indeed, if we had no other memorial of the intimacy between English and Spanish navigators, we could still trace it in our language, which has derived many of its maritime words from Spanish originals. The seamen of England found their way everywhere, and soon acquainted themselves with the coasts of the West India Islands and the Spanish main. There exists, indeed, in the English archives a letter written as early as 1518 by the Treasurer-General of the West Indies to Queen Katherine, the unhappy wife of Henry VIII., in which he describes to her the peculiarities of his island home. He sends to her a cloak of feathers such as were worn by native princesses. From that time forward, allusions to the new discoveries appear in English literature and in the history of English trade.[135] Still, it would be fair to say, that, for thirty years after the discovery of America, that continent attracted as little attention in England as the discovery of the Antarctic continent, forty years ago, has attracted in America up to this time.

It belongs to another chapter to trace the gradual steps by which the English fisheries developed England’s knowledge of America. The instincts of trade led men farther south, in a series of voyages which will be briefly traced in this chapter. One of the earliest of them, which may be taken as typical, is that of William Hawkins, of Plymouth. Not content with the short voyages commonly made to the known coasts of Europe, Hawkins “armed out a tall and goodly ship of his own,” in which he made three voyages to Brazil, and skirted, after the fashion of the time, the African coast. He carried thither negroes whom he had taken on the[60] coast of Guinea. He deserves the credit, therefore, such as it is, of beginning that African slave-trade in which England was engaged for nearly three centuries.

The second of these voyages seems to have been made as early as 1530. He brought to England, from the coast of Brazil, a savage king, whose ornaments, apparel, behavior, and gestures were very strange to the English king and his nobility. These three voyages were so successful, that a number of Southampton merchants followed them up, at least as late as 1540.

It was, however, William Hawkins’s son John who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his success in the slave-trade, and in acknowledgment of the wealth which his voyages brought into England. Engaging several of his friends, some of whom were noblemen, in the adventure, John Hawkins sailed with a fleet of three ships and one hundred men for the coast of Guinea, in October, 1562. He took—partly by the sword, and partly by other means—three hundred or more negroes, whom he carried to San Domingo, then called Hispaniola, and sold profitably. In his own ships he brought home hides, ginger, sugar, and some pearls. He sent two other ships with hides and other commodities to Spain. These were seized by the Spanish Government, and it is curious that Hawkins should not have known that they would be. His ignorance seems to show that his adventure was substantially a novelty in that time. He himself arrived in England again in September, 1563. Notwithstanding the loss of half his profits in Spain, the voyage brought much gain to himself and the other adventurers.

Thus encouraged, Hawkins sailed again, the next year, with four ships, of which the largest was the “Jesus,” of Lubec, of seven hundred tons; the smallest was the “Swallow,” of only thirty tons. He had a hundred and seventy men; and, as in all such voyages, the ships were armed. Passing down the coast of Guinea, they spent December and January in picking up their wretched freight, and lost by sickness and in fights with the negroes many of their men. On the 29th of January, 1565, they had taken in their living cargo, and then they crossed to the West Indies. On the voyage they were becalmed for twenty-one days. But they arrived at the Island of Dominica, then in possession of savages, on the 9th of March. From that period till the 31st of May, they were trading on the Spanish coasts, and then returned to England, touching at various points in the West Indies. They passed along the whole coast of Florida, and they are the first Englishmen who give us in detail any account of Florida.[136]


It was Hawkins’s great good fortune to come to the relief of the struggling colony of Laudonnière, then in the second year of its wretched history. From his narrative we learn that the settlers had made twenty hogsheads of wine in a single summer from the native grapes, which is perhaps more than has been done there since in the same period of time.[137] The wretched colonists owed everything to the kindness of Hawkins. He left them a vessel in which to return to France; and they had made all their preparations so to do, when they were relieved—for their ultimate destruction, as it proved—by the arrival of a squadron under Ribault.[138] Hawkins returned to England after a voyage sufficiently prosperous, which had lasted eleven months. He had lost twenty persons in all; but he had brought home gold, silver, pearls, and other jewels in great store.

[This cut follows a photograph of the bas-relief which is given in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of the Hawkins Voyages. Another engraving of it is given in Harper’s Magazine, January, 1883, p. 221.—Ed.]

His account of Florida is much more careful than what he gives of any of the West India Islands. From his own words it is clear that he[62] thought it might be of use to England, and that he wanted to draw attention to it as a place open to colonization. Like so many other explorers, from Ponce de Leon down to our own times, he was surprised that a country, which is so attractive to the eye, should be left so nearly without inhabitants. It seems to have been more densely peopled when Ponce de Leon landed there in 1513 than it was at the beginning of this century. To such interest or enthusiasm of Hawkins do we owe an account of Florida, in its native condition, more full than we have of any other of our States, excepting New Mexico, at a period so early in our history.

Besides tobacco, he specifies the abundance of sorrel,—which grew as abundantly as grass,—of maize, of mill, and of grapes, which “taste much like our English grapes.” He describes the community building of the southern tribes, as made “like a great barne, in strength not inferiour to ours,” with stanchions and rafters of whole trees, and covered with palmetto leaves. There was one small room for the king and queen, but no other subdivisions. In the midst of the great hall a fire was kept all night. The houses, indeed, were only used at night.

In a country of such a climate and soil, with “marvellous store of deer and divers other beasts, and fowl and fish sufficient,” Hawkins naturally thought that “a man might live,” as he says quaintly. Maize, he says, “maketh good savory bread, and cakes as fine as flower.” The first account to be found in English literature of the “hasty pudding” of the American larder, the “mush” of the Pennsylvanians,[139] is in Hawkins’s narrative. “It maketh good meal, beaten, and sodden with water, and eateth like pap wherewith we feed children.” The Frenchmen, fond by nature of soup, had made another use of it, not wholly forgotten at this day. “It maketh also good beverage, sodden in water and nourishable; which the Frenchmen did use to drink of in the morning, and it assuaged their thirst so that they had no need to drink all the day after.” It was, he says, because the French had been too lazy to plant maize for themselves that their colony came to such wretched destitution. To obtain maize, they had made war against the so-called savages who had raised it, and this aggression had naturally reacted against them.

It is interesting to observe that in all these early narratives of the slave-trade there is no intimation that it involved cruelty or any form of wrong. Hawkins sailed in the ship “Jesus,” with faith as sincere as if he had sailed on a crusade. His sailing orders to his four ships close with words which remind one of Cromwell: “Serve God daily; love one another; preserve your victuals; beware of fire; and keep good company.” By “serve God,” it is meant that the ship’s company shall join in religious services morning and evening; and this these slave-traders regularly did. In one of their incursions on the Guinea coast they were almost destroyed by the[63] native negroes, as they well deserved to be. Hawkins narrates the adventure with this comment: “God, who worketh all things for the best, would not have it so, and by him we escaped without danger. His name be praised for it!” And again, when they were nearly starved, becalmed in mid-ocean: “Almighty God, who never suffereth his elect to perish, sent us the ordinary breeze.”[140]

The success of the second voyage was such that a coat-of-arms was granted to Hawkins. Translated from the jargon of heraldry, the grant means that he might bear on his black shield a golden lion walking over the waves. Above the lion were three golden coins. For a crest he was to have a figure of half a Moor, “bound, and a captive,” with golden amulets on his arms and ears. No disgrace attached to the capturing of Africans and selling them for money. That the Heralds’ Office might give to the transaction the sanctions of Christianity, it directed Hawkins, five years after, to add in one corner of the shield the pilgrim’s scallop-shell in gold, between two palmer’s staves, as if to intimate that the African slave-trade was the true crusade of the reign of Elizabeth.

So successful was this expedition, that Hawkins started on a third, with five ships, in October, 1567. He commanded his old ship, the “Jesus,” and Francis Drake, afterward so celebrated, commanded the “Judith,” a little vessel of fifty tons. They took four or five hundred negroes, and crossed to Dominica again, but were more than seven weeks on the passage. As before, they passed along the Spanish main, where they found the Spaniards had been cautioned against them. They absolutely stormed the town of Rio de la Hacha before they could obtain permission to trade. In all cases, although the Spanish officers had been instructed to oppose their trade, they found that negroes were so much in demand that the planters dealt with them eagerly. After a repulse at Cartagena, they crossed the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida, but were finally compelled, by two severe tempests, to run to San Juan d’ Ulua, the port of Mexico, for repairs and supplies. Here they claimed the privileges of allies of King Philip, and were at first well enough received. Hawkins takes to himself credit that he did not seize twelve ships which he found there, with, £200,000 of silver on board. The local officers sent to the City of Mexico, about two hundred miles inland, for instructions. The next day a fleet from Spain, of twelve ships, arrived in the offing. Hawkins, fearing the anger of his Queen, he says, let them come into harbor, having made a compact with the Government[64] that neither side should make war against the other. The fleet entered, and for three days all was amity and courtesy. But on the fourth day, from the shore and from the ships, the five English vessels were attacked furiously, and in that little harbor a naval action ensued, of which the result was the flight of the “Minion” and the “Judith” alone, and the capture or destruction of the other English vessels. So crowded was the “Minion,” that a hundred of the fugitives preferred to land, rather than to tempt the perils of the sea in her. They fell into the hands of the Inquisition, and their sufferings were horrible. The others, after a long and stormy passage, arrived in England on the 25th of January, 1568/69.

It is a real misfortune for our early history that no reliance can be placed on the fragmentary stories of the few survivors who were left by Hawkins on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. One or two there were who, after years of captivity, told their wretched story at home. But it is so disfigured by every form of lie, that the most ingenious reconstructer of history fails to distil from it even a drop of the truth. The routes which they pursued cannot be traced, the etymology of geography gains nothing from their nomenclature, and, in a word, the whole story has to be consigned to the realm of fable.[141] Such a narrative as these men might have told would be our best guide for what has been well called by Mr. Haven “the mythical century” of American history.

In this voyage of Hawkins the Earls of Pembroke and of Leicester were among the adventurers.

If Hawkins’s account of the perfidy of the Spaniards at San Juan d’Ulua be true,—and it has never been contradicted,—the Spanish Crown that day brought down a storm of misery and rapine from which it never fairly recovered. The accursed doctrine of the Inquisition, that no faith was to be kept with heretics, proved a dangerous doctrine for Spain when the heretics were such men as Hawkins, Cavendish, and Drake. On that day Francis Drake learned his lesson of Spanish treachery; and he learned it so well that he determined on his revenge. That revenge he took so thoroughly, that for more than a hundred years he is spoken of in all Spanish annals as “The Dragon.”[142]

Hawkins gives no account of Drake’s special service in the “Judith,”—the smallest vessel in the unfortunate squadron, and one of the two which returned to England; nor has Drake himself left any which has been discovered; nor have his biographers. Clearly his ill-fortune did not check his eagerness for attack; and from that time forward Spain had at least one determined enemy in England.

He had made two voyages to the West Indies in 1570 and in 1571, of which little is known. For a fifth voyage, which he calls the third of importance,[65] he fitted out a little squadron of only two vessels, the “Pasha” and the “Swan,” and sailed in 1572, with no pretence of trade, simply to attack and ravage the Spanish main. He specially assigns as his motive for this enterprise his desire to inflict vengeance for injuries done him at Rio de Hacha in 1565 and in 1566, and, in particular, that he might retaliate on Henriques, Viceroy of Mexico, for his treachery at San Juan d’ Ulua. It seems that he had vainly sought amends at the Court of Spain, and that the Queen’s diplomacy had been equally ineffective. The little squadron, enlarged by a third vessel which joined them after sailing, attacked Nombre de Dios, then the granary of the West Indies, but with small success. They then insulted the port of Cartagena, and afterward, having made an alliance with the Cimaronnes, since and now known as Maroons,—a tribe of savages and self-freed Africans,—they marched across the isthmus, and Drake obtained his first sight of that Pacific Ocean which he was afterward to explore. “Vehemently transported with desire to navigate that sea, he fell upon his knees and implored the divine assistance that he might at some time sail thither and make a perfect discovery of the same.” The place from which Drake saw it was probably near the spot where Balboa “thanked God for that great discovery,” and that he had been first of Christian men to behold that sea. His discovery was made in 1513, sixty years before Drake renewed it.[143]

The narrative which we cite is in the words of the historian Camden. Camden tells us also that Drake had “gotten together a pretty sum of money” in this expedition, and, satisfied for the moment, he remained in England. He engaged himself in assisting, at sea, in the reduction of Ireland. But he had by no means done with the Spaniards, and at the end of 1577, sailing on the 15th of November, he left Plymouth on the celebrated voyage in which he was to sail round the world. The squadron consisted of the “Pelican,” of one hundred tons, the “Elizabeth,” of eighty, the “Swan,” of fifty, and the “Marigold” and “Christopher,” of thirty and of fifteen tons. Of these vessels the “Pelican” was the only one which completed the great adventure. Her armament was twenty guns of brass and iron. She had others in her hold. So well had Drake profited by earlier expeditions, that his equipment was complete, and even luxurious. He carried pinnaces in parts, to be put together when needed. He had “expert musicians, rich furniture, all the vessels for the table, yea, many even of the cook-room, being of pure silver.” In every detail he was prepared to show the magnificence and the civilization of his own country.

The crew were shipped and the expedition sailed, with the pretence of a[66] voyage to Egypt. This was to blind the Spanish envoys, in concealment of the real object of the expedition, as similar expeditions since have been veiled. But it is clear enough that the partners in the enterprise and the men they shipped knew very well whither they were faring.

After one rebuff, the fleet finally left England on the 13th of December, 1577, and, with occasional pauses to refit at the Cape de Verde and at different points not frequented by the Portuguese or Spaniards on the Brazilian coast and the coast south of Brazil, they arrived at Port St. Julian on the 19th of June, in the beginning of the southern winter. Here they spent two months, not sailing again until the 17th of August, when they essayed the passage of the Straits of Magellan. While at Port St. Julian Drake found, or professed to find, evidences of the treachery of Doughty, one of the gentlemen in whom at first he had most confided. Doughty was tried before a jury of twelve, found guilty, and beheaded. They all remembered that Magellan had had a similar experience in the same harbor fifty-seven years before. Indeed they found the gibbet on which, as they supposed, John of Cartagena had been hanged by Magellan, with his mouldering bones below. The Spaniards said that Drake himself acted as Doughty’s executioner. Fletcher says, “he who acted in the room of provost marshal.” It is hard to see how the Spaniards should know.

After a series of stormy adventures, they found themselves safe in the Pacific on the 28th of October. After really passing the straits, they had been driven far south by tempests, and on the extreme point of Tierra del Fuego Drake had landed. On a grassy point he fell upon the ground at length, and extended his arms as widely as possible, as if to grasp the southern end of the hemisphere,—in memory, perhaps, of Cæsar’s taking possession of England. The “Pelican” was the only vessel now under his command. The others had either been lost or had deserted him; and though he sought for his consorts all the way on his voyage northward, he sought in vain.

From Drake’s own pen we have no narrative of this remarkable voyage. His chaplain, Fletcher,[144] gives a good account of Patagonia and of the natives, from the observations made in Port St. Julian and in their after experiences as they passed the straits. The Englishmen corrected at once the Spanish fable regarding the marvellous height of these men. They corrected errors which they supposed the Spaniards had intentionally published in the charts. It is supposed that Drake sighted the Falkland Islands, which had been discovered by Davis a few years before. Drake gave the name of Elizabeth Islands, or the Elizabethides, to the whole group of Tierra del Fuego and its neighbors.

In their voyage north they touched for supplies at a great island, which the Spaniards called Mucho; and afterward at Valparaiso, where they plundered a great ship called the “Captain of the South,” which they found at anchor there. Fletcher describes all such plunder with a clumsy raillery,[67] as if a Spaniard’s plunder were always fair game. To Drake it was indeed repayment for San Juan d’ Ulua. Farther north, they entered the bay of “Cyppo;” and in another bay, still farther north, they set up the pinnace which they had in parts on board their vessel. In this pinnace Drake sailed south a day to look for his consorts; but he was driven back by adverse winds. After a stay of a month here, which added nothing to our knowledge of the geography of the country, they sailed again. “Cyppo” is probably the Copiapo of to-day.


This sketch follows a drawing by Kohl in his manuscript in the American Antiquarian Society’s Library. This is the key:—

1. Mare Septentrionale.
2. Terra incognita.
3. Quivira prov.
4. C. Nevada.
5. Tigna fl.
6. R. Tontonteac.
7. Y. delle Perle.
8. Y. di Cedri.
9. Giapan.
10. Mare di Mangi.
11. Chinan Golfo.
12. Parte di Asia.

Pausing for plunder, or for water, or fresh provisions, from time to time, they ran in, on the 7th of February, to the port of Arica, where they spoiled the vessels they found, generally confining their plunder to silver, gold, and jewels, and such stores as they needed for immediate use. At Callao they found no news of their comrades; but they did find news from Europe,—the death of the kings of Portugal, of France, of Morocco, and of Fez, and of the Pope of Rome. From one vessel they took fifteen hundred bars of silver, and learning that a treasure-ship had sailed a fortnight before, went rapidly in pursuit of her.

They overtook her on the 1st of March, and captured her. As part of her cargo, she had on board “a certain quantity of jewels and precious stones,” thirteen chests of silver reals, eighty pounds weight of gold, twenty-six tons of uncoined silver, two very fair gilt silver drinking-bowls, “and the like trifles,—valued in all about three hundred and sixty thousand pezoes,”—as Fletcher says in his clumsy pleasantry. The ships lay together six days, then Drake “gave the master a little linen and the like for his commodities,” and let him and his ship go. Her name, long remembered, was the “Cacafuego.” The Spanish Government estimated the loss at a million and a half of ducats. A ducat was about two dollars.

Drake now determined to give up the risk of returning by the way he came, and to go home by the north or by crossing the Pacific. He abandoned[68] the hope of joining his consorts, who had, though he did not know it, no thought of joining him. On the 16th of March he touched at the Island of Caines, where he experienced a terrible earthquake; on the 15th of March at Guatulco, in Mexico, where he took some fresh provisions; and sailing the next day, struck northward on the voyage in which he discovered the coast of Oregon and of that part of California which now belongs to the United States.


Furlano is said to have received this map from a Spaniard, Don Diego Hermano de Toledo, in 1574. The sketch is made from the drawing in Kohl’s manuscript in the American Antiquarian Society’s Library. The key is as follows:—

1. Mare incognito.
2. Stretto di Anian.
3. Quivir.
4. Golfo di Anian.
5. Anian regnum.
6. Quisau.
7. Mangi Prov.
8. Mare de Mangi.
9. Isola di Giapan.
10. Y. di Cedri.

A certain doubt hangs over the original discovery of the eastern coast of this nation. There is no doubt that the coast of Oregon was discovered to Europe by the greatest seaman of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.[145]

Taking as plunder a potful of silver reals,—the pot, says Fletcher, “as big as a bushel,”—and some other booty, Drake sailed west, then northwest and north, “fourteen hundred leagues in all.” This, according to the account of Fletcher, his chaplain, brought them to the 3d of June,[146] when they were in north latitude 42°. On the night of that day, the weather (which had been very hot) became bitterly cold; the ropes of the ship were stiff with ice, and sleet fell instead of rain. This cold weather continued for days. On the fifth they ran in to a shore which they then first[69] descried, and anchored in a bad bay, which was the best roadstead they could find. But the moment the gale lulled, “thick stinking fogs” settled down on them; they could not abide there; and from this place[147] they turned south, and ran along the coast. They found it “low and reasonable plain.” Every hill was covered with snow, though it was in June.

In the latitude of 38° 30′, they came to a “convenient and fit harbour.” Another narrator says, “It pleased God to send us into a fair and good bay, with a good wind to enter the same.” They entered, and remained in it till the 23d of July. During all this time they were visited with the “like nipping colds.” They would have been glad to keep their beds, and if they were not at work, would have worn their winter clothes. For a fortnight together they could take no observations of sun or star. When they met the natives, they found them shivering even under their furs; and the “ground was without greenness” and the trees without leaves in June and July.

The day after they entered this harbor an Indian came out to them in a canoe. He made tokens of respect and submission. He threw into the ship a little basket made of rushes containing an herb called tobàh.[148] Drake wished to recompense him, but he would take nothing but a hat, which was thrown into the water. The company of the “Pelican” supposed then and always that the natives considered and reverenced them as gods. In preparation for repairing the ship, Drake landed his stores. A large company of Indians approached as he landed, and friendly relations were maintained between them and the Englishmen during the whole[70] of their stay. Drake received them cautiously but kindly. He set up tents, and built a fort for his defence. The natives, watching the English with amazement, still regarded them as gods. One is tempted to connect this superstition with the direct claim which Alarcon had made of a divine origin, in presence of these tribes, a generation before, though at a point five hundred miles away. Fletcher’s description of their houses is precisely like the Spaniard’s account of the winter houses of the tribes he met. “Those houses are digged round within the earth, and have from the uppermost brimmes of the circle clefts of wood set up, and joined close together at the top like our spires on the steeple of a church; which, being covered with earth, suffer no water to enter, and are very warm; the door in the most part of them performs the office also of a chimney to let out the smoke; it’s made in bigness and fashion like to an ordinary scuttle in a ship, and standing slopewise.”[149]

At the end of two days an immense assembly, called together from all parts of the country, gathered to see the strangers. They brought with them feathers and bags of tobàh for presents or for sacrifices. Arrived at the top of the hill, their chief made a long address, wearying his English hearers and himself. When he had concluded, the rest, bowing their bodies in a dreamy manner “and long producing of the same,” cried “Oh!” giving their consent to all that had been spoken. This reminds one of the “hu” of the Indians of the Tizon. The women, meanwhile, tore their cheeks with their nails, and flung themselves on the ground, as if for a personal bloody sacrifice. Drake met this worship, not as Alarcon had done, but by calling his company to prayer. The men lifted their eyes and hands to heaven to signify that God was above, and besought God “to open their blinded eyes to the knowledge of him and of Jesus Christ the salvation of the Gentiles.” Through these prayers, the singing of psalms, and reading certain chapters of the Bible, Fletcher, who was the chaplain, says they sat very attentively. They observed every pause, and cried “Oh!” with one voice, greatly enjoying our exercises. They thus showed a more catholic spirit than the whites had shown, who were wearied by the length of the address of the savages. Drake made them presents, which at the departure of the English they returned, saying that they were sufficiently rewarded by their visit.

The fame of this visit extended so far, that at the end of three days more, on the 26th of June, a larger company assembled. This time the king himself, with a body-guard of one hundred warriors, was with them. They called him their Hióh. He approached the English, preceded by a mace-bearer, who carried two feather crowns, with three chains of bone of marvellous length, often doubled. Such chains were of the highest estimation,[71] and only a few persons were permitted to wear them. The number of chains, indeed, marked the rank of the highest nobility, some of whom wore as many as twenty. Next to the mace-bearer came the king himself. On his head was a knit crown somewhat like those which were borne before him. He wore a coat of the skins of conies coming to his waist. His guards wore similar coats, and some of them wore cauls upon their heads, covered with a certain vegetable down, almost sacred, and used only by the highest ranks. The common people followed, naked, but with feathers,[150] every one pleasing himself with his own device. The last part of the company were women and children. Each woman brought a well-made basket of rushes. Some of these were so tight that they would hold water. They were adorned with pearl shells and with bits of the bone chains. In the baskets they had bags of tobàh and roots called petáh, which they ate cooked or raw. Drake meanwhile held his men in military array.

The mace-bearer then pronounced aloud a long speech, which was dictated to him in a low voice by another. All parties, except the children, approached the fort, and the mace-bearer began a song, with a dance to the time, in which all the men joined. The women danced without singing. Drake saw that they were peaceable, and permitted them to enter his palisade. The women showed signs of the wounds which they had made before coming, by way of preparing for the solemnity.

At the request of the chief, Drake then sat down. The king and others made to him several orations, or, “indeed, supplications, that he would take province and kingdom into his hand, and become their king and patron.” With one consent they sang a song, placed one of the crowns upon his head, hung their chains upon his neck, and honored him as their Hióh.

Drake did not think he should refuse this gift. “In the name and to the use of Queen Elizabeth, he took the sceptre, crown, and dignity of the country into his hand.” He only wished, says the historian, that he could as easily transport the riches and treasures wherewith in the upland it abounds, to the enriching of her kingdom at home. Had Drake had any real knowledge of the golden gravel over which the streams of the upland flowed, it may well be that the history of California would have been changed.

From this time, through several weeks while Drake remained there, the multitude also remained. At first they brought offerings every three days as sacrifices, until they learned that this displeased their English king. Like other sovereigns who have had much to do with this race, he found that he had to feed his red retainers. But he had mussels, seals, “and such like,” in quantity sufficient for their rations.

Drake made a journey into the country. He saw “infinite company” of fat deer, in a herd of thousands. He found a multitude of strange “conies”[72] in large numbers, with long tails, and with a bag under the chin in which to carry food either for future supply or for their children.

Drake erected on the shore a post, on which he placed a plate of brass. Here he engraved the Queen’s name, the date of his landing, the gift of the country by the people, and left her Majesty’s portrait and arms. The last were not designed by his artists, as some historians have carelessly supposed, but were on a silver piece, of sixpence, “showing through a hole made of purpose in the plate.”

When the people saw that Drake could not remain, they could not conceal their grief. At last they stole on the English unawares with a sacrifice which “they set on fire,” thus burning a chain and bunch of feathers. The English could not dissuade them till they fell to prayers and singing of psalms, when the sad natives let their fire go out, and left the sacrifice unconsumed. On the 23d of July the friends parted, the English for the shores of Asia, the savages to the hills, where they built fires as long as the “Pelican” was in sight. Thus did England take possession of the region which, after near three hundred years, proved to be the richest gold-bearing country in the world. Drake gave to the country the name of New Albion, and it bore that name on the maps for centuries. He called it so “for two causes: in respect of the white banks and cliffs which lie towards the sea; and the other because it might have some affinity with our country in name.” Curiously enough, the original narrative says, “There is no part of earth here to be taken up wherein there is not some speciall likelihood of gold or silver.”[151]

From the time when the Government’s ships crept along the coast to Cape Mendocino, and then turned, unwilling, to their long voyage to Asia, observations on that coast were doubtless repeated by navigators. The line of coast took different courses and different names accordingly. But it is well-nigh certain that from the time of Drake until 1770 the California now a part of the United States had no European inhabitants. The part of California which is in Mexico was first settled by Jesuit missions, whose first successes date from the year 1697.

Drake returned to England by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Plymouth in triumph on the 26th of September, 1580. He had given the name Nova Albion to the western coast of North America thus discovered; he had taken possession for his sovereign, Elizabeth, with better color of right than most discoverers could urge. But under this title the Queen never claimed, nor her successors indeed, until, after three centuries, Drake’s voyage may have been sometimes cited as a vague or shadowy introduction to any rights by which England claimed the mouth of the Columbia River and the region northward.[152]


The name Nova Albion was generally applied on the maps to the more northerly region, the Oregon of our geography. But the name California held its place for the whole region known to us as the State of California, as well as for the peninsula and the gulf. The distinction between Upper and Lower California is still observed.

Drake’s reception at home was an enthusiastic one, by a populace always anxious for a hero. It was tempered somewhat by the cautious feelings of some, who regarded with no favorable eye the policy of private reprisals upon another nation in time of peace. The Queen had no such compunctions. She received him with undisguised favor, dined with him on board his ship, and made him a knight. She directed that the vessel which had borne her authority about the world should be carefully preserved; and when the ship was finally broken up, John Davis, the Arctic navigator, caused a chair to be made of the timbers, which is now one of the relics of interest in the Bodleian Library, and within whose seat Abraham Cowley wrote one of his well-known poems.

At length, in 1585, Queen Elizabeth determined on open hostility, and giving Drake his first royal commission, and an ample fleet and land force, he started on his successful expedition to the Spanish main, when town after town fell into his hands, and the Spanish settlements experienced most poignantly ravages similar to those which they had so abundantly for nearly a century inflicted upon the natives of those regions. Of his subsequent exploits in European waters this is no place for the recital; but in 1595 he prevailed upon Elizabeth to put him, in connection with his old patron and companion, Sir John Hawkins, once more in command of another expedition to Spanish America. They sailed from Plymouth in August, with the purpose of seizing Nombre de Dios, and then of marching his twenty-five hundred troops to Panama to capture the treasure which took that route from Peru on its way to Spain. The expedition was a melancholy failure. The Spaniards were forewarned. Porto Rico successfully resisted the English in the first place, and the attack on Panama was abortive.

Hawkins died, overcome by the reverses; and Drake, struck with a fever of mortification, sank beneath the fatal influences of the climate, and died on board his ship early in the following year. His remains were placed in a leaden casket and sunk off Puerto Cabello, and there was no failure of suspicions that he had been the victim of foul play. There are those in the English nation who indulge the hope that the casket may yet be recovered, and that the remains of the great English “Dragon” may yet rest beneath the pavement of Westminster Abbey.



THE question where was the “convenient and fit harbor,” the “fair and good bay,” which Drake entered on the Pacific coast, and where he careened and repaired the “Pelican,” is still undecided, after much discussion by the Californian geographers, who have now their capital in the city of San Francisco,—on that matchless land-locked harbor which is entered by the narrow passage known as the “Golden Gate.” The authorities are not many, and are not quite in accord.

The narrative of Fletcher, which has been followed in the text, gives the latitude of this bay as 38° 30′ north. But the briefer narrative in Hakluyt[153] says: “We came within thirty-eight degrees towardes the line; in which height it pleased God to send us into a faire and good bay, with a good wind to enter the same.” Here is a difference of half a degree. But the text in Hakluyt is supported by a manuscript marginal note on what seems to be the original drawing of Dudley’s map, and which is preserved in Munich, where the language (Italian) is: “This map begins with the port of New Albion, in longitude 237° and latitude 38°, discovered by the Englishman Drake in 1579 or thereabout, as above,—a convenient place to water and to collect other refreshment.” The manuscript has a note, which the engraving has not, “Porto bonissimo.” But on the coast farther north, where the same author speaks of the cold, he says: “Drake returned to 38½ degrees, and the weather was temperate, and he called it New Albion.” The Arcano del Mare, in which these maps are printed, was not published till 1646. But Dudley, the author, was active in maritime affairs in England in all the last ten years of the sixteenth century. He was the son of Elizabeth’s Earl of Leicester; he was brother-in-law of Cavendish, administered on his estate, and must have seen his chart.[154] Hakluyt had wished to publish his narrative of Drake in his edition of 1589; but this account by Pretty was not regularly embodied by Hakluyt in his great work till 1600.[155] The World Encompassed was not printed until 1628, but is from Fletcher’s contemporary notes. Dudley himself prepared an expedition to the South Seas. He may be spoken of as a valuable contemporary authority. The English Government did not publish such discoveries. But Cavendish would have had Drake’s charts.


This sketch will indicate the relative positions of the several bays.

Now the opening of the Golden Gate is in latitude 37° 46′: it exactly corresponds with “within 38° N.” of one account, but it lacks 44′ of the 38° 30′ of the other two. The discrepancy is not so important when we find that in 38° 30′ there is no harbor and no bay, good or bad. The voyager must come down the coast as far as 38° 15′ to find Bodega Bay, which has, accordingly, been assigned by some conjectures as Sir Francis’ resting-place. Just south of this, near the line of 38°, is an open roadstead which has some advocates in this discussion. Between this bay and the Golden[75] Gate, the point of Los Reyes runs out southwest. East of this, and northwest of the Golden Gate, is another open roadstead, facing the south, which for many years, long before the discovery of Californian gold, had been known as Jack’s Bay, or Sir Francis Drake’s Bay. One of these four bays is chosen by one or another geographer as the fair and good harbor into which a special providence drove Drake by a favorable wind.


Sketch from Carta de los reconocimentos hechos en 1602 por el Capitan Sebastian Vizcaino formada por los Planos que hizo el misno durante su comision, in an atlas in the State Department at Washington.

In this discussion, the map of Dudley, whose information was nearly at first-hand, plays an important part. His representation of Drake’s bay—a sort of bottle-shaped harbor—so far resembles the double bay of San Francisco, that it would probably decide the question, but that, unfortunately, he gives two such bays. His two maps, also, do not very closely resemble each other. It becomes necessary to suppose that one of his bays was that which we know as Bodega Bay, or that both are drawn from the imagination. The map of Hondius gives a chart of Drake’s bay,[156] which has, unfortunately, no representation to any bay on the coast, and is purely imaginary.

The discussion is complicated from the fact, that, if Drake entered San Francisco Bay, the English Government kept its secret so well that they forgot it themselves. What is curious is, that for two centuries the Spaniards were seeking at intervals for “Port St. Francisco,” and did not find it. In 1603, Viscaino put into a bay which he called Port St. Francisco; but it is urged[157] that Viscaino really entered the Bay of Monterey. The Spaniards by this time were eagerly seeking a bay of refuge for their Asiatic squadrons.[158] They knew that Drake had repaired a vessel somewhere. Viscaino passed “Port St. Francisco” in a gale, and returned into it, according to the narrative. It was not until 1769 that a land party of Franciscan monks finally discovered to Spain the magnificent Bay of San Francisco. One theory is that no one ever discovered it before; but a contemporary manuscript account of the discovery, preserved in the British Museum, says distinctly that this famous port, according to the signs given by history, is called San Francisco. It is distant from St. Diego two hundred leagues, and is to be found in 38½°. “They say it is the best bay they have discovered; and while it might shelter all the navies in Europe, it is entered by a straight of three leagues, and surrounded with mountains which make the waters tranquil.”




The reader must understand that all the maps had a port of Sir Francis, or a Puerto San Francisco, or some similar name. One English map bravely says,[159] “Port Sr. Francis Drake, not St. Francisco,” for the bay discovered in 1770.


So soon as this discovery was known in England, Captain Burney claimed it as Drake’s bay; in America, Davidson, in the Coast Pilot, and Mr. Greenhow give the same decision.

Probably the early maps must be taken as the best and decisive authorities.

The reader has before him Dudley’s two maps. Of these, Dudley says that California was drawn by an English pilot. In his text describing the shore, he goes no further than Cape St. Lucas, and then crosses to California, which suggests that he is following Cavendish, who took this course, and who was Dudley’s near kinsman. On the margin in the manuscript of Dudley’s map at Munich, he calls Drake’s bay “Porto bonissimo,” “the best of harbors,”—an expression which certainly does not belong to Jack’s Bay. In both maps, also, it is represented as the southern of the two deep bays, of which the northern appears to correspond to Bodega Bay, and the southern to San Francisco Bay. On the larger of the two maps Drake’s bay is placed in the same relation to Monterey as is held by San Francisco.


[This is a section from a marginal map on the “Carta Prima” of Dudley’s Arcano del Mare, vol. i. lib. 2, p.19. Key:—

1. C. Arboledo.
2. Ensa Larga.
3. Po. di Don Gasper.
4. R. Salado.
5. Po. dell Nuovo Albion scoperto dal Drago Cno. Inglese.
6. Enseada
7. Po. di Anonaebo.
8. Po. di Moneerei.
9. C. S. Barbera.
10. C. S. Agostino.
11. Quivira Ro.
12. Nuova Albione.—Ed.]

In the curious “new map” mentioned by Shakespeare in “Twelfth Night,”[160] the spot where Drake landed is indicated. The names, as one reads southward from the parallel of 40°, are C. Roxo, Sierra de los Pescadores,—Tierra de Paxaros R. Grande, which seems to be Drake’s harbor,—Rio Hermoso, C. Frio, Sierra Nevada, C. Blanco, Cicuic, Playa, Tiguer. Cicuic and Tiguer are evidently borrowed from Ciceyé and Tiguex of Coronado’s narrative. The same position is given to Tiguex in Hondius’s map. Of this the scale is so small that Drake’s[78] Bay could not be determined from it, were it not for the issuing of the dotted line showing his homeward track.

The Spanish geographers are at work on this subject, with full understanding of the points involved in the problem. It will not be long, probably, before the question is decided. This writer does not hesitate to say that he believes it will prove that Drake repaired his ship in San Francisco Bay, and that this bay took its name not indirectly from Francis of Assisi, but from the bold English explorer who had struck terror to all the western coast of New Spain.[161]



FOR the authoritative accounts of William Hawkins’s Brazilian voyages, we must go to Hakluyt’s third volume, as published in 1600. In it likewise we shall find the account of the West Indian voyages of Sir John Hawkins in 1562, 1564, and 1567-68. We may also read them in the usual compilations drawn from Hakluyt, among the latest of which is The Elizabethan Seamen of Payne, who remarks that “nothing which Englishmen had done in connection with America previous to those voyages had any result worth recording.” Lowndes, in his Bibliographer’s Manual, gives an edition, in 1569 (London), of John Hawkins’s True Declaration of the Troublesome Voyages to the Partes of Guynea and the West Indies; but Sabin (Dictionary, viii. 157) thinks it was only printed in Hakluyt.


A sketch of a part of Hondius’s map of the world, on which Drake’s route is marked; it is taken from a fac-simile in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of The World Encompassed.


1. Nova Albion, sic a Francisco Draco, 1579, dicta qui bis ab incolis eodem die diademate redimitus,
eandem Reginæ Angliæ consecravit.
2. Hic præ ingenti frigore in Austrum reverti coactus est lat. 42 die 5 Junii.
3. Cozones.
4. [Drake’s Bay].
5. Tigues.
6. I. de passao.
7. California.
8. San Miguel.
9. Damantes.
10. Mare Vermeo.
11. S. Thomas.

Fox Browne, in his English Merchants, chap. viii., shows the relations which Hawkins in his day established with British commerce.

The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins, Knight, in his Vojage jnto the South Sea, Anno Domini 1593, was printed in London in 1622,[162] and was reprinted in 1847 by the Hakluyt Society, under the editing of Captain C. R. D. Bethune. The book gives us some useful notes upon the aborigines of Florida and the regions farther south.

The most convenient embodiment, however,[79] of the ancient records and of modern criticisms upon all the exploits of the Hawkinses is in the volume of the Hakluyt Society for 1878,—The Hawkins’ Voyages during the Reigns of Henry VIII., Queen Elizabeth, and James I., edited, with an Introduction, by the careful hand of Clements R. Markham. Here we have not only what Hakluyt has preserved for us, but the Observations of 1622, and other journals and narratives.


This is an outline sketch of the map of Drake’s Bay given in the margin of Hondius’s map, but which is omitted in the reproduction of that map in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of The World Encompassed. The map is rare, and our sketch follows another belonging to Mr. Charles Deane.

Key:—1. A group of Indian houses.
2. Place of the ship.
3. Portus Novæ Albionis.
4. A group of the English conferring with the natives.

A fac-simile of the original engraving is given in Gay’s Popular History of the United States, ii. 577. It has a Latin legend beneath it, which reads: “The inhabitants of Nova Albion lament the departure of Drake, now twice crowned, and by frequent sacrifices lacerate themselves.” A curious picture representing the crowning of Drake is in the 1671 edition of Montanus, p. 213.

A writer in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, Oct. 5, 1878, says that the island in the sketch is misplaced, if Bodega Bay is intended, being below the peninsula; but that, viewed from the position assigned to Drake’s ship, it seems to be outside, as drawn. He maintains that this bay answers all the other conditions of Fletcher’s description, and that Hondius’s sketch is confirmed by Dudley’s map.

For Drake the material is more abundant. Regarding his famous voyage round the world in 1577-80, the earliest statement in print is one said to be by Francis Pretty, and called The famous Voyage of Sir Francis Drake into the South Sea ... begun in the yeare of our Lord 1577.[163] Hakluyt had this, and says in effect, in the Introduction of his 1589 edition, that the friends of Drake who did not wish their publications forestalled, had wished him to omit it. Hakluyt, however, seems to have privately printed it, in six pages, and these, without pagination, are found in some, if not all, copies of the 1589 volume, inserted after page 643.[164] It finally publicly appeared in his third volume of the 1598-1600 edition. A more authoritative publication, however, was The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake, carefully Collected out of the notes of Master Francis Fletcher, Preacher in this imployment, and divers others his followers, London, 1628.[165] It was reprinted in 1635,[166] and made part of Sir Francis Drake revived in 1653.[167] It was again reprinted by the Hakluyt Society in 1855, with an Introduction by W. S. W. Vaux. This and other accounts of the voyage have also found a place in the general collections of Hakluyt, Harris, and the Oxford Voyages.[168]


The report of Da Silva mentions that Drake captured some sea-charts from the Spaniards during this voyage; and Kohl (Catalogue of Maps in Hakluyt, p. 82) supposes that Drake had with him the maps of Mercator and Ortelius. After Drake’s return, Hondius made a map of the world, in which he tracked both the routes of Drake and Cavendish; and of that portion showing New Albion, as well as of his little plan of Drake’s Bay, sketches are given herewith. Kohl thinks (page 84) that Hondius may have used Drake’s own charts in this little marginal sketch, while the main map has “little to do with Drake’s own charts.” Hondius, however, is thought to have been living in England at this time. Molineaux is known to have used Drake’s reports and perhaps his map, in making his mappemonde of 1600, of which an outline sketch of a part of the Pacific coast is annexed. This is the map mentioned by Mr. Hale as supposed to be referred to by Shakespeare.


The Key:—

1. Nova Albion.
2. Cabo Mendocino. “It appeareth by the discoverie of Francis Gaulle, a Spaniard, in the year 1584, that the sea betweene the west part of America and the east of Asia (which hath bene ordinarily set out as a straight, and named in most maps the Streight of Anian) is above 1,200 leagues wide at the latitude of 38°, and that the distance betweene Cape Mendocino and Cape California, which many maps and sea-charts make to be 1,200 or 1,300 leagues, is scarce so much as 600.” [This legend is in the right-hand upper corner of the map. Gali (or Gaulle), in returning from China in 1583, had struck the California coast at 37° 30´. His account appeared in Linschoten, and so was rendered in the English translation of Linschoten, 1598, and is given in Hakluyt, vol. iii. (1600) p. 442.]
3. R. Grande.
4. C. San Francisco.
5. Rio Grande.
6. C. Blanco.
7. C. Blanco.
8. B. Hermosa.
9. B. San Lorenzo.
10. California.
11. R. Grande.
12. S. Francisco.
13. New Mexico.
14. Cibola.

For Drake’s expedition of 1585-86, we have the original account in Latin, printed at Leyden in 1588,—Expeditio Francisci Draki,—which should be accompanied by four large folding maps; namely, of Cartagena, St. Augustine, San Domingo, and S. Jacques (Guinea).[169] An English translation by Thomas Cates appeared in London the next year (1589) as A Summarie and true Discourse of Sir Francis Drake’s West Indian Voyage, wherein were taken the towns of St. Jago, Sancto Domingo, Cartagena, and Saint Augustine.[170] This first edition seems to have been without maps; but a second edition of the same year is sometimes found with copies of the Leyden maps, besides a fifth, a mappemonde, showing “The famous West Indian Voyadge,” which did not appear in the Leyden edition.[171] The Huth Catalogue, ii. 442, notes a third edition for the same year.[172]



In 1855, Louis Lacour edited at Paris a French manuscript upon this 1585-86 expedition, which is preserved in the National Library at Paris. [173]

The expedition in 1587, by Drake and Norris, against the Spaniards in Europe, does not fall within our present scheme.[174]

Of Drake’s last voyage in 1595-96 we have his log-book, printed for the first time in Kunstmann’s Entdeckung Amerikas in 1859. A manuscript account, by Thomas Maynarde, is preserved in the British Museum, which, with a Spanish account, “Francis Draque y Juan Acquines,”[175] was printed by the Hakluyt Society in 1849, under the editing of W. D. Cooley.

Henry Savile’s Libell of Spanish Lies, giving the earliest English account in print, was issued in London in 1596 (Carter-Brown Catalogue, vol. i. no. 508), and was also included in Hakluyt’s third volume in 1600.[176]

Tiele—Mémoire bibliographique (1867), p. 300—says that Hakluyt lent his account, two years before he published it, to the Dutch historian Van Meteren, who printed a Dutch version of it at Amsterdam in 1598.[177]


A fac-simile of a copperplate engraving in H. Holland’s Heroologia, Arnheim, 1620, p. 105,—a book now rare. There is a copy in Harvard College Library. Cf. also Magazine of American History, March, 1883. There is another head by Houbraken in his series of heads, London, 1813, p. 47.

A library, which is said to have been begun by Drake and kept up by his descendants at Nutwell Court, Lympstone, Devon, was recently sold in London. Cf. London Times, March 16, 1883. There were books in the sale pertaining to America, which were published early enough to have been collected by Drake himself; but the rarest of the Americana, of interest to the students of this period, must rather have been the accumulation of the younger Francis Drake, the chronicler of his uncle’s exploits. Some of the rare books mentioned in other chapters of this history are noted as bringing the following prices: Rich’s Newes from Virginia, £93; Whitaker’s Good Newes from Virginia, £90, later priced by Quaritch at £105; Hariot’s New found land of Virginia, £300, later advertised by Quaritch for £335; Rosier’s True Relation, £301, later marked by Ouaritch at £335; Declaration of the State of the Colonie and Affairs in Virginia, £46; De la Warre’s Relation, £26 11s.; Good Speed to Virginia, £30; Hamor’s True Discourse, £69; New Life of Virginia, £18 5s., later priced by Ouaritch at £25; True Declaration of the Estat of the Colonie of Virginia, £80, later priced by Quaritch at £96.

A kinsman of Drake published at London, in 1626, Sir Francis Drake revived: calling upon this dull or effeminate age to follow his noble steps for gold and silver, by this memorable relation of the rare occurrences (never yet declared to the world) in a third Voyage made by him to the West Indies in the yeares ‘72 and ‘73, faithfully taken out of the reporte of Christofer Ceely, Ellis Hixon, and others; reviewed by Sir Fr. Drake himself, and set forth by Sir Fr. Drake, his nephew.[178] This edition was reissued in 1628, with the errata corrected.[179] It was again reissued in 1653, in the first collected edition of Drake’s[83] voyages, under the title, Sir Francis Drake revived: four several voyages ... collected out of the notes of the said Sir Francis Drake, Master Philip Nichols, Master Francis Fletcher, ... carefully compared together.[180]


Follows a copperplate engraving in H. Holland’s Heroologia, Arnheim, 1620, p. 89.

In 1595 a Life of Drake by C. FitzGeffrey was published in London.[181] Fuller, in his Holy and Prophane State (1642), gives a characteristic seventeenth-century estimate of Drake, and he knew some of Drake’s kin.

Samuel Clarke’s Life and Death of Drake was published in London in 1671.[182] Robert Burton’s English Hero, long a popular book, and passing through many editions, was first published in 1687 and 1695, and was translated into German and other foreign tongues.[84] Dr. Johnson’s Life of Drake has his peculiar flavor. Of the later biographies, Barrow’s seems to unite best the various details of Drake’s career.[183]

The voyages of Candish, or Cavendish, can be followed in the Latin and German of De Bry’s eighth part of his Great Voyages (1599), and in an abridged form in Hulsius’ part vi. There is no separate English edition of the account of the 1586-88 voyage, written by Francis Pretty, who took part in it; but besides the text in Hakluyt’s third volume (it had been briefly given in the 1589 edition), it can be found in the later collections of Callender (1766), Harris (vol. i.), and Kerr (vol. x.); cf. S. Colliber’s Columna Rostrata, or a Critical History of English Sea Affairs, London, 1727. It was later reprinted in Dutch, Amsterdam, 1598, and in 1617.[184]


This portrait, said to follow the three-quarters likeness in Vaughan’s print (of which there is a copy in the Lenox Library), is a fac-simile of a cut in the title of Sir Francis Drake revived, issued in London in 1626, by his nephew, Sir Francis Drake, Baronet; cf. Carter-Brown Catalogue, ii. 133. Another likeness of a little later date will be observed in the fac-simile of the Virginia Farrar map, given in connection with Professor Keen’s paper on “Plowden’s Grant,” in the present volume. There are other portraits on the title of De Bry, parts viii. (1599) and xi. (1619), and in Hulsius, part vi. (1603), and on the folding map in part xvi. (1619); cf. also Le Voyage Curieux, Paris, 1641.

Some new light has been thrown upon Drake by a namesake, Dr. Drake, in the Archæological Journal, 1873; and Mr. Walter Herries Pollock says the latest word in the National Review, May, 1883. Two other testimonies to the alleged change of the name of San Francisco Bay (see p. 77) may be found among the contributions of the middle of the last century to the history of the Pacific coast geography. The map published by the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg in 1754 and 1773 says, “Port de Francois Drake, fausement appellé de St. Francois.” J. Green, in his Remarks in support of the new Chart of North and South America, London, 1753, says, “The French geographers within this century have converted Port Sir Francois Drake into Port San Francisco.”





Treasurer of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

THE fresh spirit of maritime adventure which marked the last decade of the fifteenth century and the first quarter of the sixteenth century, owed its origin to mistaken theories as to the distance between the west of Europe and the east of Asia. Columbus believed that the land which he first discovered was an island on the coast of Japan; and he seems never to have relinquished this idea. The contemporary geographers all cherished the same mistake; and the early maps give a much better representation of the coast-line of Asia than they do of the shores of North America.[185] It is a curious fact that the true position and form of South America were familiar to cartographers long before there was any exact knowledge of the northern half of the continent. North America was regarded as an island or a collection of islands, through which it would not be difficult to find a short passage to Zipangu and Cathay,—the modern Japan and China.[186] Gradually these mistakes yielded to more correct views; but it was still believed that a feasible passage existed around the northern shore of the new continent. This belief was the inspiring motive of all the early northwestern explorations, and it lingered almost to our own time, long after every one knew that such a passage would be of no practical use. At length the problem has been solved; but the introduction of new methods of ocean and land trade and travel has deprived it of all but a purely scientific and geographical interest. Meanwhile the search for a northwest passage has developed an heroic endurance and a perseverance in surmounting obstacles scarcely paralleled anywhere else, and has added largely to the stores of human knowledge.

At the head of the long list of explorers for a northwest passage stand the names of the Cabots; but the intricate questions as to the measure of just fame to be assigned to father and son have been fully treated in another chapter of this work,[187] and neither John nor Sebastian penetrated the more[86] northern waters with which our inquiry is mainly concerned. It is enough now to recall their names as the leaders in an enterprise in which for nearly three centuries England took a foremost part, and that so early as 1497 John Cabot set sail in the hope of this great discovery. Within the next half century he was followed by his son Sebastian, the Cortereals, Cartier, and Hore, not one of whom sought to reach a high northern latitude. It was not until Frobisher sailed on his first voyage that the real northwest explorations can be said fairly to have begun. Since that time more than one hundred voyages and land journeys have been undertaken in this vain quest.

In two of the northwestern voyages of Martin Frobisher the discovery of a short way to the South Sea was only a secondary object. The adventurers at whose cost they were undertaken looked mainly to the profit from a successful search for gold, though they were not unmindful of the advantages to be gained by shortening the distance to the Spice Islands of the East. In the bitter quarrel between Frobisher and Michael Lok, after the third voyage, it was charged that Frobisher had neglected this part of the undertaking. But it was natural that Lok, who had no doubt lost heavily by the voyages, should be angry with Frobisher, and endeavor to make the most of any failure on his part to carry out the whole plan; and there is no reason to believe that Frobisher wilfully neglected the interests or the wishes of his employers, however much they may have been disappointed. The whole amount subscribed for the three voyages was upward of twenty thousand pounds, and of this sum Lok subscribed, for himself and his children, nearly one fourth. Among the subscribers were Queen Elizabeth, who invested four thousand pounds, Lord Burleigh, the Earl and Countess of Warwick, the Earl of Leicester, the Earl and Countess of Pembroke, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Thomas Gresham, Sir Francis Walsingham, and others scarcely less conspicuous in that generation.

Frobisher’s first expedition consisted of two small vessels, the “Gabriel” and the “Michael,” one of twenty-five tons and the other of twenty tons, and a pinnace of ten tons. They set sail from Blackwall on the 15th of June, 1576, but it was not until the 1st of July that they were clear of the coast of England. Not long after coming in sight of Friesland, Frobisher parted company with the pinnace, in which were four men, who were never seen again; and about the same time the “Michael” slipped away without any warning, and returned to England. Nevertheless, Frobisher pressed on, and on the 21st he entered the opening now known as Frobisher’s Strait or Bay, “having upon eyther hande a great mayne or continent; and that land uppon hys right hande as hee sayled westward, he judged to be the continente of Asia, and there to bee devided from the firme of America, which lyeth uppon the lefte hande over against the same.”[188] Into this bay, as it is now known to be, he sailed about sixty leagues, capturing one of the natives, whom he carried to England. The land, Meta Incognita,[87] he took possession of in the name of the Queen of England, commanding his company, “if by anye possible meanes they could get ashore, to bring him whatsoever thing they could first find, whether it were living or dead, stocke or stone, in token of Christian possession.”[189] Some of the men returned to him with flowers, some with green grass, “and one brought a peece of black stone, much lyke to a seacole in coloure, which by the waight seemed to be some kinde of mettall or mynerall.” Frobisher reached England on his return in the following October, and on his arrival presented the stone to one of his friends, an adventurer in the voyage. The wife of this gentleman accidentally threw it into the fire, where it remained for some time, when it was taken out and quenched in vinegar. It then appeared of a bright gold color, and on being submitted to a goldfinder in London, was said to be rich in gold; and large profits were promised if the ore was sufficiently abundant.

This cut follows the engraving in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Frobisher’s Voyages.

With this report, there was little difficulty in providing means for a second voyage. The new expedition consisted of a “tall ship of her Majesty’s,” named the “Ayde,” of two hundred tons, and of two smaller vessels, with the same names as those in the former voyage, but now said to be of thirty tons each. They were manned in all by one hundred and twenty men, to which number Frobisher was limited by his orders. After some delay, he sailed from Harwich on the 31st of May, 1577. By his orders he was directed to proceed at once to the place where the mineral[88] was found, and set the miners at work. There he was to leave the “Ayde,” and then to sail to another place visited on his first voyage, where a further attempt at mining was to be made, and where one of the small barks was to be left. With the remaining bark he was to sail fifty or a hundred leagues farther west, to make “certayne that you are entred into the South Sea; and in yor passage to learne all that you can, and not to tarye so longe from the ‘Ayde’ and worckmen but that you bee able to retorne homewards wth the shippes in due tyme.” If the mines should prove less productive than it was hoped they would be, he was to “proceade towards the discovering of Cathaya wth the two barcks, and returne the ‘Ayde’ for England agayne.”[190] Frobisher had his first sight of Friesland on the 4th of July; and he reached Milford Haven, in Wales, on his return voyage, about the 23d of September. During this period of a little more than two months, his energies were mainly devoted to procuring ore, of which, in twenty days, he obtained nearly two hundred tons; but he also made as careful an examination as was practicable of the region previously visited by him, and added something to the stock of geographical knowledge. Two of the natives were captured, and were carried to England to be educated as interpreters.

Frobisher’s third voyage was planned on a much larger scale than any other which hitherto had been sent to the Arctic regions, and he was placed in command of fifteen vessels. They were all collected at Harwich by the 27th of May, 1578; and after receiving their instructions from Frobisher, they sailed together on the 31st. On the 2d of July they reached the mouth of Frobisher’s Bay; but after entering it a short distance, they found it so choked with ice that it was impossible to proceed. One of the vessels was soon sunk by the ice, and all suffered more or less. After beating about for several days, they entered a strait, supposed at first to lead to their desired goal, but which was, in fact, what is now known as Hudson’s Strait, the entrance to the great bay which bears his name, “havyng alwayes a fayre continente uppon their starreboorde syde, and a continuance still of an open sea before them.” According to Best, one of the captains, and an historian of the expedition, Frobisher was probably one of the first to discover the mistake, though he persuaded his followers that they were in the right course and the known straits. “Howbeit,” he adds, “I suppose he rather dissembled his opinion therein than otherwyse, meaning by that policie (being hymself ledde with an honorable desire of further discoverie) to enduce ye fleete to follow him, to see a further proofe of that place. And, as some of the company reported, he hath since confessed, that, if it had not bin for the charge and care he had of ye fleete and fraughted shippes, he both would and could have gone through to the South Sea, called Mare del Sur, and dissolved the long doubt of the passage which we seeke to find to the rich countrey of Cataya.”[191] Toward the latter part of July it was[89] determined not to proceed any farther, and after many difficulties and dangers they returned to Meta Incognita. It had been their intention to erect a house here, and to leave a considerable party to spend the winter. But after a full consideration it was decided that this plan was impracticable, and it was relinquished. A house of lime and stone was, however, built on the Countess of Warwick’s Island, in which numerous articles were deposited. On the last day of August the fleet, having completed their loading with more than thirteen hundred tons of ore, sailed for England, where they arrived at various times about the 1st of October, and with the loss of not more than forty men in all. The ore proved to be of very little value, and the adventurers lost a large part of what they had subscribed.[192]

Of the voyages of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who is often included among the northwest explorers, little need be said here; for though he wrote an elaborate Discourse of a Discovery for a new Passage to Cataia, to stimulate the search for a northwest passage, the voyage in which he lost his life was not extended beyond the coasts of Newfoundland.[193]


[This globe is now in the Middle Temple. (See Editorial Note E, at the end of Dr. De Costa’s chapter.) This is thought to have been made, in part at least, from Davis’s charts, which are now lost. Kohl’s Catalogue of Maps in Hakluyt, p. 23. The sketch is to be interpreted thus:—

1. Grocland.
2. Hope Sanderson.
3. London cost.
4. Marchant Yle.
5. Davies island.
6. Challer’s Cape.
7. Gilbert’s Sound.
8. Easter Point.
9. Regin. Eli. forland.
10. Fretum Davis.
11. Mare Conglelatum.
12. C. Bedford.
13. Sandrson’s tour.
14. Mont Ralegh.
15. E. Cumberland isles.
16. E. Warwicke’s forland.
17. L. Lumley’s inlet.
18. A furious overfall.
19. Terre de Labrador.
20. Dorgeo.
21. I. de Arel.(?)


Next in importance to the three voyages of Frobisher are the three voyages of Captain John Davis, who has been immortalized by the magnificent strait which bears his name, and which was discovered on his first voyage. On this voyage he sailed from Dartmouth on the 7th of June, 1585, with two vessels,—the “Sunshine,” of fifty tons, manned by twenty-three persons, and the “Moonshine,” of thirty-five tons, with seventeen men. But it was not until three weeks later that he was able to take his final departure from the Scilly Islands; and he arrived at Dartmouth, on his return, on the 30th of September. In this brief period he made some important discoveries, and sailed as far north as 66° 66′, and westward farther than any one had yet penetrated, “finding no hindrance.” He naturally concluded that he had already discovered the desired passage, and that it was only necessary to press forward in order to insure entire success. But he was compelled by stress of weather to put back, and he reached England shortly afterward. On his second voyage his little fleet was increased by the addition of the “Mermaid,” of one hundred tons, and the[90] “North Star,” a pinnace of ten tons. He sailed from Dartmouth on the 7th of May, 1586, and for a time everything promised well; but at the end of July the crew of his largest vessel became discontented, and returned with her to England. Meanwhile, the “Sunshine” and the pinnace had been sent to make discoveries to the eastward of Greenland. But, in nowise disheartened by these circumstances, Davis determined to prosecute his enterprise in the “Moonshine.” He reached, however, not quite so far north as in his previous voyage, and apparently about as far west, and arrived home early in October,—“not having done so much as he did in his first voyage,” is the judgment of one of his successors in Arctic navigation.[194]

On his third voyage he sailed from Dartmouth, on the 19th of May, 1587, with three vessels,—the “Elizabeth,” the “Sunshine,” and a smaller vessel, the “Helen,”—and arrived at the same port, on his return, on the 15th of September. His course was in the track which he had previously followed; but he added little to the knowledge he had already gained, and having been inadequately provided for a long voyage, was obliged to sail for home when he thought “the passage is most probable, the execution easie.”[195]



[It is claimed that Davis, who was in England, June, 1600, to February, 1601, probably furnished the plot, and there is manifest an endeavor in it to reconcile the old Zeno map. Davis’s discoveries are correctly placed, but Frobisher’s are on the wrong side of the Straits. It needs the following key:—

1. A furious overfall.
2. Warwick’s forelande.
3. E. Cumberland Inlet.
4. Estotiland.
5. M. Rawghley.
6. Saunderson’s towe.
7. C. Bedford.
8. Fretum Davis.
9. Desolation.
10. Warwick’s Forlande (repeated).
11. Meta incognita.
12. Mr. Forbusher’s straights.
13. Reg. E. Foreland.
14. Freyland.
15. Gronlande.

See Editorial Note F, at the end of Dr. De Costa’s chapter.—Ed.]

It is a matter for surprise, in view of the sanguine expectations of Davis, that an interval of nearly fifteen years elapsed between his return from his third voyage and the sailing of the next expedition. This was sent out at the cost of the East India Company, and consisted of two small vessels,—the “Discovery,” under the command of Captain George Waymouth, and the “Godspeed,” under John Drew. Waymouth sailed from the Thames on the 2d of May, 1602, under a contract which provided that he should sail directly toward the coast of Greenland and the sea described as Fretum Davis, and that thence he should proceed by those seas, “or as he shall find the passadge best to lye towards the parts or kingdom of Cataya or China, or the backe side of America, wthout geveng ouer the proceedinge on his course soe longe as he shall finde those seas or any ṗte thereof navigable, and any possibilitie to make way or passadge through them.”[196] In spite of these specific directions, the voyage was not productive of any important results, though it is probable that he sighted land to the north of Hudson’s Strait; and Luke Fox appears to have been right when he says that Waymouth “neither discovered nor named any thing more than Davis, nor had any sight of Groenland, nor was so farre north; nor can I conceive he hath added anything more to this designe. Yet these two, Davis and he, did (I conceive), light Hudson into his straights.”[197] Waymouth himself ascribed his failure[92] to a mutiny which occurred in the latter part of July, and which compelled him to return to Dartmouth, where he arrived on the 5th of August. An inquiry into the causes of the failure was begun shortly afterward, but no evidence has been found to show how it terminated.

Three voyages were undertaken not long afterward by the Danes, in which James Hall was the chief pilot; and one by the English, under the command of John Knight, in a pinnace of forty tons, sent out by the East India and Muscovy companies. But each of these voyages had for its chief object the discovery of gold and silver mines, and though they all seem to have followed in the track of Frobisher, they added little or nothing to the knowledge of Arctic geography, and contributed nothing toward the solution of the problem of a northwest passage. The first of these expeditions, in which both Hall and Knight were employed, consisted of two small ships and a pinnace, and sailed from Copenhagen on the 2d of May, 1605. After coasting along the western shore of Davis Strait as far north as 69°, the ships reached Elsinore on their return early in August. The next year a fleet of four ships and a pinnace was sent out, with Hall as pilot-major. They sailed from Elsinore on the 29th of May, but were prevented by the ice and stormy weather from reaching as far north as before, and after much delay they returned to Copenhagen on the 4th of October. In 1607 Hall accompanied a third expedition, consisting of two vessels, which was equally unproductive of results. When they had reached no farther than Cape Farewell, on the southern coast of Greenland, they were compelled to return, from causes which are variously stated, but which were probably complicated by a mutinous spirit in the crew.

In the same year with Hall’s second voyage, Knight sailed from Gravesend, on the 18th of April. Two months afterward he made land on the coast of Labrador; and the captain and five men went on shore to find a convenient place for repairing their vessel. Leaving two men with their boat, the captain and three men went to the highest part of the island. They did not return that day, and on the following day the state of the ice was such that it was impossible to reach them, and they were never heard from afterward. The pinnace then went to Newfoundland to repair; and after encountering many perils, reached Dartmouth on the 24th of December. Hall made a fourth voyage, in 1612, in two small vessels fitted out by some merchant-adventurers in London. In this voyage he was mortally wounded in an encounter with the Esquimaux on the coast of Labrador. His death destroyed all hope of a successful prosecution of the enterprise, and shortly afterward the vessels returned to England.

Henry Hudson had already acquired a considerable reputation as a bold and skilful navigator, and had made three noteworthy voyages of discovery when he embarked on his voyage for northwest exploration. On the 17th of April, 1610, he sailed from Gravesend in the “Discovery,” a vessel of only fifty-five tons, provisioned for six months; and on the 9th of June he arrived off Frobisher’s Strait. He then sailed southwesterly, and entering[93] the strait which bears his name, passed through its entire length, naming numerous islands and headlands, and finally, on the 3d of August, saw before him the open waters of Hudson’s Bay. Three months were spent in examining its shores, and on the 10th of November his vessel was frozen in. She was not released until the 18th of June in the following year, and six days afterward a mutiny occurred. Hudson and his son, with six of the crew who were either sick or unfit for work, were forced into a shallop, where they were voluntarily joined by the carpenter; and then the frail boat was cut loose, and the mutineers set sail for home, leaving their late master and his companions to the mercy of the waves or death by starvation. They were never seen or heard of again; but after encountering great perils and privations, the mutineers finally made land in Galway Bay, on the coast of Ireland. Hudson’s own account of the voyage terminates with his entrance into the bay discovered by him. For the later explorations and for the tragic end of the great navigator’s brilliant career, we are forced to trust to the narrative of one of his men, Abacuk Pricket. If we may believe the story told by him, he had no part in the mutiny; but no one can read his narrative without sharing the suspicion of Fox: “Well, Pricket, I am in great doubt of thy fidelity to Master Hudson.”[198]

Two years after Hudson sailed on his last voyage, a new expedition was sent to the northwest under the command of Sir Thomas Button. It consisted of two ships, the “Resolution” and the “Discovery,” and was provisioned for eighteen months. “Concerning this voyage,” says Luke Fox, “there cannot bee much expected from me, seing that I have met with none of the Journalls thereof. It appeareth that they have been concealed, for what reasons I know not.”[199] Button sailed from England in the beginning of May, and entering Hudson’s Strait, crossed the Bay to the southern point of Southampton Island, which he named Carey’s Swan’s Nest. He then kept on toward the western side of the Bay, to which he gave the significant name “Hope’s Check,” and coasting along the shore he discovered the important river which he called Port Nelson, and which is now known as Nelson’s River. Here he wintered, “and kept three fires all the Winter, but lost many men, and yet was supplied with great store of white Partridges and other Fowle,” says Fox.[200] On the breaking up of the ice he made a thorough exploration of the bay and of Southampton Island, and finally returned to England in the autumn, having accomplished enough to give him a foremost rank among Arctic navigators.


A little less than a year and a half after Button’s return, Robert Bylot and William Baffin embarked on the first of the two voyages commonly associated with their names.

They sailed from the Scilly Islands on Good Friday, April 7, 1615, in the “Discovery,” a ship of about fifty-five tons, in which Bylot had already made three voyages to the northwest. Following a course already familiar to him, they passed through Hudson’s Strait, and ascended what is now known as Fox Channel. Here and at the western end of Hudson’s Strait they spent about three weeks, and then sailed for home, where they arrived in the early part of September.


Passe’s engraving is very rare. It is also reproduced by Markham, in whose Introduction are accounts of Smith, Sir Dudley Digges, Sir John Wolstenholme, and other eminent patrons of Arctic exploration in that day. See Belknap’s American Biography, ii. 9.

Their next voyage was one of far greater interest and importance, and ranks among the most famous of the Arctic voyages. They sailed again in the “Discovery,” leaving Gravesend on the 26th of March, 1616, with a company numbering in all seventeen persons; and coasting along the western shore of Greenland and through Davis Strait, they visited and explored[95] both shores of the great sea which has ever since borne the name of Baffin’s Bay. Here they discovered and named the important channels known as Lancaster Sound and Jones Sound, beside numerous smaller bodies of water and numerous islands since become familiar to Arctic voyagers. All this was accomplished in a short season, and on the 30th of August they cast anchor at Dover on their return.

Fifteen years elapsed, during which no important attempt was made toward the discovery of a northwest passage; but in 1631 two voyages were undertaken, to one of which we owe the quaint, gossippy narrative entitled Northwest Fox, or Fox from the Northwest Passage. Luke Fox, its author, was a Yorkshireman, of keen sense and great perseverance, as well as a skilful navigator. He had long been interested in northwest explorations; and, according to his own account, he wished to go as mate with Knight twenty-five years before. At length he succeeded in interesting a number of London merchants and other persons in the enterprise, and on the 5th of May, 1631, he set sail from Deptford in the “Charles,” a pinnace of seventy tons, victualled for eighteen months. He searched the western part of Hudson’s Bay, discovered the strait and shore known as Sir Thomas Roe’s Welcome, sailed up Fox Channel to a point within the Arctic Circle, and satisfied himself, by a careful observation of the tides, of the existence of the long-sought passage, but failed to discover it. On his return he cast anchor in the Downs on the 31st of October, “not having lost one Man, nor Boy, nor Soule, nor any manner of Tackling, having beene forth neere six moneths. All glory be to God!”[201]

On the same day on which Fox began his voyage, Captain Thomas James sailed from the Severn in a new vessel of seventy tons, named the “Maria,” manned by twenty-two persons, and, like Fox’s vessel, victualled for eighteen months. On his outward voyage he encountered many perils, and on more than one occasion his vessel barely escaped shipwreck. His explorations were confined to the waters of Hudson’s Bay, and more particularly to its southeastern part, where he wintered on Charlton Island. Here he built a house in which the ship’s company lived from December until June, enduring as best they might all the horrors of an Arctic winter on an island only a little north of the latitude of London. On the 2d of July they again set sail, but were so hampered by ice that their progress was very slow, and in the latter part of August James, with the unanimous concurrence of his officers, determined to return home. He arrived at Bristol on the 22d of October, 1632, having added almost nothing to the knowledge gained by Fox in a third of the time.



[This is the southwest corner of a folding map, 16 × 12 inches, entitled “The Platt of Sayling for the discoverye of a passage into the South Sea, 1631,1632,” which belongs to James’s Strange and Dangerous Voyage, London, 1633. Mr. Charles Deane has two copies, both with photographic fac-similes of the map made from the copy now in the Barlow Library, New York. The Harvard College copy is defective. The map has a portrait of James, “ætatis suæ, 40.” (Cf. Sabin’s Dictionary, ix. 35,711; Carter-Brown Catalogue, ii. no. 400. Quaritch priced it in 1872, £36.) The narrative was reprinted in 1740, and is in the Collections of Churchill and Harris.—Ed.]

Both voyages were substantially failures, and their want of success nearly put an end to northwestern explorations. It was more than a hundred years before the matter was again taken up in any deliberate and efficient manner. But in the long list of Arctic navigators there are no greater names than those of Frobisher, Davis, Hudson, and Baffin. With means utterly disproportioned, as it now seems, to the task which they undertook, these men accomplished results which have called forth the admiration of more than one of their successors. They did not find the new and more direct way to Cathay which they sought for; but they dispelled many geographical illusions, and every fresh advance in our knowledge of the[97] Arctic regions has only confirmed the accuracy of their statements. The story of these later explorations belongs to another part of this History; and we shall there see an energy and perseverance and an heroic endurance of hardship for the solution of great geographical problems not unworthy of the men whose voyages have been here narrated.


A COMPLETE bibliography of the northwest explorations is apart from our present purpose.[202] The principal works used in the preparation of the preceding narrative were almost all of them written by the men who were the chief actors in the scenes and incidents described, or are based on the original journals of those men. Their general accuracy and trustworthiness have never been challenged, and with some unimportant exceptions the statements of the early navigators have been confirmed by their successors. The men who first encountered the perils of those unknown seas were men of plain, straightforward character, who told in simple and unpretentious words what they saw and did. Some rectifications of their opinions and descriptions have, it is true, become necessary; in part through the imperfections of the early astronomical instruments, and in part through the difficulty, often very great, of deciding what was land and what water, even from the most careful observation. As a general rule, the early latitudes are given too high from the first of these causes; but the longitudes are substantially correct.

Of the works which are mainly compilations, the undisputed pre-eminence belongs to Hakluyt’s Voyages and Purchas’s Pilgrimes. Hakluyt was an enthusiast with regard to western discoveries, and he spared neither time nor labor to obtain trustworthy information with regard to the voyages in which he took so deep an interest. His narratives of the early voyages, so far as we have the means of verifying them, follow with almost entire accuracy the original documents, though in a few instances he has abbreviated his originals, apparently from motives of economy and the want of space. In these instances, however, the republication of the narratives by the Hakluyt Society, with the learned annotations of their thoroughly competent editors, places before the reader an exact copy of the originals. Purchas is an authority of less importance than Hakluyt, but a similar remark will apply to his accounts of the early voyages, though they are more abridged than Hakluyt’s. Luke Fox prefixed to his quaint and fascinating narrative of his own voyage an account of what had been done by his predecessors, and this must be classed among the best authorities. Of the later compilations the Chronological History[203] of Sir John Barrow, so far as it[98] covers the earlier period, should not be overlooked by any one who wishes for a full summary of what was accomplished. He was scarcely less of an enthusiast than was Hakluyt; and his statements of fact are apparently indisputable. But he was a man of strong and often of unreasonable prejudices, and his opinions, particularly regarding events near his own time, cannot always be accepted without a careful investigation of their grounds. The Narratives,[204] edited by Mr. Rundall for the Hakluyt Society, must also be classed with the compilations useful in this study.

As an attempt to find a practicable passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific, either through or around North America, every voyage early and late was a failure. The theories in accordance with which northwestern explorations were first undertaken were unsound, and the objects by which they were inspired found realization long ago in quite other ways. But not the less did those theories and those objects animate men with a zeal and self-sacrifice worthy of the Crusades, and produce results of great importance. No easier route to China and Japan was discovered to enrich the fortunate adventurers; no valuable territories were added to the realm of England; and it was an utterly barren sovereignty which Frobisher and his successors claimed. But for the disappointment of these expectations there was an ample compensation in the whaling grounds to which they pointed the way, and which have proved the fruitful source of large accessions to the wealth of nations;[205] and it was something to learn, almost from the first, that the gold mines from which so much was expected were only a delusion and a snare.

We subjoin a specific mention of some of the more important separate sources. For[99] Frobisher the student may refer to Admiral Collinson’s excellent gathering for the Hakluyt Society, as embodying the earliest monographic literature upon the Northwest search.[206] Of John Davis of Sandridge, whose exploits we are concerned with, there has sometimes been confusion with a namesake and contemporary, John Davis of Limehouse, and Mr. Froude has confounded them in his Forgotten Worthies; but a note in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Davis’s Voyages, p. lxxviii, makes clear the distinction, and is not the least of the excellences of that book, which contains the best grouping of all that is to be learned of Davis.[207]

Referring to the general collections, for the intervening voyages we come to Hudson’s explorations, and must still trust chiefly to the work of the Hakluyt Society,[208] to which must also be credited the best summary of the voyages conducted by Baffin.[209]

For Fox’s quaint and somewhat capriciously rambling narrative, the present reader may possibly chance upon an original copy,[210] but he can follow it at all events in modern collections. The author accompanied it with a circumpolar map, which is only to be found, according to Markham, in one or two copies; and a fac-simile of Markham’s excerpt of the parts interesting in our inquiry is herewith given.



A. The Zeno Influence on Early Cartography.—Frobisher’s reference to Friesland indicates the influence which the Zeno map, then for hardly a score of years before the geographers of Europe, was having upon their notions regarding the North Atlantic.

THE ZENO CHART, circa 1400.

Of this map and its curious history a full account is given in Vol. I. of the present History. It had been brought to light in Italy in 1558, and Frobisher is said to have taken it with him on his voyage. Its errors in latitude deceived that navigator. When he fell in with the Greenland shore, in 61°, he supposed himself to be at the southern limit of Friesland, that being Zeno’s latitude for that point (the southern point of his Greenland being in 66°); and thus that unaccountable insular region of the Zeno chart was put anew into the maps of the North Atlantic, and remained there for some time. Again, when Davis fell in with land in 61°, he thought it neither Friesland nor Zeno’s Greenland, but a new country, which he had found and which he named “Desolation;” and so it appears in Molineaux’s map and globe, and in Hudson’s map (given in fac-simile in Asher’s Henry Hudson), as an island south of Greenland, with a misplaced Frobisher’s Straits (still misplaced as late as the time of Hondius) separating it from[101] Greenland. Our Zeno chart must be interpreted by the following key:—

1. Engronelant (Greenland).
2. Grolandia.
3. Islanda (Iceland).
4. Norvegia (Norway).
5. Estland (Shetland Islands?).
6. Icaria.
7. Frisland (Faroe Islands?).
8. Estotiland (Labrador?).
9. Drogeo (Newfoundland or New England?).
10. Podalida.
11. Scocia (Scotland).
12. Mare et terre incognite.

Its influence can be further traced, twenty years later, in the map of the world which Wolfe, in 1598, added to his English translation of Linschoten. We annex a sketch-map of the Arctic portion, which needs to be interpreted by the key below the cut.


1. Terra Septemtrionalis.
2. Grocland.
3. Groenland.
4. Island (Iceland).
5. Friesland.
6. Drogeo.
7. Estotiland.
8. R. Nevado.
9. C. Marco.
10. Gol di S. Lorenzo.
11. Saguenay flu.
12. Canada.
13. Nova Francia.
14. Norōbega.
15. Terra de Baccalaos.
16. Do Bretan.
17. Juan.
18. R. de Tomēta.
19. S. Brādam.
20. Brasil.

Considering the doubt attached to the Zeno chart, it would seem that the earliest undoubted delineation of American parts of the Arctic land is the representation of Greenland which appears in the Ptolemy of 1482. This position of Greenland was reproduced, about ten years before Frobisher’s voyage, in Olaus Magnus’s Latin Historia, Basil, 1567, who puts on the peninsula this legend: “Hic habitant Pygmei vulgo Screlinger dicti.” There had been an earlier Latin edition of the Historia at Rome in 1555, and one in Italian at Venice in 1565: there was no English edition till 1658. (Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 269.) Ziegler’s Schondia had in Frobisher’s time been for forty years or more a source of information regarding the most northern regions. (Carter-Brown Catalogue, pp. 103, 120, for editions of 1532 and 1536.)

The cartographical ideas of the North from the earliest conceptions may be traced in the following maps, which for this purpose may be deemed typical: In 1510-12, in the Lenox Globe, which is drawn in Dr. De Costa’s chapter; the map in Sylvanus’s Ptolemy, 1511, represents Greenland as protruding from the northwest of Europe; the globe of Orontius Fine, 1531, is resolvable into a similar condition, as shown on page 11 of the present volume; Mercator’s great map of 1569, blundering, mixes the Zeno geography with the later developments; Gilbert’s map, 1576, gives an insular Greenland of a reversed trend of coast; the Lok map of 1582 may be seen on page 40, and the Hakluyt-Martyr map on page 42. The map of America[102] showing the Arctic Sea which appears in Boterus’s Welt-beschreibung, 1596, and Acosta’s map (1598) of Greenland and adjacent parts, can be compared with Wolfe’s, in Linschoten, already given in this note. Finally, we may take the Hondius maps of 1611 and 1619, in which Hondius places at 80° north this legend: “Glacis ab Hudsono detecta.”

B. Frobisher’s Voyages.—George Beste’s True Discourse of Discoverie by the North Weast, 1578, covers the three voyages, and contains two maps,—one a mappemonde, the most significant since Mercator’s, and of which in part a fac-simile is here given. The other is of Frobisher’s Straits alone. Kohl, Catalogue of Maps mentioned in Hakluyt, p. 18, traces the authorship of these charts to James Beare, Frobisher’s principal surveyor. Compare it with Lok’s map, page 40, of the present volume.


Beste’s book is very rare, and copies are in the Lenox and Carter-Brown libraries. It is reprinted by Hakluyt.

Beste’s general account may be supplemented by these special narratives:—

First Voyage. A State-paper given by Collinson, “apparently by M. Lok.” The narrative by Christopher Hall, the master, in Hakluyt. See an examination of its results in Contemporary Review (1873), xxi. 529, or Eclectic Review, iii. 243.

Second Voyage. Dionysius Settle’s account, published separately in 1577. Carter-Brown Catalogue, no. 206, with fac-simile of title. It was reprinted by Mr. Carter-Brown (50 copies) in 1869. See notice by J. R. Bartlett in N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1869, p. 363. This narrative is given in Hakluyt, vol. iii.; Pinkerton, vol. xii.; Brydge’s Restituta, 1814, vol. ii. Chippin’s French version of Settle, La Navigation du Cap. Martin Forbisher, was printed in 1578. It is in the Lenox and Carter-Brown libraries. It has reappeared at various dates, 1720, 1731, etc. From this French version of Settle was made the Latin, De Martini Forbisseri Angli navigatione in regiones occidentis et septentrionis, narratio historica ex Gallico sermone in Latinum translata per D. Joan Tho. Freigium, Norbergæ, 1580, 44 leaves. This is also in the Lenox, Carter-Brown, and Sparks (Cornell University) Collections. Cf. Sunderland Catalogue, ii. 4,650. Its value is from $10 to $30. It was reprinted with notes at Hamburg in 1675. Stevens, Hist. Coll., i. 33. Brinley, no. 28. Sabin, Dictionary, vii. 25,994. This edition is usually priced at $12 or $15. There are also German (1580, 1679, etc.) and Dutch (1599, 1663, 1678; in Aa’s Collection, 1706) editions. In the 1580 German edition is a woodcut of the natives brought to England. Huth Catalogue, ii. 556.

Third Voyage. Thomas Ellis’s narrative, given by Hakluyt and Collinson. Edward Sellman’s account is also given by Collinson.

Collinson’s life of Frobisher, prefixed to his volume, is brief; his authorities, other than those in the body of his book, are Fuller’s Worthies of England, and such modern treatises as Campbell’s Lives of the Admirals, Barrow’s Naval Worthies, Muller’s History of Doncaster, etc. S. G. Drake furnished a memoir, with a good engraving of the usual portrait, in N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., vol. iii.; and there is a Life by F. Jones, London, 1878. Biddle, in his Cabot, chap. 12, epitomizes the voyages, and they can be cursorily followed in Fox Bourne’s English Seamen, and Payne’s[103] Elizabethan Seamen. Commander Becher, in his paper in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, xii. 1, gives a useful map of the Straits, a part of which is reproduced in the accompanying cut. In the same volume of the Journal its editor enumerates the various manuscript sources, most of which have been printed, and have been referred to above.


C. Hudson’s Voyages.—The sources of our information on this navigator’s four voyages to the North are these:—

First voyage in 1607, under the auspices of the Muscovy Company, to the Northeast. A log-book, in which Hudson may have had a hand, or to which he may have supplied facts; and a few fragments of his own journal. Purchas’s Pilgrims, vol. iii.; Asher’s Henry Hudson, pp. i and 145.

Second voyage, 1608, under the auspices of the Muscovy Company, to the Northeast. A log-book by Hudson himself. Purchas’s Pilgrims, iii. 574; N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., i. 81; Asher’s Hudson, p. 23.

A map by Hondius illustrating the first and second voyage, and given by Asher in fac-simile, was originally published in Pontanus’s History of Amsterdam, Latin ed. 1611, and Dutch ed. 1614.

Third voyage, 1609, under the auspices of the East India Company, to the Northeast, where, foiled by the ice, he turned and sailed to make explorations between the coast of Maine and Delaware Bay. The journal of Juet, his companion. Purchas’s Pilgrims, vol. iii.; Asher’s Hudson, p. 45. See further in Mr. Fernow’s chapter in Vol. IV. of this History.

Fourth voyage, 1610, to the Northwest, discovering Hudson’s Strait and Hudson’s Bay. Purchas, Pilgrims, vol. iii., got his account from Sir Dudley Digges. He also gives an abstract of Hudson’s journal (Asher, p. 93); a discourse by Pricket, one of the crew, whom Purchas discredits, which is largely an apology for the mutiny which set Hudson adrift in an open boat in the bay now bearing his name (Asher, p. 98); a letter from Iceland, May 30, 1610, perhaps by Hudson himself, and an account of Juet’s trial (Asher, p. 136). Purchas added some new facts in his Pilgrimage, reprinted in Asher, p. 139.

H. Gerritsz seized the opportunity, occasioned by the interest in Hudson’s voyage and his fate, to promulgate his views of the greater chance of finding a northwest passage to India, rather than a northeast one; and in the little collection of tracts edited by him, produced first in the Dutch edition of 1612, he gives but a very brief narrative of Hudson’s voyage, which is printed on the reverse of the map showing his discoveries,—the maps, which he gives, both of the world and of the north parts of America[104] being the chief arguments of his book, the latter map being also reproduced by Asher. The original Dutch edition is extremely scarce, but four or five copies being known. A reproduction of it in 1878 by Kroon, through the photo-lithographic process, consists of 200 copies, and contains also, under the general title of Detectio freti Hudsoni, a reproduction of the Latin edition of 1613, with an English version by F. J. Millard, and an Introductory Essay on the origin and design of this collection, which, besides Gerritsz’s tract, includes others by Massa and De Quir. Sabin’s Dictionary, viii. 33,489; Asher’s Hudson, p. 267.

In the enlarged Latin translation, ordinarily quoted as the Detectio freti Hudsoni of 1612, Gerritsz inverted the order of the several tracts, giving more prominence to Hudson, as May’s expedition to the northeast had in the mean time returned unsuccessful. Huth Catalogue, ii. 744, shows better than Brunet, iii. 358, the difference between this 1612 and the 1613 editions. H. C. Murphy’s Henry Hudson in Holland. The Carter-Brown Catalogue, ii. 131, gives this little quarto the following title: Descriptio ac delineatio Geographica detectionis freti sive, Transitus ad Occasum, suprà terras Americanas in Chinam atq: Iaponem ducturi, Recens investigati ab M. Henrico Hudsono Anglo, etc., and cites the world in two hemispheres as among the three maps which it contains. A copy in Mr. Henry C. Murphy’s collection has a second title, which shows that Vitellus and not Gerritsz made the Latin translation. This other title reads: Exemplar Libelli ... super Detectione quintæ Orbis terrarum partiscui Australiæ Incognitæ nomen est: item Relatio super Freto per M. Hudsonum Anglum quæsito, ac in parte dedecte supra Provincias Terræ Novæ, novæque Hispaniæ, Chinam, et Cathaiam versus ducturo ... Latine versa ab R. Vitellio, Amstelodami ex officina Hessilii Gerardi. Anno 1612. Speaking of this little tract and the share which Gerritsz had in it, Asher, in his Henry Hudson the Navigator, says, “Around it grew in a very remarkable manner the most interesting of the many collections of voyages and travels printed in the early part of the sixteenth century.”

In a second Latin edition, 1613, Gerritsz again remodelled his additions, and gave a further account of May’s voyage. Huth Catalogue, ii. 744; Carter-Brown Catalogue, ii. 152; Tièle, Mémoire bibliographique, 1867, no. 153; Muller’s Essai d’une bibliographie néerlando-russe, 1859, p. 71.

To some copies of this second edition Gerritsz added a short appendix of two leaves, Sig. G, which is reprinted in the Kroon reproduction, and serves to make some bibliographers reckon a third Latin edition. There are in the Lenox Library six copies of the original, representing the different varieties of the Dutch and Latin texts. One of the copies in Harvard College Library has these two additional leaves, which are also in the copy in the Carter-Brown Library, whose Catalogue, ii. 152, says that the fac-simile reprint by Muller must have been made from a copy with different cuts and ornamental capitals and tail-pieces, as these are totally different from those of the Carter-Brown copy. The map of the world was repeated in this edition.

The original Dutch text has been reprinted in several later collections of voyages, published in Holland. The English translation in Purchas is incomplete and incorrect; and that of Millard, as well as the English generally in the Kroon reprint, could have been much bettered by a competent native proof-reader.

German versions appeared in De Bry and in Megiser’s Septentrio novantiquus, p. 438, both in 1613; and in 1614 in Hulsius, part xii.

There is a French translation in the Receuil d’Arrests of 1720.





Third Vice-President of the Virginia Historical Society.

HISTORY has recorded the lives of few men more renowned than Walter Ralegh,—the soldier, the sailor, the statesman, the courtier, the poet, the historian, and the philosopher. The age in which he lived, the versatility of his genius, his conspicuous services, and “the deep damnation of his taking off,” all conspired to exalt his memory among men, and to render it immortal. Success often crowned his efforts in the service of his country, and the impress of his genius is clearly traced upon her history; but his greatest service to England and to the world was his pioneer effort to colonize America, in which he experienced the most mortifying defeat. Baffled in his endeavor to plant the English race upon this continent, he yet called into existence a spirit of enterprise which first gave Virginia, and then North America, to that race, and which led Great Britain, from this beginning, to dot the map of the world with her colonies, and through them to become the greatest power of the earth.

Walter Ralegh[211] was born, in 1552, in the parish of Budleigh, in Devonshire. His father was Walter Ralegh, of Fardel, and his mother was Catherine, daughter of Sir Philip Champernown, of Modbury, and widow of Otho Gilbert, of Compton, in Devonshire. On his mother’s side he was brother to Sir John, Sir Humphrey, and Sir Adrian Gilbert,—all eminent men. He studied at Oxford with great success, but he left his books in 1569 to volunteer with his cousin, Henry Champernown, in aid of the French Protestants in their desperate struggle for religious liberty under the Prince of Condé and Admiral Coligny. He reached France in time to be present at the battle of Moncontour, and remained six years, during which time the massacre of St. Bartholomew occurred.[106] Afterward he served in the Netherlands with Sir John Norris under William of Orange in his struggle with the Spaniards.

In these wars he became not only an accomplished soldier, but a determined foe to Roman Catholicism and to the Spanish people. His contest with Spain, thus early begun, ended only with his life. It was indeed a war to the death on both sides. Elizabeth, his great sovereign, with all the courage of a hero in the bosom of a woman, sustained him in the conflict, and had the supreme satisfaction of seeing him administer a death-blow to Spanish power at Cadiz; while her pusillanimous successor rendered himself forever infamous by putting such a conqueror to death at the mandate of the Spanish King.

The claim of Spain to the New World, based upon its discovery by Columbus, fortified by a grant from Pope Alexander VI. and further strengthened by continued exploration and by settlements, was disputed, at least as regards the northern continent, by England on the strength of the Cabot voyages, of which an account has been given in the opening chapter of this volume. The English claimed that they were entitled to North America by the right of Cabot’s discovery of its mainland preceding that of Columbus, who had not then touched the mainland at the south. No serious effort was made, however, to follow up this claim by a settlement till 1578, when Elizabeth granted to Sir Humphrey Gilbert a charter looking to a permanent occupation of the country. Sir Humphrey sailed in November, 1578, with seven ships and three hundred and fifty men. One of the fleet, the “Falcon,” was commanded by Ralegh, who had already learned to be a sailor as well as a soldier. His presence with the expedition was not alone due to his attachment to his distinguished brother. He had already discovered that the power of Spain was due to the wealth she derived from her American possessions, and he earnestly desired to secure for England the same source of power. His attention had been attracted to the coast of Florida by Coligny, whose colony of Huguenots there had been brutally murdered by the Spaniards under Menendez in 1565.


The voyage of Gilbert met with disaster. In a short time all the ships except Ralegh’s were forced to return. Ralegh determined to sail for the West Indies, but when he had gone as far as the Islands of Cape de Verde, upon the coast of Africa, he was forced by a scarcity of provisions to return. He arrived at Plymouth in May, 1579, after having experienced many dangerous adventures in storms and sea-fights.

Sir Humphrey had returned before him, and was busy preparing for a renewal of the voyage; but an Order from the Privy Council, April 26, prohibited their departure. The conflicts at sea seem to have been with Spanish vessels, and complaints had been made to the Council concerning them.

Ralegh spent but little time in vain regrets, but at once took service in Ireland, where he commanded a company of English soldiers employed to suppress the insurrection headed by the Earl of Desmond, who led a mongrel force of Spaniards, Italians, and Irishmen. His service began under the Lord Justice Pelham, and was continued under his successor, Lord Grey. His genius and courage soon attracted public notice, and won for him the favor of the Queen. Upon his return in 1582 he made his appearance at court, and at once became that monarch’s favorite. No one could have been better fitted to play the rôle of courtier to this clever, passionate, and capricious woman. Ralegh is described by a contemporary as having “a good presence in a handsome and well-compacted person; a strong natural wit, and a better judgment; with a bold and plausible tongue, whereby he could set out his parts to the best advantage.” He had the culture of a scholar and the fancy of a poet, as well as the chivalry of a soldier; and he superadded to these that which was equally as attractive to his mistress,—unrivalled splendor in dress and equipage.

The Queen’s favor soon developed into magnificent gifts of riches and honor. He was given the monopolies of granting license for the export of broadcloths, and for the making of wines and regulating their prices. He was endowed with the fine estates in five counties forfeited to the Crown by the attainder of Anthony Babington, who plotted the murder of Elizabeth in the interest of Mary of Scotland; and with twelve thousand acres in Ireland, part of the land forfeited by the Earl of Desmond and his followers. He was made Lord Warden of the Stannaries, Lieutenant of the County of Cornwall, Vice-Admiral of Cornwall and Devon, and Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

One of his Irish estates was near the home of Edmund Spenser, secretary to Lord Grey during the Irish rebellion, and a visit which led to a renewal of their friendship led also to the publication, at the instance of Ralegh, of the Faerie Queene, in which Elizabeth is represented as Belphœbe.

No sooner did Ralegh find that his fortune was made, than he determined to accomplish the object of his passionate desire,—the English colonization of America. He furnished one of the little fleet of five ships with which Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed June 11, 1583, upon his last and most disastrous[108] voyage to America, and was only prevented from going with him by the peremptory order of the Queen, who was unwilling that her favorite should incur the risk of any “dangerous sea-fights.” The gallant Sir Humphrey, after taking formal possession of Newfoundland, sailed southward, but, experiencing a series of disasters, went down with his ship in a storm on his return homeward.[212]

Ralegh obtained a new charter, March 25, 1584, drawn more carefully with a design to foster colonization. Not only was he empowered to plant colonies upon “such remote heathen and barbarous lands, not actually possessed by any Christian prince nor inhabited by Christian people,” as he might discover, but the soil of such lands was to be enjoyed by the colonies forever, and the colonies planted were to “have all the privileges of free denizens and persons native of England, in such ample manner as if they were born and personally resident in our said realm of England, any law, etc., notwithstanding,” and they were to be governed “according to such statutes as shall be by him or them established; so that the said statutes or laws conform as near as conveniently may be with those of England, and do not oppugn the Christian faith, or any way withdraw the people of those lands from our allegiance.”[213]

These guarantees of political rights, which first appeared in the charter to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, were renewed in the subsequent charter of 1606, under which the English colonies were planted in America, and constituted one of the impregnable grounds upon which they afterwards maintained the struggle which ended in a complete separation from the mother country. It is doubtless to Ralegh that we are indebted for these provisions, which justified the Virginia burgesses in declaring in 1765,—

“That the first adventurers and settlers of this his Majesty’s colony and dominion brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity and all other his Majesty’s subjects since inhabiting in this his Majesty’s said colony, all the privileges, franchises, and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.”

Ralegh’s knowledge of the voyages of the Spaniards satisfied him that they had not explored the Atlantic coast north of what is now known as Florida, and he determined to plant a colony in this unexplored region.[214] Two ships were immediately made ready, and they sailed April 27, 1584, under the command of Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, for the purpose of discovery, with a view to a permanent colony.

On the 10th of May they reached the Canaries, on the 10th of June the West Indies, and on the 4th of July the American coast. They sailed[109] northward one hundred and twenty miles before they found “any entrance or river issuing into the sea.” They entered the first which they discovered, probably that now known as New Inlet, and sailing a short distance into the haven they cast anchor, and returned thanks to God for their safe arrival. Manning their boats, they were soon on the nearest land, and took possession of it in the name “of the Queen’s most excellent Majestie, as rightful Queene and Princesse of the same,” and afterwards “delivered the same over to Sir Walter Ralegh’s use, according to her Majestie’s grant and letters patents under her Highnesse great seale.” They found the land to be about twenty miles long and six miles wide, and, in the language of the report to Sir Walter,—

“very sandie and low towards the water’s side, but so ful of grapes, as the very beating and surge of the sea overflowed them, of which we found such plentie, as well there as in all places else, both on the sand and on the greene soile on the hils as in the plaines, as well on every little shrubbe, as also climing towards the tops of high cedars, that I thinke in all the world the like abundance is not to be found; and myselfe having seene those parts of Europe that most abound, find such difference as were incredible to be written.”

The report continues:—

“This Island had many goodly Woodes full of Deere, Conies, Hares, and Fowle, even in the middest of Summer, in incredible abondance. The Woodes are not such as you finde in Bohemia, Moscovia, Hercynia, barren and fruitles, but the highest and reddest Cedars of the world, farre bettering the Cedars of the Azores, of the Indies, or Lybanus; Pynes, Cypres, Sassaphras, the Lentisk, or the tree that beareth the Masticke, the tree that beareth the rind of blacke Sinamon.”

On the third day a boat with three natives approached the island, and friendly intercourse was at once established. On the next there came several boats, and in one of them Granganimeo, the king’s brother, “accompanied with fortie or fiftie men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behavior as mannerly and civill as any of Europe.” When the English asked the name of the country, one of the savages, who did not understand the question, replied, “Win-gan-da-coa,” which meant, “You wear fine clothes.” The English on their part, mistaking his meaning, reported that to be the name of the country.

The King was named Wingina, and he was then suffering from a wound received in battle. After two or three days Granganimeo brought his wife and daughter and two or three children to the ships.

“His wife was very well favoured, of meane stature, and very bashfull; shee had on her backe a long cloake of leather, with the furre side next to her body, and before her a piece of the same; about her forehead shee hade a band of white corall, and so had her husband many times; in her eares shee had bracelets of pearles hanging doune to her middle, and these were of the bignes of good pease. The rest of her women of the better sort had pendants of copper hanging in either eare; he himself had upon his head a broad plate of golde or copper, for being unpolished we knew not[110] what mettal it should be, neither would he by any meanes suffer us to take it off his head, but feeling it, it would bow very easily. His apparell was as his wives, onely the women wear their haire long on both sides, and the men but on one. They are of colour yellowish, and their haire black for the most part, and yet we saw children that had very fine auburne and chesnut-colored haire.”

The phenomenon of auburn and chestnut-colored hair may be accounted for by the fact, related by the natives, that some years before a ship, manned by whites, had been wrecked on the coast; and that some of the people had been saved, and had lived with them for several weeks before leaving in their boats, in which, however, they were lost. It was the descendants of these men, doubtless, who were found by the English.

After the natives had visited the ships several times, Captain Barlowe with seven men went in a boat twenty miles to an island called Roanoke (probably a corruption of the Indian name Ohanoak), at the north end of which “was a village of nine houses built of cedar and fortified round about with sharp trees to keep out their enemies, and the entrance into it made like a turnpike, very artificially.” There they found the wife of Granganimeo, who, with her attendants, in the absence of her husband, entertained them “with all loue and kindness, and with as much bounty (after their manner) as they could possibly devise.”

They did not attempt to explore the mainland, but returned to England, arriving about the middle of September, and carrying with them two of the natives, Manteo and Manchese. They were enthusiastic concerning all they had seen, describing the soil as “the most plentiful, sweet, fruitful, and wholesome of all the world,” and “the people most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all guile and treason, and such as live after the manner of the Golden Age.”

The Queen, not less delighted than Ralegh, named the newly-discovered country Virginia, in commemoration of her maiden life, and conferred upon Ralegh the honor of knighthood. He now had a new seal of his arms cut, with the legend, Propria insignia Walteri Ralegh, militis, Domini et Gubernatoris Virginiæ. He was soon honored also with a seat in Parliament by his native shire of Devon, and rose to eminence in that body.

Upon the return of his expedition Ralegh began to fit out a colony to be planted in Virginia. Everything was made ready by the next spring, and on the 9th of April, 1585, he sent from Plymouth a fleet of seven ships in command of his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, “with one hundred householders, and many things necessary to begin a new state.” The colony itself was put in the immediate charge of Ralph Lane, who was afterwards knighted by the King. He had seen considerable service, and was on duty in Ireland when invited by Ralegh to take command of the colony. The Queen ordered a substitute to be appointed in his government of Kerry and Clanmorris, “in consideration[111] of his ready undertaking the voyage to Virginia for Sir Walter Ralegh at her Majesty’s command.” His residence in Ireland and Ralegh’s interest there account for a number of Irish names which appear among the colonists. Captain Philip Amadas was associated with Lane as his deputy, and among those who accompanied him were two who were men of distinction. One, Thomas Cavendish, afterwards became celebrated as a navigator by sailing round the world; and another, Thomas Hariot, was a mathematician of great distinction, who materially advanced the science of algebra, and was honored by Descartes, who imposed some of Hariot’s work upon the French as his own.

On the voyage the conduct of Sir Richard Grenville gave great offence to Lane and the leading men of the colony, and Lane became convinced that Grenville desired his death. On the 26th of June they came to anchor at Wocokon, now known as Ocracoke Inlet. On the 11th of July Grenville crossed the southern portion of Pamlico Sound, and discovered three Indian towns,—Pomeiok, Aquascogoc, and Secotan. At Aquascogoc a silver cup was stolen from one of his men, and failing to recover it, they “burned and spoiled their corn, all the people being fled.” This act of harsh retribution made enemies of the inhabitants of this part of the country, and was unfortunate in its consequences.

Grenville landed the colony at Roanoke Island, and leaving Lane in charge of one hundred and seven men, he sailed for England August 25, promising to return with supplies by the next Easter. Lane at once erected a fort on the island, and then began to explore the coast and rivers of the country. The exploration southward extended about eighty miles, to the present county of Carteret; northward, about one hundred and thirty miles, to the vicinity of Elizabeth River; northwest, about the same distance, to a point just below the junction of the Meherrin and Nottoway rivers; and westward, up the Roanoke River to the vicinity of Halifax.

Lane was a man of decided ability and executive capacity. He informed himself regarding the country and its inhabitants, and protected his men from the many dangers which surrounded them. He soon became convinced that a mistake had been made in attempting a settlement on Roanoke Island, because of the dangerous coast and wretched harbor. He learned on his voyage up the Chowan, from an Indian king named Monatonon, that on going three days’ journey in a canoe up the river and four days’ journey over land to the northeast, he would come to a king’s country which lay upon the sea, whose place of greatest strength was an island in a deep bay. This information evidently pointed to Craney Island in Chesapeake Bay. Lane thereupon resolved, as soon as the promised supply arrived from England, to send ships up the coast to discover the bay, and to send men overland to establish posts, and if he found the bay to be as described, to transfer the colony to its shore.

The two natives who had been carried to England had returned with Lane. Manteo was a firm friend to the English, while Manchese became their[112] implacable enemy. Granganimeo, the brother, and Ensenore, the father, of Wingina, were also friendly, but both died within a few months after the arrival of the colony, and the king, who had changed his name to Pemisapan, did all in his power to destroy it. When Lane ascended the Roanoke, he found that the tribes along its banks, with whom he had previously entered into terms of friendship, had been informed by Pemisapan that the English designed to kill them. They had retired into the interior with their families and provisions, and Lane, whose supplies were running short, found great difficulty in subsisting his men.

The exploration of this river, called by the Indians Moratoc, was deemed of the greatest importance, as the natives reported it as flowing with a bold stream out of a rock upon the coast of the Western Ocean, and running through a land rich in minerals. During the voyage they were reduced to great straits for subsistence, but the men insisted on going farther and feeding on the flesh of dogs, rather than to give up the search. Finally they were attacked by the natives, and being without food they returned from their search for the mines and the South-Sea passage. The scarcity of provisions at Roanoke Island had now become a matter of serious concern, as the time had passed for Sir Richard Grenville to return with supplies, and Pemisapan was endeavoring to starve them out. In order to get subsistence Lane was forced to divide his men into three parties. One of these he sent to the Island of Croatoan, and another to Hatorask. Learning from Skyco, a son of King Monatonon, held as a hostage, that Pemisapan had informed him of a plot to murder the English, Lane saved his men by striking the first blow, and putting to death Pemisapan and seven or eight of his chief men.

Within a few days afterwards Sir Francis Drake, with a fleet of twenty-three sail, returning from sacking St. Domingo, Carthagina, and St. Augustine, came in sight of the Island of Croatoan, and on the 10th of June came to anchor near Roanoke Island. Drake acted in the most generous manner towards the colonists. He proposed to carry them back to England if they desired it, or to leave them sufficient shipping and provisions to enable them to make further discovery. Lane and his men, being desirous to stay, accepted the last offer, promising when they had searched the coast for a better harbor to return to England in the coming August. They had despaired of the return of Sir Richard Grenville, and they believed that Ralegh had been prevented from looking after them by the condition of public affairs in England. Sir Francis at once placed one of his ships at the disposal of Lane, and began to put provisions aboard. Before this was accomplished a storm arose, which lasted three days and threatened to destroy the whole fleet. To save themselves several of the ships put to sea, and among them the “Francis,” selected for the use of the colony, with the provisions aboard. After the storm had abated Drake offered another ship of much greater burden, it being the only one he could then spare; but it being too heavy for the harbor and not suited for their purposes, Lane[113] with the chief men determined to ask for a passage to England for the colony, which was granted them by Drake, and they arrived at Plymouth on the 27th of July, 1586, having lost but four of their number. Thomas Hariot carried with him, on the return of the colony, a carefully prepared description of the country,—its inhabitants, productions, animals, birds, and fish,—and John White, the artist of the expedition, carried illustrations in water-colors. Specimens of the productions of the country were also carried by the colonists; and of these two, though not previously unknown in Europe, through the exertions of Ralegh were brought into general use, and have long been of the greatest importance. One was the plant called by the natives uppowoc, but named by the Spaniards tobacco; the other, the root known as the potato, which was introduced into Ireland by being planted on the estate of Ralegh. In Hariot’s description of the grain called by the Indians pagatour, we easily recognize our Indian corn.

Soon after the departure of the colony a ship arrived with supplies sent by Ralegh, with a direction to assure them of further aid. Finding no one on the island, this vessel returned to England. Fifteen days after its departure Sir Richard Grenville arrived with three ships well provisioned, but finding the island desolate, and searching in vain for the colony or any information concerning it, he also returned, leaving, however, fifteen men with provisions for two years. This was done to retain possession of the country, and in ignorance of the hostility of the natives and of the purpose of Lane to abandon that locality as a settlement. Though seemingly wise and proper, it proved to be the source of further misfortune.

Sir Walter Ralegh, upon receiving the report of Lane, determined to make no further effort to settle Roanoke Island, but at once began to prepare for a settlement upon Chesapeake Bay. He granted a charter of incorporation to thirty-two persons, nineteen of whom were merchants of London who contributed their money, and thirteen, styled “the Governor and Assistants of the city of Ralegh in Virginia,” who adventured their persons in the enterprise. Of the nineteen styled merchants, ten were afterwards subscribers to the Virginia Company of London which settled Jamestown. Among them were Sir Thomas Smith, for years the chief officer of that company, and one of the two Richard Hakluyts. John White was selected as the governor, and with him were sent one hundred and fifty persons, including seventeen women. They were carried in three ships in charge of Simon Ferdinando, with directions to visit Roanoke Island and take away the men left there by Sir Richard Grenville, and then to steer for Chesapeake Bay. On July 22, 1587, they arrived at Hatorask, and White, taking with him forty of his best men, started in the pinnace to Roanoke Island.

Ferdinando, who was a Spaniard by birth, was either acting in the interest of Spain or was angered by his difficulties with White. He had purposely separated from one of the ships during the voyage, and instead[114] of carrying the colony to Chesapeake Bay, as he had agreed, he no sooner saw White and his men aboard the pinnace for Roanoke Island, than he directed the sailors to bring none of the men back, on the pretext that the summer was too far spent to be looking for another place. The colony was thus forced to remain upon the island. They found evidence of the massacre by the savages of the men left by Grenville, and they soon experienced the hostility of the Indians toward themselves.

Manteo, who had gone to England with Lane, returned with White, and was of the greatest service to the colony. By the direction of Ralegh he “was christened in Roanoke, and called lord thereof, and of Dasamonguepeuk, in reward of his faithful service.” On the 18th of August Eleanor, daughter of the governor and wife of Ananias Dare one of the assistants, gave birth to a daughter, “and because this child was the first Christian born in Virginia, she was named Virginia.”

The little vessel, from which Ferdinando had parted company, arrived safely with the rest of the colony aboard in a few days, and the men who landed on the island, all told, were one hundred and twenty souls.

When the time came for the ships to return to England it was determined by the unanimous voice of the colony to send White back to represent their condition and to obtain relief. He at first refused to go, but at last yielded to their solicitation, and on the 5th of November arrived in England.

When White landed he found the kingdom alarmed by the threatened Spanish invasion. Ralegh, Grenville, and Lane were all members of the council of war, and were bending every energy toward the protection of England from the Spanish Armada. Ralegh’s genius shone forth conspicuously in this crisis, and his policy of defending England on the water by a well-equipped fleet was not only adopted, but has been steadily pursued since, and has resulted in her becoming the great naval power of the world.

Ralegh did not forget his colony, however, and by the spring he had fitted out for its relief a small fleet, which he placed under the command of Sir Richard Grenville. Before it sailed every ship was impressed by the Government, and Sir Richard was required to attend Sir Walter, who was training troops in Cornwall. Governor White, with Ralegh’s aid, succeeded in sailing for Virginia with two vessels, April 22, 1588, but encountering some Spanish ships and being worsted in a sea-fight, he was forced to return to England, and the voyage was abandoned for the time. White was not able to renew his effort to relieve the colony during the year 1589, but during the next year, finding that three ships ready to sail for the West Indies at the charges of John Wattes, a London merchant, had been detained by the order prohibiting any vessel from leaving England, he applied to Ralegh to obtain permission for them to sail, on condition that they should take him and some others with supplies to Roanoke Island. After obtaining permission to sail on this condition, the owner and commanders[115] of the ships refused to take any one aboard except White; and as they were in the act of sailing, and White had no time to lodge complaint against them, he went aboard, determined alone to prosecute his search. On the 15th of August they came to anchor at Hatorask. When White left the colony they had determined to remove fifty miles into the interior, and it had been agreed that they should carve on the trees or posts of the doors the name of the place where they were seated, and if they were in distress a cross was to be carved above the name. White found no one on the island, but the houses he had left had been taken down and a fort erected, which had been so long deserted that grass was growing in it. The bark had been cut from one of the largest trees near the entrance, and five feet from the ground, in fair capital letters, was cut the word Croatoan, without any sign of distress. Further search developed the fact that five chests, buried near the fort, had been dug up and their contents destroyed. White recognized among the fragments of the articles some of his own books, maps, and pictures. He concluded that the colony had removed to Croatoan, the island from which Manteo came, whose inhabitants had been friendly to the English. White at once begged the captain of the ship to carry him to Croatoan, which the captain promised to do; but a violent storm preventing, he finally determined to sail for England, where they arrived on the 24th of October. This was White’s fifth and last voyage, as he states in his letter to Hakluyt in 1593. His disappointment produced despondency, and he abandoned all hope of relieving the colony, with whom he had left his daughter and grandchild.

Ralegh had already spent forty thousand pounds in his several efforts to colonize Virginia, and he found himself unable to follow up his design from his own purse alone. He thereupon leased his patent to a company of merchants, hoping thus to achieve his object. But in this he was disappointed. He did not abandon all hope of final success, however, but continued to send out ships to look for his lost colony. In 1602 he made his fifth effort to afford them help by sending Captain Samuel Mace, a mariner of experience, with instructions to search for them. Mace returned without executing his orders, and Ralegh wrote to Sir Robert Cecil on the 21st August that he would send Mace back, and expressed his faith in the colonization of Virginia in these words, “I shall yet live to see it an Englishe nation.” He lived, indeed, to see his prediction verified, but not until he was immured in the Tower of London. During the last years of Elizabeth’s reign he continually pressed the Secretary and Privy Council for facilities to resume his schemes, but without success; and he finally abandoned all hope of finding the colony left at Roanoke Island.

What became of this colony was long a question of anxious inquiry, only to be solved by the information obtained from the Indians after the English settled at Jamestown. It was then ascertained that they had intermixed with the natives, and, after living with them till about the time of the[116] arrival of the colony at Jamestown, had been cruelly massacred at the instigation of Powhatan, acting under the persuasions of his priests.[215] Only seven of them—four men, two boys, and a young maid—had been preserved from slaughter by a friendly chief. From these was descended a tribe of Indians found in the vicinity of Roanoke Island in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and known as the Hatteras Indians. They had gray eyes, which were found among no other tribes, and claimed to have white people as their ancestors.

The failure of Ralegh’s efforts to colonize Virginia may be ascribed to the inherent difficulties of the enterprise, increased by the inexperience of those sent out; to the unfortunate selection of the place of settlement; and, above all, to the war with Spain, which prevented Ralegh from taking proper care of the infant colony until it could become self-sustaining.

But although the colonies he sent to Virginia perished, to Ralegh must be awarded the honor of securing the possession of North America to the English. It was through his enterprise that the advantages of its soil and climate were made known in England, and that the Chesapeake Bay was fixed upon as the proper place of settlement; and it was his genius that created the spirit of colonization which led to the successful settlement upon that bay.

Ralegh incurred the displeasure of the Queen in 1592 by his marriage with Elizabeth Throgmorton, her beautiful maid of honor. He was more than compensated, however, by the acquisition of a faithful and loving wife, who was in every way worthy of him. The jealous Queen sent them both to the Tower. After a few months’ imprisonment Sir Walter was released, that he might superintend the division of the rich spoil taken in the Spanish ship “Madre de Dios,” on her return from the West Indies, by a privateering fleet which he had sent out. The Queen was personally interested in this enterprise, and got the lion’s share of the profits. Afterward he was permitted to retire with his wife to his estate, and there he matured his plans for a voyage to Guiana, which he had been long considering. His colony had found no mines in Virginia, and he longed to make England the rival of Spain in mineral wealth.

Spanish travellers had reported that the natives told of a city of gold called “El Dorado,” which was situated in the unexplored region of the northeastern portion of South America, known as the “Empire of Guiana.” Between the years 1530 and 1560 a number of expeditions had been sent by the Spaniards to this unknown land. They had proved unsuccessful, and been attended with great loss of life and money. Ralegh was seized with a desire to visit this region and secure its riches. In 1594 he sent out Jacob Whiddon, with instructions to examine the coast contiguous to the River Orinoco, and to explore that river and its tributaries. Whiddon met at the Island of Trinidad with Antonio de Berreo, the Spanish governor, who was himself planning an exploration of the region along the Orinoco,[117] and who opposed every obstacle to the success of Whiddon’s mission. Ralegh’s agent returned to England towards the close of the year with but little trustworthy information. Sir Walter continued his preparations, however, and on February 9, 1595, with a squadron of five ships, he sailed from Plymouth for Trinidad, having aboard one hundred officers, soldiers, and gentlemen adventurers. Before the end of March he arrived at Trinidad. He captured the town of St. Joseph, and took Berreo prisoner. Treating his captive with kindness, Ralegh soon learned from him what he knew of Guiana. He was informed by Berreo that the empire of Guiana had more gold than Peru; that the imperial city called by the Spaniards “El Dorado” was called by the Indians “Manoa,” and was situated on a lake of salt water two hundred leagues long, and that it was the largest and richest city in the world. Berreo showed Sir Walter a copy of a narrative by Juan Martinez of his journey to Manoa, which had induced Berreo to send a special messenger to Spain to get up an expedition for the conquest of El Dorado, or, as it was then called, “Laguna de la Gran Manoa.”

This narrative appeared to confirm the marvellous tales concerning El Dorado which had so long obtained credence. Ralegh did not rely on Berreo, however, but sought out the oldest among the Indians on the island, and inquired of them concerning the country, its streams and inhabitants. He then started upon his perilous voyage up the Orinoco, with four boats and provisions for a month. He entered by the most northern of the divisions through which that remarkable river flows into the sea, and after struggling against its rapid, various, and dangerous currents for more than a month, and reaching the mouth of the Caroni, and ascending that stream some forty miles to the vicinity of its falls, he was forced by the rising of the river to return,—finding that his farther progress was not only prevented thereby, but his return made dangerous. He supposed he had gone four hundred miles by the windings of the river, and he was still more than two hundred miles from the country of which Manoa was the capital, according to the reckoning of Berreo. Ralegh did not find the rich deposits of gold he had hoped for, but saw, as he supposed, many indications of that metal, and secured specimens of ores and precious stones. He found that the Spaniards had previously traversed the country contiguous to the river, and been cruel in their treatment of the natives. He informed them that his Queen, whose portrait he showed them, was the enemy of the Spaniards, and that he came to deliver them from their tyranny. He soon made them his fast friends by his kindness, and an old chief, Topiawari, promised to unite the several tribes along the river in a league against the Spaniards by the time Sir Walter should return. This chief gave his son to Ralegh as a pledge of his fidelity, and received in return two Englishmen, who were instructed to learn what they could of the country, and, if possible, to go to the city of Manoa.

Ralegh arrived in England in the latter part of the summer of 1595, after laying under contribution several Spanish settlements on the way. He[118] published a glowing account of his voyage, in which he related not only the wonderful things he had seen, but the more wonderful things which had been told him by the Spaniards and natives. He was firmly persuaded of the existence of El Dorado, and also that there lived in Guiana the Amazons, a race of women who allowed no man to remain among them; and the Ewaipanoma, a tribe who had their eyes in their shoulders and their mouths in the middle of their breasts. The publication was eagerly read, and increased his already great reputation. But it was severely criticised at the time, as it has been since by Hume and other historians. During the present century two distinguished men—Humboldt and Schomburgk—have explored the Orinoco and the countries drained by it and its almost innumerable tributaries. They found that what Ralegh stated of the country, as coming under his own observation, was true, while many of the tales told him by others were the merest fiction.

In January, 1596, Ralegh sent Captain Laurence Keymis, a companion of his first voyage, with two ships, to renew the exploration of the Orinoco, with a view to planting a colony. He returned in June, and his report confirmed Ralegh in his belief in the mineral wealth of the country. He brought intelligence, however, of a Spanish settlement made by Berreo near the mouth of the Caroni, with the men sent out to him from Spain.

When Keymis landed in England he found that Ralegh had been partially restored to the favor of the Queen, and united with Essex and Howard in command of the force sent to attack Cadiz. The operations before that city were directed by Ralegh’s genius, and he led the van of the naval attack which resulted in the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the capture of the city. From the effects of this blow Spain never recovered, and the 21st of June, 1596, the day of the battle, marks the date of her decline as one of the great powers. During the next year he struck her another blow by the capture of Fayal.

In the year 1596 Ralegh despatched one of the smaller ships which had fought at Cadiz, to Guiana, under the command of Captain Leonard Berry, but with no important results. In 1598 he attempted to get together a fleet of thirteen ships, to be commanded by Sir John Gilbert, with which to convey a colony to the fertile valley of the Orinoco, but from some cause, not known, he failed.

His frequent failures did not dampen his ardor in the cause of colonization, but he found that it “required a prince’s purse to have it thoroughly followed out,” and he therefore endeavored to interest the Ministry in his schemes. But the end of the great Queen was approaching, and instead of aiming at the enlargement of her kingdom, her ministers were scheming for their own advancement with her successor.

The accession of James to the throne of England changed the fortunes of Ralegh. When he met the King he found the royal mind already prejudiced against him. He was displaced from the Captaincy of the Guard, and shortly afterwards was arrested on a charge of treason,[119] in plotting with the Count of Arenburg, an ambassador of the Archduke Albert, to place Lady Arabella Stuart upon the throne, and to obtain aid from the King of Spain for the purpose. The mockery of a trial which followed drew from one of his judges the statement, which succeeding ages have pronounced true, that “never before was English justice so injured or so degraded.” The brutal conduct of Sir Edward Coke who prosecuted, and of Chief-Justice Popham who presided, at the trial, and denied the request of Ralegh to be confronted with the witnesses against him, has consigned their memory to lasting infamy. That Ralegh, after spending his life in war with Spain, should plot with her to overthrow his King and put another in his place is not credible, and that the Government that prosecuted him did not believe the charge is conclusively shown by the fact, that the Count of Arenburg retained the favor of King James, and further, that some of the men prominent in the prosecution were at the time in the paid service of Spain.

James did not proceed to execute the sentence of death which his corrupt court had pronounced against Ralegh, but kept him a prisoner in the Tower for thirteen years. In prison he devoted himself to the study of chemistry and to literary composition; and the great wrong done in depriving him of his liberty resulted in that literary treasure, the History of the World.

As prison life became more and more irksome to Ralegh, he attempted to relieve himself from it by obtaining employment in Virginia or Guiana, promising the King rich returns if he would but permit him to visit either country. Finally, by bribing those who had the ear of the King, he was released January 30, 1616, to prepare for a voyage to Guiana. He had been assured by Keymis that a rich mine existed near the mouth of the Caroni, and he pledged himself to find it or else to bear all the expenses of the expedition. Keymis was to go along with him, and also a sufficient force “to defend him against the Spaniards inhabiting upon the Orenocke, if they offered to assaile him,—not that it is meant to offend the Spaniards there, or to beginne any quarrell with them, except themselves shall beginne the warre.” It was said in London at the time that Ralegh wanted to obtain a pardon under the Great Seal, but it required a further expenditure of money which he needed in his expedition, and he was advised by Bacon that the King’s commission under which he sailed was equivalent to a pardon. The release of Ralegh enabled him to see Pocahontas, who was in England in 1616, and we can well conceive with what interest he beheld her who had so much aided in realizing his hope of seeing Virginia an English nation.

King James had fallen under the influence of Count Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, to whom Ralegh was particularly obnoxious on account of his lifelong enmity to Spain. The Count attempted to prevent the sailing of the expedition, but failing in that, he obtained from the King Ralegh’s plans, and at once transmitted them to Madrid, where steps were immediately taken to thwart them. In June, 1617, Ralegh sailed with eleven[120] vessels from Plymouth, having with him his son, young Walter Ralegh, Captain Keymis, and four hundred and thirty-one men. He arrived at Trinidad in December, suffering from the effects of a violent fever. He was too feeble to attempt the ascent of the Orinoco, but sent forward his son and Keymis. When they approached St. Thomas, settled since his first voyage, they were attacked by the Spaniards. The conflict ended in the taking of the town, but at the cost of young Walter Ralegh’s life. Keymis continued the search for the mine, and with a part of his men reached the vicinity of the place at which he had located it on his previous voyage. The hostility of the Spaniards reduced his numbers so that he felt forced to return to St. Thomas for reinforcements. After returning to that point he became despondent, and finally burnt the town and returned to Trinidad, taking along with him documents found at St. Thomas, which showed that the plans of Ralegh, communicated to the King, had been betrayed to the Court of Madrid. When Keymis met Ralegh and saw how he was affected by the failure of the expedition and the loss of his son, and heard his reproaches, he was seized with remorse at the thought that upon him rested the responsibility for the failure, and committed suicide.

Ralegh, utterly dispirited and broken-hearted, now turned his face homeward, and arrived at Plymouth early in July, 1618. He was arrested upon his arrival, by order of the King, on the charge of breaking the peace with Spain. No trial was had upon this charge, which could not have been sustained; but as the King of Spain demanded that he should be put to death James sought for a legal cover for compliance, and upon the advice of Bacon determined to issue a warrant for his execution upon the conviction of 1603. Ralegh was brought before the Court of King’s Bench on the 28th of October, and asked what he had to allege in further stay of execution. He pleaded his commission from the King, giving him command of the expedition to Guiana, as working a pardon, but was told that “Treason must be pardoned by express words, not by implication.” Nothing remained but to execute the death-warrant, already drawn by Bacon and signed by the King. He was beheaded on the next day, meeting death with the greatest fortitude. His execution excited the horror and indignation of the Protestant world, and King James was at once arraigned at the bar of public opinion. He called to his defence the genius of his Lord Chancellor, and Bacon attempted to justify him by publishing a disgraceful attack upon Ralegh’s fame. But the effort was in vain. The world acquitted Ralegh of the charges which had been made the pretext of his judicial murder, and adjudged King James to be the real criminal.



THE life of Sir Walter Ralegh, reprehensible in some of its parts, but admirable in most and brilliant in all, has been variously portrayed. Lord Bacon in 1618 published in quarto A Declaration of the Demeanor and Carrige of Sir Walter Ralegh, as well in his Voyage as in and since his Return, etc., intending it as a justification of the conduct of King James in beheading him; but it grossly misrepresented him. He began with the statement that “Kings are not bound to give account of their actions to any but God alone;” but the whole apology is framed upon the theory that King James was forced by the popular voice to give an account of this base action. It appears from a letter of Bacon to the Marquis of Buckingham, dated Nov. 22, 1618,[216] that the King made very material additions to the manuscript after Bacon had prepared it.

The first Life of Ralegh was published with his works not long after his death. The name of the author is not given, and it is not a full narrative, but was written during his life or soon after his death.

The next publication was under the style of The Life of the Valiant and Learned Sir Walter Ralegh, Knight, with his Tryal at Winchester, London: printed by J. D. for Benj. Shirley and Richard Tonsin, 1677. This has sometimes been attributed to James Shirley, the dramatist, who was a contemporary of Ralegh. The narrative, however, was little more than what was already known from books familiar to the public.

In 1701 the Rev. John Prince, a fellow-Devonian, published in his Worthies of Devon a short memoir of Ralegh, which was the best account of its subject that had then appeared. He was able to throw light upon some of the obscurer portions of his life by his local knowledge, and his book is still worthy of perusal.

No other Life of Ralegh of value appeared until 1733, when William Oldys published his work, which showed great industry in collecting and judgment in arranging his material. For near a century it was the standard Life of Ralegh, and was the source from which writers derived their materials. Notwithstanding the criticism of Gibbon, that “it is a servile panegyric or flat apology,” this work is of great value. It contains all that was accessible, when it was published, from printed records, and much information derived from the descendants of Ralegh and from his contemporaries.[217]

Dr. Thomas Birch published three several Lives of Ralegh,[218]—the first in 1734, in the General Dictionary, Historical and Critical. This author corresponded with the descendants of Ralegh, and collected various anecdotes of him, but he made no additions of real value to the work of Oldys.

The next work worthy of mention was by Arthur Cayley in 1805, although a dozen Lives perhaps appeared between Birch’s and this. Cayley made valuable additions to the knowledge concerning Ralegh which Oldys had gathered. He brought to light several new and valuable documents, which threw additional light upon his subject.[219]

In 1830 Mrs. A. T. Thompson published a Life of Ralegh in London, which was republished in Philadelphia in 1846, containing fifteen original letters then first printed from the collection in the State-Paper Office, throwing light on the share he took in the political transactions of his times. It was of but little additional value so far as its other materials were concerned.


In 1833 Patrick Fraser Tytler published a Life of Ralegh, “with a Vindication of his Character from the Attacks of Hume[220] and other writers.” This writer added several original documents to the material previously used, but his publication is more justly entitled to the criticism of Gibbon on the work of Oldys than was that book. He first carefully traced out the conspiracy which brought Ralegh to the scaffold.

In 1837 there appeared in Lardner’s Cabinet of Biography, among the Lives of the British Admirals, an excellent life of Ralegh by Robert Southey, the poet. The author’s only addition to the knowledge afforded by previous writers was in reference to the Guiana expeditions, the additional information being drawn from Spanish sources.

In 1847 the Hakluyt Society published Ralegh’s accounts of his voyages to Guiana, with notes and a biographical memoir by Sir Robert H. Schomburgk. This memoir is an admirable summary of what was then known of Ralegh, and the publication is a complete vindication of Ralegh’s statements and conduct in reference to Guiana. The notes of the author are of the greatest value. He was a British Commissioner to survey the boundaries of Guiana in 1841, and traversed the country visited by Ralegh and those sent out by him. He also had the benefit of Humboldt’s previous exploration of the country. This writer published for the first time two valuable manuscripts in the British Museum, both from the pen of Ralegh. One was written about the year 1596, and entitled “Of the Voyage for Guiana,” and the other was the journal of his last voyage to that country.

In 1868 there was published in London the most valuable of all the biographies of Ralegh. It was written by Edward Edwards, and is “based on contemporary documents preserved in the Rolls House, the Privy Council Office, Hatfield House, the British Museum, and other manuscript repositories, British and foreign, together with his letters now first collected.” The author also had the advantage of the correspondence of the French ambassador at London during the latter part of Ralegh’s life. He has cleared up some of the obscure parts of Ralegh’s career, and has, not only by the very full collection of his letters, but by the admirable treatment of his subject, rendered invaluable service to his memory.[221]

Another Life of Ralegh, published in the same year (1868) by St. John, is also the embodiment of the latest information, and is better adapted to the general reader than that of Edwards, and elucidates some points more fully.

The voyage of Amadas and Barlow to Roanoke Island in 1584 was related by the latter in a Report addressed to Sir Walter Ralegh. The voyage of Sir Richard Grenville in 1585, conveying Ralph Lane and the colony under his command, was related by one of the persons who accompanied Grenville, and the account of what happened after their arrival was written by one of the colonists, probably Lane himself.[222] An account of the country, its inhabitants[123] and productions, was written by Thomas Hariot (b. 1560; d. 1621), one of the colony.[223] There are also accounts of the voyages of John White to Virginia written by himself.


These several publications are found together in Hakluyt, and are of the highest authority. They have been republished by Francis L. Hawks, D.D., LL.D., with valuable notes, in the first volume of his History of North Carolina, published in 1857. Dr. Hawks was a native of North Carolina, and personally familiar with its coast, and thus enabled to fix the localities mentioned in the early voyages. His book is accompanied with valuable maps. He defends Lane with much ability from the attacks of Bancroft and others.[224]

The letters of Ralph Lane constitute a very valuable addition to the history of Lane’s colony, and show that the disputes between Lane and Grenville had in all probability much to do with Lane’s abandonment of the enterprise.





The voyages to Guiana are related by Ralegh himself.[225] The journal of the second voyage is given by Schomburgk from the original manuscript in the British Museum. The collections of the works of Ralegh show his several other writings concerning Guiana, among which are an “Apology for the Voyage to Guiana,” written in 1618, on his way from Plymouth to London as a prisoner; to gain time for the preparation of which he feigned sickness at Salisbury. Expecting to be put to death, he was determined before he died fully and elaborately to justify to the world his last expedition, which had been grossly misrepresented. It was not published till 1650.

In Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. iii., there is published a letter, written Nov. 17, 1617, “from the River Aliana, on the coast of Guiana,” by a gentleman of the fleet, who signs his initials “R. M.” It is entitled Newes of Sir Walter Rawleigh, and gives the orders he issued to the commanders of his fleet, and some account of the incidents of the expedition.[226]

In Sir Walter Ralegh’s History of the World he often illustrates his subject by the incidents of his own life, and thus we have in the book much of an autobiography.

NOTE.—At the charge of an American subscription a Ralegh window has been placed in St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, London; and a sermon, Sir Walter Raleigh and America, was preached by the Rev. Canon Farrar, at the unveiling, May 14, 1882.



VIRGINIA, 1606-1689.


Corresponding Secretary of the Virginia Historical Society.

ON the petition of Hakluyt (then prebendary of Westminster), Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, and other “firm and hearty lovers of colonization,” James I., by patent dated the 10th of April, 1606, chartered two companies (the London and the Plymouth), and bestowed on them in equal proportions the vast territory (then known as Virginia) lying between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude, together with the islands within one hundred miles of the coast stretching from Cape Fear to Halifax.

The code of laws provided for the government of the proposed colonies was complicated, inexpedient, and characteristic of the mind of the first Stuart. For each colony separate councils appointed by the King were instituted in England, and these were in turn to name resident councillors in the colonies, with power to choose their own president and to fill vacancies. Capital offences were to be tried by a jury, but all other cases were left to the decision of the council. This body was, however, to govern itself according to the prescribed mandates of the King. The religion of the Church of England was established, and the oath of obedience was a prerequisite to residence in the colony. Lands were to descend as at common law, and a community of labor and property was to continue for five years. The Adventurers, as the members of the Company were termed, were authorized to mine for gold, silver, and copper, to coin money, and to collect a revenue for twenty-one years from all vessels trading to their ports. Certain articles of necessity, imported for the use of the colonists, were exempted from duty for seven years. Sir Thomas Smith, an eminent merchant of London, who had been the chief of the assignees of Sir Walter Raleigh and ambassador to Russia, was appointed treasurer of the Company.

But the body of the men who composed the expedition had little care for forms of government. A wilder chimera than the impractical devices of[128] the selfish and pedantic monarch possessed them. “I tell thee,” says Seagull, in the play of Eastward Ho! which was popular for years, “golde is more plentifull there than copper is with us; and for as much redde copper as I can bring I’ll have thrise the weight in gold. Why, man, all their dripping-pans ... are pure gould; and all the chaines with which they chaine up their streets are massie gold; and for rubies and diamonds, they goe forth in Holydayes and gather ‘hem by the seashore, to hang on their children’s coates and sticke in their children’s caps, as commonly as our children weare saffron gilt brooches and groates with holes in ‘hem.” A life of ease and luxury is pictured by Seagull, and, as the climax of allurement, with “no more law than conscience, and not too much of eyther.”[227] The expedition left Blackwall on the 19th of December, but was detained by “unprosperous winds” in the Downs until the 1st of January, 1606-7. It consisted of three vessels,—the “Susan Constant,” of one hundred tons, with seventy-one persons, in charge of the experienced navigator Captain Christopher Newport (the commander of the fleet); the “God-Speed,” of forty tons, Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, carrying fifty-two persons; and the “Discovery,” of twenty tons, Captain John Ratcliffe, carrying twenty persons. The crews of the ships must have constituted thirty-nine of the total of these, as the number of the first planters was one hundred and five. In the lists of their names, more than half are classed as “gentlemen,” and the remainder as laborers, tradesmen, and mechanics. Two “chirurgeons,” Thomas Wotton, or Wootton, and Wil. Wilkinson, are included; the service of the first of them in a professional capacity is afterwards noted. Sailing by the old route of the West Indies, the Virginia coast was reached on the 26th of April, and in Chesapeake Bay on that night the instructions from the King were examined. These, with a mystery well calculated to promote mischief, had been confided to Newport, in a sealed box, with the injunction that it should not be opened until he reached his destination. The councillors found to be designated were Edward Maria Wingfield, Bartholomew Gosnold, John Smith, Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, and John Kendall. Wingfield, a man of honorable birth and a strict disciplinarian, who had been a companion of Ferdinando Gorges in the European wars, was chosen president; and Thomas Studley, cape-merchant, or treasurer.

On the 29th of the month a cross was planted at Cape Henry, which was so named in honor of the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James; the name of his second son, then Duke of York, afterwards Charles I., being perpetuated in the opposite cape. The point at which the ships anchored the next day was designated, in thankful spirit, Point Comfort. On the 13th of May, 1607, the colonists landed at a peninsula on the northern bank of the river known to the natives as Powhatan, after their king, but to which the English gave the name James River. Upon this spot, about fifty miles[129] from its mouth, they resolved to build their first town, to which they also gave the name of the English monarch. The selection of this site is said to have been urged by Smith and objected to by Gosnold. The better judgment of the latter was vindicated in the sequel. Smith—at this time not yet twenty-eight years of age, a man the most remarkably endowed among those nominated for the council, and whose administrative capacity was to be so prominently evidenced—was at first excluded from his seat because, says Purchas, he had been “suspected of a supposed mutinie” on the voyage over.[228] This proscription in all probability had no more warrant than in the jealousy which the recent adventurous career and the confident bearing of Smith may be supposed to have excited, since he was admitted to office on the 10th of June following. The colonists at once set about building fortifications and establishing the settlement. Newport, Smith, and twenty-three others in the mean time ascended the river in a shallop on a tour of exploration. At an Indian village below the falls was found a lad of about ten years of age with yellow hair and whitish skin, who, it has been assumed, was the offspring of some representative of the ill-fated Roanoke Colony left by White, of which it is narrated that seven persons were preserved from slaughter by an Indian chief.[229] On the 26th of May, the day before the return of the explorers to Jamestown, the unfinished fort (not completed until the 15th of June) was attacked by the savages, who were repulsed by the colonists under the command of Wingfield. The colonists had one boy killed and eleven men wounded, one of whom died. Communion was administered by the chaplain, the Rev. Robert Hunt, on Sunday, the 21st of June, and on the next day Newport sailed for England in the “Susan Constant,” laden with specimens of the forest and with mineral productions. A bark or pinnace, with provisions sufficient to sustain the colonists for three months, was left with them. The prospect of the men thus cast upon their own resources, was not promising. Disturbed by the fatuous hope of discovering gold, divided by faction, unused to the labor and hardships to which they were now subjected, and in daily peril from the hostility of the savages, the difficulties of success were enhanced by the insalubrity of their ill-chosen settlement. By September fifty of them, including the intrepid Gosnold, had died, and the store of damaged provisions upon which they mainly depended was nearly exhausted. Violent dissension ensued, which resulted, on the 10th of the month, in the displacement of Wingfield by Ratcliffe in the office of president, and the deposing, imprisonment, and finally the execution of Kendall; by which the Council, never more than seven in number (including Newport), and in which no vacancies had been filled, was reduced to three only,—Ratcliffe, Smith, and Martin. Reprehensible as the conduct of the colonists at this period may have been, they yet held religious observances in regard. Their piety and reverence are instanced both by Smith and Wingfield. In Bagnall’s narrative in the Historie of the first, it is noted that “order was daily to haue[130] Prayer, with a Psalme;”[230] and Wingfield states that when their store of liquors was reduced to two gallons each of “sack” and “aqua-vitæ,” the first was “reserued for the communion table.”[231]


This cut follows a sketch made about 1857 by a travelling Englishwoman, Miss Catherine C. Hopley, and shows the condition of the ruined church at that time.

Differences among the colonists being somewhat allayed, labor was resumed, habitations were provided, a church was built, and, through the courage and energy of Smith, supplies of corn were obtained from the Indians. Leaving the settlement on the 10th of December, Smith again ascended the Chickahominy to get provisions from the savages, but incurring their hostility, two of his companions, Emry and Robinson, were killed, and Smith himself was taken captive. Being released after a few weeks, on the promise of a ransom of “two great guns and a grindstone,” he returned to Jamestown. On his arrival there he found the number of the colonists reduced to forty, and that Captain Gabriel Archer had been admitted to the Council during his absence. Archer caused him to be arrested and indicted, under the Levitical law, for allowing the death of his two men; but in the evening of the same day, Jan. 8, 1607-8, Newport returned from England with additional settlers (a portion of the first supply), and at once released both Smith and Wingfield from custody. Within five or six days the fort and many of the houses at Jamestown were destroyed by an accidental fire. Newport, accompanied by Matthew Scrivener (newly arrived and admitted to the Council), with Smith as interpreter and thirty or forty others, now[131] visited Powhatan at his abode of Werowocomico. This was at Timberneck Bay, on the north side of York River. On the east bank of the bay still stands a quaint stone chimney,[232] subsequently built for Powhatan by German workmen among the colonists. Hostages were exchanged; Namontack, an Indian who was taken to England by Newport, being received from Powhatan for Thomas Savage, a youth aged thirteen, who for many years afterwards rendered important service to the colonists as interpreter. With supplies of food obtained from Powhatan and Opecancanough, the chief of the Pamunkey tribe, the party returned to Jamestown.

The ship being loaded with iron ore, sassafras, cedar posts, and walnut boards, Newport, with Archer[233] and Wingfield as passengers, sailed on the 10th of April from Jamestown, and on the 20th of May, 1608, arrived in England. The diet of the colonists was soon reduced to meal and water, and through hunger and exposure death diminished them one half. While they were engaged in re-building Jamestown and in planting, to their great joy Captain Nelson, who had left England with Newport, but from whom he had been separated by storm and detained in the West Indies, arrived in the ship “Phœnix,” with provisions and seventy settlers, being the remainder of the first supply of one hundred and twenty. He departed for England on the 2d of June with a cargo of cedar-wood, carrying Martin of the Council. Smith, in an open boat, with fourteen others,—seven gentlemen (including Dr. Walter Russell of the last arrival), and seven soldiers,—accompanied the “Phœnix” down the river, and parted from her at Cape Henry, with the bold purpose of exploring Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and establishing intercourse with the natives along their borders. To the islands lying off Cape Charles, Smith gave his own name. After a satisfactory cruise, having crossed the bay, visited its eastern shore, and explored the Potomac River some thirty miles, the party returned late in July to Jamestown for provisions. Smith again embarked on the 24th of July to complete his explorations, with a crew of twelve, similarly constituted as before, but with Anthony Bagnall as surgeon. At the head of Chesapeake Bay they were hospitably entertained by a tribe of Indians, supposed by Stith[234] to have been of the Iroquois, or Five Nations, and also by the Susquehannas, at a village on the Tockwogh (now Sassafras) River. The highest mountain to the northward observed by them was named Peregrine’s Mount, and Willoughby River was so called after the native town of Smith. The Indian tribes on the Patuxent, and the Moraughtacunds and the Wighcomoes on the Rappahannock, were visited. Richard Featherstone, a “gentleman” of the party, dying, was buried on the banks of the last-named river, which was explored[132] to the falls, near where Fredericksburg now is. Here a skirmish took place with the Rappahannock tribe. The Pianketank, Elizabeth, and Nansemond rivers were in turn examined for a few miles. From the results of these discoveries Smith composed his Map of Virginia, a work so singularly exact that it has formed the basis of all like delineations since, and was adduced as authority as late as 1873 towards the settlement of the boundary dispute between the States of Virginia and Maryland. The drawing was sent to England by Newport before the close of the year, and in 1612 was published in the Oxford Tract. Returning to Jamestown, Sept. 7, 1608, Smith was elected President of the Council over Ratcliffe (who suffered from a wounded hand and was enfeebled by sickness), and now, for the first time, he had the “letters patent” of office placed in his hands.[235] Ever firm, courageous, and persevering, he at once instituted vigorous and salutary measures adapted to the wants and conducive to the discipline of the colonists. The church was repaired, the storehouse covered, and magazines erected. Soon after, Newport arrived for the third time from England, with the second supply of settlers, seventy in number. Among them were Captains Peter Wynne and Richard Waldo, Francis West (the brother of Lord Delaware), Raleigh Crashaw, Daniel Tucker, some German and Polish artisans for the manufacture of glass and other articles, Mrs. Thomas Forest, and her maid, Ann Burras. The last named of these—the first Englishwomen in the colony—became, before the close of the year, the wife of John Laydon. This was the first marriage celebrated in Virginia. Newport had left England under the silly pledge not to return without a lump of gold, or without tidings of the discovery of a passage to the North Sea, or without the rescue of one of the settlers of the lost company of Sir Walter Raleigh. The Company added the equally impossible condition that he should bring a freight in his vessel of equal value to the cost of the expedition, which was £2,000. In case of failure in these respects, the colonists were to be abandoned to their own resources. Much valuable time was consumed by Newport in an idle coronation of Powhatan (for whose household he had brought costly presents), and in futile efforts for the accomplishment of the visionary expectations of the Company. At last there was provided by those of the colonists who remained at their labors a part of a cargo of pitch, tar, glass, and iron ore, and Newport set sail, leaving at Jamestown about two hundred settlers. The iron ore which he carried was smelted in England, and seventeen tons of metal sold to the East India Company at £4 per ton. In the preservation of the colony until the next arrival, the genius and energy of Smith were strongly but successfully taxed,—for Captain Wynne dying, and Scrivener and Anthony Gosnold, with eight others, having been drowned, he alone of the Council remained. His measures were sagacious. Corn was planted, and blockhouses were built and garrisoned at Jamestown for defence, and an outpost was established at Hog Island, to give signal of the approach of shipping.


At the last place the hogs, which increased rapidly, were kept. But being subject to the treachery of the natives, the colonists were in continual danger of attack, and were too slothful to make due provision for their wants, so that the tenure of the settlement became like a brittle thread. The store of provisions having been spoiled by damp or eaten by vermin, their subsistence now depended precariously on fish, game, and roots. The prospects of the colony were so discouraging at the beginning of the year 1609, that, in the hope of improving them, the Company applied for a new charter with enlarged privileges. This was granted to them, on the 23d of May, under the corporate name of “The Treasurer and Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for the first Colony in Virginia.” The new Association, which embraced representatives of every rank, trade, and profession, included twenty-one peers, and its list of names presents an imposing array of wealth and influence. By this charter Virginia was greatly enlarged, and made to comprise the coast-line and all islands within one hundred miles of it,—two hundred miles north and two hundred south of Point Comfort,—with all the territory within parallel lines thus distant and extending to the Pacific boundary; the Company was empowered to choose the Supreme Council in England, and, under the instructions and regulations of the last, the Governor was invested with absolute civil and military authority.

With the disastrous experience of the previous unstable system, a sterner discipline seems, under attending circumstances, to have been demanded to insure success. Thomas West (Lord Delaware), the descendant of a long line of noble ancestry, received the appointment of Governor and Captain-General of Virginia. The first expedition under the second charter, which was on a grander scale than any preceding it, and which consisted of nine vessels, sailed from Plymouth on the 1st of June, 1609.

Newport, the commander of the fleet, Sir Thomas Gates, Lieutenant-General, and Sir George Somers, Admiral of Virginia, were severally authorized, whichever of them might first arrive at Jamestown, to supersede the existing administration there until the arrival of Lord Delaware, who was to embark some months later; but not being able to settle the point of precedency among themselves, they embarked together in the same vessel, which carried also the wife and daughters of Gates. Among the five hundred colonists, were the returning Captains Ratcliffe, Archer, and Martin, divers other captains and gentlemen, and, by the suggestion of Hakluyt, a number of old soldiers[236] who had been trained in the Netherlands. On the 23d of July the fleet was caught in a hurricane; a[134] small vessel was lost, others damaged, and the “Sea Venture,” which carried Gates, Somers, and Newport, with about one hundred and fifty settlers, was cast ashore on the Bermudas. Captain Samuel Argall (a relative of Sir Thomas Smith) arrived at Jamestown in July, with a shipload of wine and provisions, to trade on private account, contrary to the regulations of the Company. As the settlers were suffering for food, they seized his supplies. Many of them at this time had gone to live among the Indians, and eighty had formed a settlement twenty miles distant from the fort. Early in August the “Blessing,” Captain Archer, and three other vessels of the delayed fleet sailed up James River, and soon after the “Diamond,” Captain Ratcliffe, appeared, without her mainmast, and she was followed in a few days by the “Swallow,” in like condition.

The Council being all dead save Smith, he, obtaining the sympathy of the sailors, refused to surrender the government of the colony; and the newly arrived settlers elected Francis West, the brother of Lord Delaware, as temporary president. The term of Smith expiring soon after, George Percy—one of the original settlers, a brother of the Earl of Northumberland, and a brave and honorable man—was elected president, and West, Ratcliffe, and Martin were made councillors.

Smith, about Michaelmas (September 29), departed for England or, as all contemporary accounts other than his own state, was sent thither “to answer some misdemeanors.”[237] These were doubtless of a venial character; but the important services of Smith in the sustenance of the colony appear not to have been as highly esteemed by the Company as by Smith himself. He complains that his several petitions for reward were disregarded, and he never returned to Virginia. Modern investigation has discredited many of the so-long-accepted narratives in which he records his own achievements and judges so harshly the motives[135] and conduct of all others of his companions; and the glamour of romance with which he invested his own exploits has been somewhat dissipated. But whatever may have been the fervor of his imagination as a historian, it was more than equalled by his fertility of resource in vital emergencies, and there is ample evidence that his services in the preservation of the infant colony were momentous. After his return to England but little is recorded of him until the year 1614, during which he made a successful voyage to New England, under the auspices of the Plymouth Company, which gained for him the title of Admiral of New England.[238] Whatever may have been the defects of Smith, the greatness of his deeds has impressed him enduringly on the pages of history as one of the most prominent figures of his period. At the time of his departure for England he left at Jamestown three ships, seven boats, a good stock of provisions, nearly five hundred settlers, twenty pieces of cannon, three hundred guns, with fishing-nets, working-tools, horses, cattle, swine, etc.

Jamestown was strongly fortified with palisades, and contained between fifty and sixty houses. The favorable prospects of the colony were soon threatened by the renewal of Indian hostilities. Provisions becoming scarce, West and Ratcliffe embarked in small vessels to procure corn. The latter, deceived by the treachery of Powhatan, was slain with thirty of his companions, two only escaping,—one of whom, Henry Spelman, a young gentleman well descended, was rescued by Pocahontas, and lived for many years among the Patowomekes. He acquired their language, and was afterwards highly serviceable to his countrymen as an interpreter. He was slain by the savages in 1622. No effort by tillage being made to replenish their provisions, the stock was soon consumed, and the horrors of famine were added to other calamities. The intense sufferings of the colonists were long remembered, and this period is referred to as “the starving time.” In six months their number was reduced to sixty, and such was the extremity of these that they must soon have perished but for speedy succor. The passengers of the wrecked “Sea Venture,” though mourned for as lost, had effected a safe landing at the Bermudas, where, favored by the tropical productions of the islands, they, under the direction of Gates and Somers, constructed for their deliverance two vessels from the materials of the wreck and cedar-wood, the largest of the vessels being of eighty tons burden. The Sabbath was duly observed by them under the faithful ministry of Mr. Bucke. Among the passengers was John Rolfe and wife,[239] to whom a male child was born on the island, who was christened Bermuda; a girl also born there was named Bermudas. Six of the company, including the wife of Sir Thomas Gates, died on the island. The company of one hundred and forty men and women embarked on the completed[136] vessels—which were appropriately named the “Patience” and the “Deliverance”—on the 10th of May, 1610, and on the 23d they landed at Jamestown. Here the church bell was immediately rung, and such of the famished colonists as were physically able repaired to the sanctuary, where “a zealous and sorrowful prayer” was offered by Mr. Bucke. The new commission being read, Percy, the acting president, surrendered the former charter and his credentials of office. The fort was in a dismantled condition, and most of the habitations had been consumed for fire-wood. So forlorn was the condition of the settlement that Gates reluctantly resolved to abandon it and to return to England by way of Newfoundland, where he expected to receive succor from trading-vessels. Some of the colonists were with difficulty restrained from setting fire to the town, Gates, with a guard to prevent it, remaining on shore until all others had embarked. A farewell volley was fired; but the leave-taking of a spot associated with so much suffering was tearless.

In the mean time, the repeated ill tidings brought by returning ships to England, and the supposed loss of the “Sea Venture” had so dismayed the members of the Company in London that many of them withdrew their subscriptions. Lord Delaware—who is characterized in the “Declaration” of the Council, in 1610, as “one of approved courage, temper, and experience”—determined to go in person as Governor and Captain-General of Virginia (the first of such title and authority), and, disregarding the comforts of home and noble station, “did bare a grate part upon his owne charge.” By his example, constancy, and resolution, “that which was almost lifeless” was revived in the Company. On Feb. 21, 1609-10, William Crashaw, a preacher at the Temple (the father of the poet eulogized by Cowley), in view of the departure of Lord Delaware, delivered before the Council and Adventurers in London a stirring sermon, which was the first preached in England to any embarking for Virginia in a missionary cause.[240] Distinct and unequivocal testimony is given by the Company, in the “Declaration” already cited, as to the reputation of settlers for the colony, none being desired but those of blameless character. Five weeks later Lord Delaware sailed with three vessels and one hundred and fifty settlers, and arrived in Virginia providentially to intercept, off Mulberry Island, Gates and his disheartened companions as they were descending the river, who returned at once to Jamestown. The fleet, following, arrived there on Sunday, the 10th of June. The first act of Lord Delaware upon landing was to fall devoutly upon his knees and offer up a prayer, after which he repaired with the company to the church, to listen to a sermon by Mr. Bucke. Two days later a council was organized, consisting of Sir Thomas Gates, lieutenant-general, Sir Thomas Somers, admiral, Sir Ferdinando Wenman, master of ordnance (who soon died), Captain Newport, vice-admiral, Captain George Percy[137] and William Strachey, secretary and recorder. Captain John Martin was made master of the steel and iron works. The restoration of the settlement was prosecuted with vigor, and the church, a building sixty feet in length by twenty-four in breadth, was repaired, and services were held regularly twice on Sunday, and again on Thursday. Two forts were also built on Southampton River, and called after the King’s sons, Henry and Charles, respectively.

The administration of Delaware, though ludicrously ostentatious for so insignificant a dominion, was yet highly wholesome, and under his judicious discipline the settlement was restored to order and contentment. On the 19th of June Sir George Somers, in his cedar pinnace, accompanied by Argall in another vessel, re-embarked to seek for provisions. The vessels separating, Argall on the 27th of August “came to anchor in nine fathoms, in a very great bay,” called by him Delaware,[241] and on the ninth of the month reached Cape Charles. Somers, soon after parting from Argall, reached the Bermudas, where, dying from the effects of the hardships he had undergone, his body was embalmed and conveyed to England by his nephew, Captain Matthew Somers. About Christmas, Captain Argall sailed in the “Discovery” up the Potomac for supplies of corn, and rescued the captive English boy Henry Spelman from Jopassus, the brother of Powhatan. In the month of February following, Argall, aided by a small land force under Captain Edward Brewster, attacked the chief of the Warraskoyacks for a breach of contract and burned two of his towns. Sir Thomas Gates, being despatched to England to report to the Company the condition of the colony, succeeded by strenuous appeals in inducing it to send a fresh supply of settlers and provisions. During his absence, the health of Lord Delaware failing, on the 28th of March, 1611, accompanied by Dr. Bohune and Captain Argall, he sailed for England by way of the Isle of Mevis, leaving Percy in authority. On the 17th of March Sir Thomas Dale, with the appointment of “high marshall,” had sailed with three vessels for the colony, with settlers (among whom was the Rev. Alexander Whitaker) and cattle. He reached Point Comfort May the 12th, and spent several days in provisioning and disciplining that station and the forts Henry and Charles on the Southampton River, and in planting corn.

Sir Thomas landed at Jamestown on Sunday the 19th, where, first repairing to the church, he listened to a sermon from the Rev. Mr. Poole, after which, his commission being read by Secretary Strachey, Percy surrendered the government to him. Under an extraordinary code of “Lawes, Divine, Morall, and Martiall,” compiled by William Strachey for Sir Thomas Smith, and based upon those observed in the wars in the Low Countries, Dale inaugurated vigorous measures for the government and advancement of the colony. The church was repaired, and store, powder, and block houses[138] severally were built, while pales and posts were prepared for a new settlement. The site selected for the last was a peninsula in Varina Neck on James River, known as Farrar’s Island, which is formed by an extraordinary curve resembling that of a horseshoe, where the river, after a sweep of seven miles, returns to a point within a hundred and twenty yards from that of its deviation. The name of the bend, Dutch Gap,[242] by the events of the late civil war attained a historic notoriety. The building of the new town was delayed by insubordination among the colonists, which however, under the rigors of the martial code in force, was promptly quelled, eight of the ringleaders being executed. The pernicious system of a community of property was now to some extent remedied by Dale, in the allotment to each settler of three acres of land to be worked for his individual benefit. “Comon gardens for hemp and flaxe, and such other seedes,” were also laid out.[243]

In June, 1611, Sir Thomas Gates, accompanied by his wife (who died on the passage) and daughters and the Rev. Mr. Glover (who lived but a short time after his arrival in the colony), followed Dale with six ships, three hundred settlers, and one hundred cows, besides other cattle and an abundant supply of provisions. He arrived at Jamestown early in August, and thus increased the number of the colonists to seven hundred persons. Gates established himself at Hampton, deputed the command of Jamestown to Percy, and sent Dale, early in September, with three hundred and fifty men, to found the projected town of Henrico, at which, among the “three streets” of buildings erected, was a handsome church. The foundation of another, to be of brick, was laid.[244] In December, the Appomattox Indians having committed some depredations, Dale captured their town on the south side of the James, near the mouth of Appomattox River (and about five miles distant from Henrico), and upon its site established a third town, which he called Bermuda. Here the pious apostle Alexander Whitaker fixed his residence, serving as the minister both of Bermuda and Henrico.[245] Several plantations were laid out near Bermuda,—Upper and Lower Rochdale, West Shirley, and Digges’ Hundred. In conformity with the code of martial law, each hundred was subjected to the control of a captain. In December, also, Newport arrived at London from Jamestown, in the ship “Star,” with a cargo of “forty fine and large pines for masts,” and with the daughters of Sir Thomas Gates as passengers. Newport’s name does not[139] again appear in connection with Virginia.[246] The reinforcements for the colony for some months were insignificant, the only ships sent over being the “John and Francis” and the “Sarah,” with few settlers and less provisions, and the “Treasurer” with fifty persons, under the bold and unscrupulous Captain Samuel Argall, who, sailing from England in July, 1612, arrived at Point Comfort, September 17.[247] This year was a marked one in the inauguration by John Rolfe of the systematic culture of tobacco,—a staple destined to exert a controlling influence in the future welfare and progress of the colony, and soon, by the paramount profit yielded by its culture, to subordinate all other interests, agricultural as well as manufacturing. This influence permeated the entire social fabric of the colony, directed its laws, was an element in all its political and religious disturbances, and became the direct instigation of its curse of African slavery. It may be added, however, as an indisputable fact, that the culture of tobacco constituted the basis of the present unrivalled prosperity of the United States, and that this staple is still one of the most prolific factors in the revenue of the General Government.

Early in the spring of 1613, the colonists needing food, Argall determined on a bold stroke, and with the bribe of a copper kettle induced Jopassus, the king of Potomac, in whose domain Pocahontas was sojourning, to betray her into his hands. Having sent a messenger to Powhatan, demanding as a ransom the restoration of all English captives held by him, and of all arms and tools stolen from the settlement, Argall returned with his captive to Jamestown. There was a protracted struggle in the breast of the savage chieftain between avarice and parental affection.

Some months later Dale, with a command of one hundred and fifty men, sailed up York River to Werowocomico, the seat of Powhatan, carrying Pocahontas with him. Meeting with defiance, he landed and destroyed the settlement, and then returned to Jamestown. The ship “Elizabeth” arriving in March with thirteen settlers, Sir Thomas Gates departed in her for England finally, leaving the government to Dale. An event most auspicious for the future welfare of the colony soon occurred. A mutual attachment springing up between John Rolfe and Pocahontas, with the consent of Sir Thomas Dale they were united in marriage by the Rev. Alexander Whitaker, about the 5th of April, 1614. This was a politic example, which Dale himself unsuccessfully attempted to follow, although he had then a wife in England. Sending Ralph Hamor (who had been secretary of the Council under Lord Delaware) to Powhatan, with a request for the younger sister of Pocahontas, a girl scarce twelve years of age, his overtures were disdainfully rejected. The results of the union of Rolfe and Pocahontas were the good-will of Powhatan during the remainder of his life, and a treaty of peace with the formidable Chickahominy tribe, by which[140] the natives agreed ever to be called Englishmen, and to be true subjects to the British crown. With the immunity of peace, and under the wholesome discipline of Dale, industry was stimulated, property accumulated, and famine was no longer feared. Prosperity being now seemingly assured to the colony, the martial spirit of Dale sought other modes of manifesting itself. As early as 1605 the French had sent settlers to Acadia, and planted a colony at Port Royal, which had now attained some prominence.


This is a fac-simile of the engraving used in the publications of the Company. Cf. Calendar of Virginia State Papers, i. p. xxxix; Neill’s Virginia Company, p. 156. An example of this seal with the same dimensions and devices, but with the differing legend on the reverse of “Colonia Virginæ—Consilio Prima,” is in the collections of the Virginia Historical Society. It is of red wax between the leaves of a foolscap sheet of paper, and is affixed to a patent for land issued by Sir John Harvey, governor, dated March 4, 1638.

This being deemed by Dale an invasion of the territory of Virginia, which by charter extended to the forty-fifth degree of latitude, he sent Argall to dislodge the settlers, which was summarily accomplished.[248] Stimulated to new conquests, Argall on his return visited the Dutch settlement near the site of Albany, on the Hudson, and compelled its governor to capitulate.[249] It was however soon after reclaimed by the Dutch. Argall now sailed for England, where he and Gates both arrived in June, 1614. In March, 1612, a third charter had been granted to the Virginia Company, extending the boundaries of the colony so as to include all islands lying within three hundred leagues of the continent,—one object of which was to embrace the Bermuda or Summer Islands, of the fertility of which extravagant accounts had been given; but these last were soon after sold by the Company to one hundred and twenty of its members, who became a distinct corporation.[250][141] The privilege of holding lotteries for the benefit of the Company was also secured. Gates reporting that the colony in Virginia would perish unless better provided, the Company held for its relief a grand lottery, by which the sum of £29,000 was secured. The year 1615 is remarkable in the history of Virginia for the first establishment of a fixed property in the soil, in the granting by the Company of fifty acres to every freeman in absolute right.

Good order being established, and the colony prosperous, in April, 1616, Sir Thomas Dale, leaving the government to Captain George Yeardley as his deputy, accompanied by Rolfe, Pocahontas, and several Indians of both sexes, sailed for England, where he arrived on the 12th of June. The settlements in Virginia at this time were Henrico, the seat of the college for the education of the natives (of whom children of both sexes were already being taught), and of which the Rev. William Wickham was the minister,—its limits being Bermuda, Nether Hundred, or Presquile, the residence of the Deputy-Governor Yeardley and of the Rev. Alexander Whitaker; West and Shirley Hundred, Captain Isaac Madison, commander; Jamestown, Captain Francis West, Mr. Mease, minister; Kiquotan; and Dale’s Gift, on the sea-coast near Cape Charles, Lieutenant Cradock, commander. The total population of the colony was three hundred and fifty-one.

Pocahontas was the object of much kindly attention in London, where she was presented at court by Lady Delaware, attended by Lord Delaware, her husband, and other persons of quality. In March, 1617, John Rolfe prepared to return to Virginia with Pocahontas and their infant child Thomas,[251] but on the eve of embarkation Pocahontas was stricken with the small-pox, of which she died on the 21st instant, aged twenty-two years, and was buried at Gravesend, in the county of Kent.[252] Tobacco proving the most salable commodity of the colony, in 1616 Yeardley directed general attention to its culture, the profit of which speedily became so alluring that all other occupations were forsaken for it.

Through the influence of the court faction of the Company, in 1617, Captain Samuel Argall was elected Deputy-Governor of Virginia. He arrived in the colony on the 15th of May, with one hundred settlers, accompanied by Ralph Hamor as Vice-Admiral, and John Rolfe as “Secretary and Recorder-General.” They found “the market-place, streets, and all other[142] spare places” in Jamestown planted with tobacco.[253] In a few days thereafter Captain Martin also arrived in a pinnace, after a passage of five weeks. The whole number of the colonists was now about four hundred. To reinforce the languishing colony, the Company, in April, 1618, sent thither Lord Delaware, the Governor-General, in the ship “Neptune,” with two hundred men, and supplies. After his departure the ship “George” arrived from Virginia with such complaints of the malfeasance of Argall, who under martial law had loaded the colonists with oppressive exactions and robbed them of their property, that letters were despatched to Lord Delaware to seize upon all goods and property in Argall’s possession. Lord Delaware dying on the passage, these letters fell into the hands of Argall, who, to make the most of his remaining time, grew yet more tyrannical. For seizing one of the servants of the estate of Lord Delaware, on the complaint of Edward Brewster, the son of its manager, Argall was arrested, and on the 15th of October, 1618, tried and sentenced to death; but the penalty was commuted to perpetual banishment. He secretly stole away from the colony April the 9th, 1619, leaving Captain Nathaniel Powell in authority. Upon the intelligence of the death of Lord Delaware, Captain George Yeardley, who was knighted on the occasion, was appointed to succeed him. Sir Edwin Sandys also displaced Sir Thomas Smith as treasurer of the Company.


His portrait is preserved at Bourne, the seat of his descendant the present Earl de la Warr, in Cambridgeshire, England. There is a copy of it in the Library of the State of Virginia at Richmond, which was made by William L. Sheppard, an artist of that city in July, 1877. He is represented as a stout, ruddy-visaged Saxon, with a most benevolent expression of countenance. King James granted a pension to the widow of Lord Delaware, who was alive in 1644, and is called Dame Cecily Dowager de la Warre in the sixth Report of the Historical Commission to Parliament, in a paper in which the continuance of her pension is asked for.

Yeardley arrived in the colony April the 19th with a new authority under the charter, by which the authority of the governor was limited by a council and an annual general assembly, to be composed of the Governor and Council, and two burgesses from each plantation, to be freely elected by the inhabitants[143] thereof. John Rolfe, who was succeeded in the office of Secretary of the Colony by John Pory, a graduate of Cambridge, a great traveller and a writer, was, with Captain Francis West, Captain Nathaniel Powell, William Wickham, and Samuel Macock, added to the Council. On Friday, July 30, 1619, in accordance with the summons of Governor Yeardley in June, the first representative legislative assembly ever held in America was convened in the chancel of the church at James City or Jamestown, and was composed of twenty-two burgesses from the eleven several towns, plantations, and hundreds, styled boroughs. The proceedings were opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bucke, and each burgess took the oath of supremacy. John Pory was elected speaker, and sat in front of Governor Yeardley, and next was John Twine, the clerk, and at the bar stood Thomas Pierse, sergeant-at-arms. The delegates from Captain John Martin’s plantation were excluded, because by his patent, granted according to the unequal privilege of the manors of England, he was released from obeying any order of the colony except in time of war and the Company was prayed that the clause in the charter guaranteeing equal immunities and liberties might not be violated, so as to “divert out of the true course the free and public current of justice.” The education and religious instruction of the children of the natives was enjoined upon each settlement. Among the enactments, tobacco was authorized as a currency, and the treasurer of the colony (Abraham Percy) was directed to receive it at the valuation of three shillings per pound for the best, and eighteen-pence for the second quality. The government of ministers was prescribed according to the Church of England, and a tax of tobacco laid for their support. It was also enacted that “all persons whatsoever upon the Sabbath days shall frequent divine service and sermons, both forenoon and afternoon.” To compensate the officers of the Assembly, a tax of a pound of tobacco was laid upon every male above sixteen years of age.

The introduction of negro slavery into the colony is thus noted by John Rolfe: “About the last of August [1619] came in a Dutch man of warre, that sold us twenty Negars.”[254] During this year there were sent to the colony more than twelve hundred settlers, and one hundred “disorderly persons” or convicts, by order of the King, to be employed as servants. Boys and girls picked up in the streets of London were also sent, and were bound as apprentices[255] to the planters until the age of majority. In June twenty thousand pounds of tobacco, the crop of the preceding year, was shipped to England. In November the London Company adopted a coat-of-arms, and ordered a seal to be engraved.[256] The Company appears ever to have held[144] in due regard the importance of education as intimately connected with the preservation and dissemination of Christianity in the colony. Under an order from the King, nearly £1,500 were collected by the bishops of the realm to build the college at Henrico, and fifteen thousand acres of land were appropriated for its support.[257] To cultivate it during the years 1619 and 1620 one hundred laborers were sent over under the charge of Mr. George Thorpe (a kinsman of Sir Thomas Dale) and Captain Thomas Newce as agents. At a meeting of the Company held June 28, 1620, the Earl of Southampton was elected to succeed Sir Edwin Sandys as treasurer.

The population of the colony in July was estimated at four thousand, and during the year forty thousand pounds of tobacco were shipped to England. The freedom of trade which the Company had enjoyed for a brief interval with the Low Countries, where they sold their tobacco, was in October, 1621, prohibited in Council, and thenceforward England claimed a monopoly of the trade of her plantations. The planters at length were absolved from service to the Company, and enjoyed the blessings of property in the soil and of domestic felicity. In the autumn of 1621 the practice was begun by the Company of shipping to the colony young women of respectability as wives for the colonists, who were chargeable with the cost of transportation. This charge was at first one hundred and twenty, afterwards one hundred and fifty, pounds of tobacco. A windmill, the first in America, was about this time erected by Sir George Yeardley, and iron-works (the primal inauguration of this essential manufacture in this country) were established at Falling Creek on James River, under the management of Mr. John Berkeley.[258]

Upon the request of Sir George Yeardley to be relieved of the cares of office, Sir Francis Wyatt was appointed to succeed him upon the expiration of his term of government on the 18th of November, 1621. Sir Francis, with a fleet of nine sail, arrived in October, accompanied by his brother, the Rev. Haut Wyatt, Dr John Pott as physician, William Claiborne (destined to later prominence in the colony) as surveyor of the Company’s[145] lands, and George Sandys[259] as treasurer, who during his stay translated the Metamorphoses of Ovid and the First Book of Virgil’s Æneid. This first Anglo-American poetical production was published in 1626. Sir Francis Wyatt brought with him a new constitution for the colony, granted July 24, by which all former immunities and franchises were confirmed, trial by jury was secured, and the Assembly was to meet annually upon the call of the Governor, who was vested with the right of veto. No act of this body was to be valid unless ratified by the Company; but, on the other hand, no order of the Company was to be obligatory without the concurrence of the Assembly. This famous ordinance furnished the model of every subsequent provincial form of government in the Anglo-American colonies.[260] In November Daniel Gookin arrived from Ireland with fifty settlers under his control and thirty-six passengers, and planted himself in Elizabeth City County, at Mary’s Mount, just above Newport News.[261] There arrived during the year twenty-one vessels, bringing over thirteen hundred men, women, and children. The aggregate number of settlers arriving during the years 1619, 1620, and 1621 was thirty-five hundred and seventy.

Deluded by long peace, on the 22d of March, 1622, the unsuspecting colonists fell easy victims to a frightful Indian massacre of men, women, and children, to the number of three hundred and forty-seven. Among the slain were Mr. George Thorpe, the agent for the college at Henrico, and Mr. John Berkeley, master of the iron-works at Falling Creek.[262] Their death and the destruction of their charges terminated the prosecution of these material measures for the good of the colony. The future policy with the savages was aggressive until the peace of 1632. At an Assembly held in March, 1623, monthly courts to be appointed by the Governor were authorized. The Virginia Company, in their opposition to the King in the nomination of their officers, had already incurred his ill-will, which was increased by the freedom with which they discussed public measures[146] so as to invoke his denunciation of them as “but a seminary to a seditious parliament.” Violent factions divided them, and the massacre came at a juncture to fan discontent. Commissioners were sent to Virginia by the King to gather materials for the ruin of the Company. The result was the annulling of its charter by the King’s Bench on the 16th of June, 1624. Sir Francis Wyatt was continued as governor by commission from King James, dated Aug. 26, 1624, and again in May, 1625, by the young monarch, Charles I., who appointed as councillors for the colony, during his pleasure, Francis West, Sir George Yeardley, George Sandys, Roger Smith, Ralph Hamor, John Martin, John Harvey, Samuel Matthews, Abraham Percy, Isaac Madison, and William Claiborne. He omitted all mention of an assembly, and there is no preserved record of the meeting of this body again until 1629. The administration of Wyatt was wise and pacific. The death of his father, Sir George Wyatt, calling him to Ireland, he was succeeded, in May, 1626, by Sir George Yeardley, who dying Nov. 14, 1627, the Council elected as his successor, on the following day, Francis West, a younger brother of Lord Delaware. West, departing for England on the 5th of March, 1628, was succeeded by Dr. John Pott. The export of tobacco in 1628 was five hundred thousand pounds. Charles, desiring a monopoly of the trade, directed an assembly to be called to grant it. That body, replying the 26th of March, demanded a higher price and more favorable terms than his Majesty was disposed to yield. The colony rapidly increased in strength and prosperity, the population in 1629 being five thousand. Pott was superseded as governor in March, 1630, by Sir John Harvey, who had been one of the commissioners sent in 1623 to procure evidence to be used against the Virginia Company. Between him and the colonists there was but little good-will, and his arbitrary rule soon rendered him odious.

In July, by a strange mutation of fortune, Pott, the late governor, was tried for cattle-stealing, and convicted. This was the first trial by jury in the colony. It was in 1630 that George Calvert, with his followers, arrived in the colonies; but the details of his experience here and of the disputes about jurisdiction arising out of the grant of the present territory of Maryland, made to him and confirmed to his son in 1632, are given in another chapter.[263] It was under successive grants from the governors in 1627, 1628, and 1629, and from Charles I. in 1631, that William Claiborne had established his trading-posts in the disputed territory, from which he was driven with bloodshed, and by the final decree of the King in 1639 despoiled of £6,000 of property. Harvey—actuated, it has been charged, by motives of private interest—sided with Maryland in the disputes, and rendered[147] himself so obnoxious that an assembly was called for the 7th of May, 1635, to hear complaints against him. Before it met, however, he consented to go to England to answer the charges, and was “thrust out of his government” by the Council on the 28th of April, and Captain John West, a brother of Lord Delaware, was authorized to act as his successor until the King’s pleasure might be known. In 1634 the colony was divided into eight shires,[264] subject, as in England, to the government of a lieutenant.[265] The election of sheriffs, sergeants, and bailiffs was similarly provided for. The King, intolerant of opposition, reinstated the hated Harvey as governor, by commission dated April 2, 1636.[266] During his rule of three years thereafter, no assembly was held. Charles gradually relaxed his policy, and in November, 1639, displaced Harvey with Sir Francis Wyatt, who in turn was succeeded by Sir William Berkeley as governor in February, 1642. During the year three Congregational ministers came from Boston to Virginia to disseminate their doctrines.

Their stay, however, was but short; for by an enactment of the Assembly all ministers other than those of the Church of England were compelled to leave the colony. It will be shown that their success was limited. On the 18th of April, 1644, a second Indian massacre occurred. The number of victims has been differently stated as three and five hundred. During a visit by Berkeley to England, from June, 1644, to June, 1645, his place was filled by Richard Kemp. In 1642 the ship of Richard Ingle, from London, had been seized by Governor Brent, of Maryland, acting under a commission from Charles I., and an oath against Parliament tendered the crew. Ingle escaped, and, securing a commission from Parliament to cruise in the waters of the Chesapeake against Malignants, as the friends of the King were called, reappeared in February, 1645, in the ship “Reformation,” near St. Inigo Creek, where there was a popular uprising, and with the aid of the insurgents and forces from Virginia expelled Leonard Calvert and installed Colonel Edward Hill as governor. Calvert regained authority in August, 1646. The colony of Virginia continued to prosper. In 1648 the population consisted of fifteen thousand whites and three hundred negro slaves. Domestic animals were abundant; corn, wheat, rice, hemp, flax, and many vegetables were cultivated; there were fifteen varieties of fruit, and excellent wine was made. The average export of tobacco for several years had been 1,500,000 pounds. Besides the “old field schools,” there was a free school endowed by Benjamin Symmes with two hundred acres of land, a good house, forty milch cows, and other appurtenances.


The Dissenters, who had increased in number to one hundred and eighteen, now encountered the rigors of colonial authority in imprisonment and banishment, and all opposition to the Established Church was decisively quelled.[267]

With the beheading of Charles I. on the 30th of January, 1649, the Commonwealth of England was inaugurated; but Virginia still continued its allegiance to his son, the exiled prince, and offered an asylum to his fugitive adherents. Three hundred and thirty of these, including Colonel Henry Norwood and Majors Francis Morrison and Richard Fox, arrived near the close of 1649 in the “Virginia Merchant.”

Norwood was sent the following year by Berkeley to Holland to invite the fugitive King to Virginia as its ruler, and returned from Breda with a new commission for Berkeley as governor, dated June 3, and another for himself as treasurer of the colony, in approbation of the loyalty manifested. Charles II. was crowned by the Scotch at Scone in 1651, and, invading England with his followers, was utterly overthrown and defeated at Worcester, September 3. In the same month the Council of State issued instructions to Captain Robert Dennis, Richard Bennet, Thomas Steg,[268] and William Claiborne, as commissioners for the reduction of Virginia to the authority of the Commonwealth. Captain Dennis arrived at Jamestown in March, 1652, and the capitulation of the colony was ratified on the 12th instant upon liberal terms, which confirmed the existing privileges of the colonists and granted indemnity for all offences against Parliament. The commissioners Bennet and Claiborne soon after effected the reduction of Maryland, but with singular moderation allowed its Governor and Council to retain their offices upon the simple condition of issuing all writs in the name of the Commonwealth. A provisional government was organized in Virginia, on the 30th of April, by the election by the House of Burgesses of Richard Bennet as governor and William Claiborne as secretary of state, and a council of twelve, whose powers were to be defined by the Grand Assembly, of which they were ex-officio members.

A remarkable instance of individual enterprise was given in the early[149] part of 1654 by Francis Yeardley,[269] who effected discoveries in North Carolina, and at the cost of £300 purchased from the natives “three great rivers and all such others as they should like southerly,” and took possession of the country in the name of the Commonwealth.[270] In March, 1655, Richard Bennet was appointed the agent of the colony at London, and was succeeded as governor by Edward Digges. In 1656 Colonel Edward Hill the elder, in endeavoring with one hundred men to dislodge seven hundred Ricahecrian Indians who had seated themselves at the Falls of James River, was utterly routed. Bloody Run, near Richmond, significantly derives its name from this encounter. On the 13th of March, 1657, Edward Digges was sent to London as the agent of the colony, and was succeeded as governor by Samuel Matthews. The government of the colony under the Commonwealth was beneficent, and the people were prosperous.

Upon the reception of the intelligence of the death of Oliver and of the accession of Richard Cromwell as Protector, obedience was acknowledged by the Assembly on the 9th of March, 1658. Richard Cromwell resigned on the 22d of April, 1659, and Matthews had died in January previously. England was for a time without a monarch, and Virginia without a governor. The Virginia Assembly, convening on the 23d of March, 1660, elected Sir William Berkeley as governor, and declared that all writs should be issued in the name of the Grand Assembly. On the 8th of May Charles II. was proclaimed as King in England, and on the 31st of July following he transmitted a new commission to his faithful adherent, Sir William Berkeley. In March, 1661, 44,000 pounds of tobacco were appropriated by the Assembly to defray the cost of an address to the King, praying him to pardon the inhabitants of Virginia for having yielded during the Commonwealth to a force they could not resist. And in contrition for their tacit submission to the “execrable power that so bloodily massacred the late King Charles the First of blessed and glorious memory,” it was enacted that “the 30th of January, the day the said King was beheaded, be annually solemnized with fasting and prayer, that our sorrows may expiate our crime, and our tears wash away our guilt.”[271] A little later, the 29th of May, the date of the restoration of Charles II., was decreed to be celebrated annually as a “holy day.”[272]

Berkeley being sent on the 30th of April, 1661, by the colony to England to protest against the enforcement of the Navigation Act, Colonel Francis Morrison was elected in his stead. Berkeley returned in the fall of 1662 with advantageous patents for himself, but without relief for the colony. Colonel William Claiborne, secretary of state, was displaced by Thomas Ludwell, commissioned by the King. Colonel Francis Morrison[150] and Henry Randolph, clerk of the Assembly, were appointed to revise the laws, and it was ordered that all acts which “might keep in memory our forced deviation from his Majesty’s obedience” should be “expunged.” A satisfactory account of the condition of the colony in 1670 is afforded in a report made by Governor Berkeley to the Lords Commissioners of Foreign Plantations. The executive consisted of the Governor and sixteen councillors commissioned by the King, who determined all causes above £15; causes of less amount were tried by the county courts, of which there were twenty. The Assembly, composed of two burgesses from each county, met annually; it levied the taxes, and appeals lay to it. The legislative and executive powers rested in the Governor, Council, Assembly, and subordinate officers. The Acts of the Assembly were sent by the secretary of the colony to the Lord Chancellor. All freemen were bound to muster monthly in their own counties. The force of the colony numbered upwards of eight thousand horsemen. There were five forts, mounted with thirty cannon.

The whole population was forty thousand, of which two thousand were negro slaves, and six thousand white servants. Eighty vessels arrived yearly from England and Ireland for tobacco; a few small coasters came from New England. The annual exportation of tobacco was 15,000 hogsheads (about 12,000,000 pounds), upon which a duty of two shillings a hogshead was levied. Out of this revenue the Governor received as salary £1,200. The King had no revenue from the colony except the quit-rents.[273] There were forty-eight parishes, the ministers of which were well paid. Under the monopoly of the Navigation Act the price of tobacco was greatly depressed, the cost of imported goods enhanced, and the trade of the colony almost extinguished; yet the profligate King oppressed the colonists still further, and by a grant of the whole territory of Virginia to Lords Arlington and Culpeper they found themselves deprived of the very titles to the lands they owned. The privilege of franchise was even virtually withheld, for there had been no election of burgesses since the Restoration in 1660, the same legislature having continued to hold its sessions by prorogation. The colonists grew so impatient under their accumulated grievances that a revolt was near bursting forth in 1674. It was quieted for a time by some pacific concessions; but the fires only slumbered, and an immediate grievance and a popular leader were alone required to produce revolutionary measures. The severity of the policy against the Indians incensed them to hostility, and the lives of the colonists were in constant jeopardy. They petitioned the Governor for protection, and on the meeting of the[151] Assembly in March, 1676, war was declared against the Indians, and a force of five hundred men raised and put under the command of Sir Henry Chicheley to subdue them; but when he was about to march he was suddenly and without apparent cause ordered by Berkeley to disband his forces. The Indians continued their murders until sixty lives had been sacrificed. The alarmed colonists, having in vain petitioned the Governor for protection, rose tumultuously in self-defence, including quite all the civil and military officers of the colony, and chose Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., as their leader. Bacon, who was of the distinguished English family of that name, had been but a short time in the colony; but he was a member of the Council, brave, rich, eloquent, and popular. He had an immediate stimulant, too, in the murder at his plantation, near the site of Richmond, of his overseer and a favorite servant.[274] Bacon, fruitlessly applying for a commission, marched at the head of five hundred men against the savages; and in the mean time Berkeley proclaimed them as traitors and ineffectually pursued them with an armed force. Bacon replied in a declaration denouncing the Governor as a tyrant and traitor to his King and the country. During Berkeley’s absence the planters in the lower counties rose, and, the revolt becoming general, he was forced to return, when he endeavored to quiet the storm. Writs for a new Assembly were issued, to which Bacon was elected. He, having punished the savages, while on his way to the Assembly was arrested in James River by an armed vessel, but was soon released on parole. When the Assembly met on the 5th of June, he read at the bar a written confession and apology for his conduct, and was thereupon pardoned and readmitted to his seat in the Council. He was also promised a commission to proceed against the Indians; but, being secretly informed of a plot by the Governor against his life, he fled, returning however to Jamestown in a few days with a large force, when, appealing to the Assembly, they declared him their general, vindicated his course, and sent a letter to England approving it. They also passed salutary laws of reform. Berkeley resisted, dissolved them, and in turn addressed the King. Bacon, all-powerful, having extorted a commission from the Governor, marched against the Indians. Berkeley once more proclaimed him as a traitor. Bacon, on hearing it, in the midst of a successful campaign returned; and Berkeley, deserted by his troops, fled to Accomac. Bacon, now supreme, called together, by an invitation signed by himself and four of the Council, a convention of the principal gentlemen of the colony, at the Middle Plantation, to consult for defence against the savages and protection against the tyranny of Berkeley. He also issued a reply to the proclamation of Berkeley, in which he vindicates himself in lofty strains.[275] He now again[152] marched against the Indians; but in his absence a fleet which he had sent to capture Berkeley was betrayed, and the Governor returned to Jamestown at the head of the forces sent to capture him. Bacon now returned, and Berkeley, deserted by his men, fleeing again to Accomac, Bacon triumphantly entered Jamestown and burned the State House. He died shortly afterwards from disease contracted by exposure, and his followers, left without a leader, dispersed, and Berkeley was finally dominant. On the 29th of February, 1677, a fleet with a regiment of soldiers, commanded by Colonels Herbert Jeffreys and Francis Morrison, arrived in the colony to quell the rebellion. Jeffreys, Morrison, and Berkeley sat as a commission to try the insurgents. They were vindictively punished: the jails were filled, estates confiscated, and twenty-three persons executed. At length the Assembly, in an address to the Governor, deprecated any further sanguinary punishments, and he was prevailed upon, reluctantly, to desist. All the acts of the Assembly of June, 1676, called Bacon’s Laws, were repealed, though many of them were afterwards re-enacted. Berkeley, being recalled by the King, sailed for England on the 27th of April, 1677, and was succeeded by Sir Herbert Jeffreys as governor. Jeffreys effected a treaty with the Indians, but dying in December, 1678, was succeeded by Sir Henry Chicheley, who in turn gave place, on the 10th of May, 1680, to Lord Culpeper, who had been appointed in July, 1675, governor of Virginia for life. Virginia was now tranquil. The resources of the country continued to be developed. The production and export of tobacco—the chief staple—steadily increased, and with it the prosperity of the colony. The ease with which wealth was acquired fostered the habits of personal indulgence and ostentatious expenditure into which the Virginia planter was led by hereditary characteristics.

Undue stress has been laid by many historians upon the transportation of “convicts” to the colony. Such formed but a small proportion of the population, and it is believed that the offence of a majority of them was of a political nature. Be it as it may, all dangerous or debasing effect of their presence was effectually guarded against by rigorous enactments. The vile among them met the fate of the vicious, while the simply unfortunate who[153] were industrious throve and became good citizens. It is clearly indicated that the aristocratic element of the colony preponderated.

The under stratum of society, formed by the “survival of the fittest” of the “indentured servant” and the “convict” classes, as they improved in worldly circumstances, rose to the surface and took their places socially and politically among the more favored class. The Virginia planter was essentially a transplanted Englishman in tastes and convictions, and emulated the social amenities and the culture of the mother country.[276] Thus in time was formed a society distinguished for its refinement, executive ability, and a generous hospitality, for which the Ancient Dominion is proverbial.


THERE is abundant evidence, as instanced by Mr. Deane in a paper in the Boston Daily Advertiser, July 31, 1877, that the name of Virginia commemorates Elizabeth, the virgin queen of England. Mr. Deane’s paper was in answer to a fanciful belief, expressed by Mr. C. W. Tuttle in Notes and Queries, 1877, that the Indian name Wingina, mentioned by Hakluyt, may have suggested the appellation.[277] The early patents are given in Purchas (abstract of the first), iv. 1683-84; Stith; Hazard’s Historical Collections, i. 50, 58, 72; Popham Memorial (the first), App. A; and Poor’s Gorges, App.

See a paper by L. W. Tazewell, on the “Limits of Virginia under the Charters,” in Maxwell’s Virginia Historical Register, i. 12. These bounds were relied on for Virginia’s claims at a later day to the Northwest Territory. Cf. H. B. Adams’s Maryland’s Influence in Founding a National Commonwealth, or Maryland Historical Society Publication Fund, no. 11. See also Lucas’s Charters of the Old English Colonies, London, 1850. Ridpath’s United States, p. 86, gives a convenient map of the grants by the English crown from 1606 to 1732. Mr. Deane has discussed the matter of forms used in issuing letters patent in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. xi. 166.

The earliest printed account of the settlement at Jamestown, covering the interval April 26, 1607-June 2, 1608, is entitled: A True Relation of such occurrences and accidents of noate as hath hapned in Virginia since the first planting of that Collony which is now resident in the South part thereof, till the last returne from thence. Written by Captaine Smith, Coronell of the said Collony, to a worshipfull friend of his in England. Small quarto, black letter, London, 1608.[278]


The second contemporary account appears in Purchas His Pilgrimes, iv. 1685-1690, published in 1625, and is entitled, “Obseruations gathered out of a Discourse of the Plantations of the Southerne Colonie in Virginia by the English, 1606, written by that Honorable Gentleman Master George Percy.”[279] The narrative gives in minute detail the incidents of the first voyage and of the movements of the colonists after their arrival at Cape Henry until their landing, on the 14th of May, at Jamestown. It is to be regretted that a meagre abridgment only of so valuable a narrative should have been preserved by Purchas, who assigns as a reason for the omissions he made in it, that “the rest is more fully set down in Cap. Smith’s Relations.”

The third account of the period, “Newport’s Discoveries in Virginia,” was published for the first time in 1860 in Archæologia Americana, iv. 40-65. It consists of three papers, the most extended of which is entitled: “A Relatyon of the Discovery of our river from James Forte into the Maine; made by Captain Christopher Newport, and sincerely written and observed by a Gentleman of the Colony.” This “Relatyon” is principally confined to an account of the voyage from Jamestown up the river to the “Falls,” at which Richmond is now situated, and back again to Jamestown, beginning May 21 and ending June 21, the day before Newport sailed for England. The second paper, of four pages, is entitled: “The Description of the new-discovered river and country of Virginia, with the liklyhood of ensuing riches, by England’s ayd and industry.” The remaining paper, of only a little more than two pages, is: “A brief description of the People.” These papers were printed from copies made under the direction of the Hon. George Bancroft, LL.D., from the originals in the English State Paper Office, and were edited by the Rev. Edward Everett Hale.[280]


The next account to be noted, “A Discourse of Virginia,” by Edward Maria Wingfield, the first President of the colony, was also printed for the first time in Archæologia Americana, iv. 67-163, from a copy of the original manuscript in the Lambeth Library, edited by Charles Deane, LL.D., who also printed it separately. The narrative begins with the sailing of Newport for England, June 22, 1607, and ends May 21, 1608, on the author’s arrival in England. The final six pages are devoted by Wingfield to a defence of himself from charges of unfaithfulness in duty, on which he had been deposed from the Presidency and excluded from the Council. The narrative was cited for the first time by Purchas in the margin of the second edition of his Pilgrimage, 1614, pp. 757-768. He also refers to what is probably another writing, “M. Wingfield’s notes,” in the margin of p. 1706, of vol. iv. of his Pilgrimes. Mr. Deane reasonably conjectures that the narrative of Wingfield as originally written was more comprehensive, and that a portion of it has been lost.[281] Chapter I. of Neill’s English Colonization in America is devoted to Wingfield.

Another narrative of the period:—

A Relation of Virginia, written by Henry Spelman, “the third son of the Antiquary,” who came to the colony in 1609, was privately printed in 1872 at London for James Frothingham Hunnewell, Esq., of Charlestown, Mass., from the original manuscript.[282] Spelman, who was a boy when he first came to Virginia, lived for some time with the Indians, became afterwards an interpreter for the Colony, and was killed by the savages in 1622 or 1623.

In 1609 there were four tracts printed in London, illustrative of the progress of the new colony:—

1. Saules Prohibition staid, a reproof to those that traduce Virginia.

2. William Symondes’ Sermon before the London Company, April 25, 1609.[283]

3. Nova Britannia: offeringe most excellent Fruites by Planting in Virginia.[284]

4. A Good Speed to Virginia. The dedicator is R. G., who “neither in person nor purse” is able to be a “partaker in the business.”[285]

In 1610, appeared the following:—

1. W. Crashaw’s Sermon before Lord Delaware on his leaving for Virginia, Feb. 21, 1609.

2. A true and sincere declaration of the purpose and ends of the plantation begun in Virginia.[286]

3. A true declaration of the estate of the Colonie in Virginia.[287]

4. The mishaps of the first voyage and the wreck at Bermuda were celebrated in a little poem by R. Rich, one of the Company, called Newes from Virginia, which was printed in London in 1610.[288]


William Strachey was not an actual observer of events in the colony earlier than May 23, 1610, when he first reached Jamestown. The incidents of his letter, July 15, 1610, giving an account of the wreck at Bermuda and subsequent events (Purchas, iv. 1734), must, so far as antecedent Virginia events go, have been derived from others.[289]

In 1612 Strachey edited a collection of Lawes Divine of the colony.[290]

There are two MS. copies of his Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia; expressing the Cosmographie and Comodities of the Country, together with the Manners and Customes of the People,—one preserved in the British Museum among the Sloane Collection, and the other is among the Ashmolean MSS. at Oxford. They vary in no important respect. The former was the copy used by R. H. Major in editing it for the Hakluyt Society in 1849. This copy was dedicated to Sir Francis Bacon.

In 1611 Lord Delaware’s little Relation appeared in London.[291] In 1612 the Virginia Company, to thwart the evil intentions of the enemies of the colony, printed by authority a second part of Nova Britannia, called The New Life of Virginia. Its authorship is assigned to Robert Johnson.[292]

In 1612 the little quarto volume commonly referred to as the Oxford Tract was printed, with the following title: A Map of Virginia. With a Description of the Country, the Commodities, People, Government, and Religion, Written by Captaine Smith, sometimes Governour of the Country. Whereunto is annexed the proceedings of those Colonies since their first departure from England, with the discoveries, Orations, and relations of the Salvages, and the accidents that befell them in all their Iournies and discoveries. Taken faithfully as they were written out of the writings of Doctor Rvssell, Tho. Stvdley, Anas Todkill, Ieffra Abot, Richard Wiffin, Will. Phettiplace, Nathaniel Powell, Richard Potts. And the relations of divers other intelligent observers there present then, and now many of them in England, by W. S. At Oxford, Printed by Joseph Barnes, 1612. As the title indicates, the tract consists of two parts. The first, written as Smith says, in the Generall Historie, “with his owne hand,” is a topographical description of the country, embracing climate, soil, and productions, with a full account of the native inhabitants, and has only occasional reference to the proceedings of the[157] colony at Jamestown. The second part of the Oxford Tract has a separate titlepage as follows: “The proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia since their first beginning from England in the year 1606, till this present 1612, with all their accidents that befell them in their iournies and Discoveries. Also the Salvages’ discourses, orations, and relations of the Bordering Neighbours, and how they became subject to the English. Vnfolding even the fundamentall causes from whence haue sprang so many miseries to the vndertakers, and scandals to the businesse; taken faithfully as they were written out of the writings of Thomas Studley, the first provant maister, Anas Todkill, Walter Russell, Doctor of Phisicke, Nathaniel Powell, William Phettiface, Richard Wyffin, Thomas Abbay, Tho. Hops, Rich. Potts, and the labours of divers other diligent observers, that were residents in Virginia. And pervsed and confirmed by diverse now resident in England that were actors in this busines. By W. S. At Oxford, Printed by Joseph Barnes. 1612.”[293]

Alexander Whitaker’s Good Newes from Virginia was printed in 1613. He was minister of Henrico Parish, and had been in the country two years. The preface is by W. Crawshawe, the divine.[294] Ralph Hamor the younger, “late secretary of that colony,” printed in London in 1615 his True Discourse of the present state of Virginia, bringing the story down to June 18, 1614. It contains an account of the christening of Pocahontas and her marriage to Rolfe. It was reprinted in 1860 at Albany (200 copies) for Charles Gorham Barney, of Richmond.[295] Rolfe’s Relation of Virginia, a MS. now in the British Museum, was abbreviated in the 1617 edition of Purchas’s Pilgrimage, and printed at length in the Southern Literary Messenger, 1839, and in the Virginia Historical Register, i. 102. (See also Neill’s Virginia Company, ch. vi.) There are various other early printed tracts, besides those already mentioned, reprinted by Force, which are necessary to a careful study of Virginian history.[296]


Fortunately a copy of the records of the Company[297] from April 28, 1619, to June 7, 1624, is preserved. This copy was made from the originals, which are not now known to exist, at a time when the King gave sign of annulling their charter. Nicholas Ferrar (see the Memoir of Nicholas Ferrar by Peter Peckard, London, 1790, a volume throwing much light on early Virginian history, and compare Palfrey’s New England, i. 192), with the aid of Collingwood the secretary, seems to have procured the transcription at the house of Sir John Danvers, in Chelsea, an old mansion associated with Sir Thomas More’s memory. Collingwood compared each folio, signed it,—the work being completed only three days before judgment was pronounced against the Company,—and gave the whole into the hands of the Earl of Southampton for safe keeping, from whom the records passed to his son Thomas, Lord High Treasurer, after whose death, in 1667, William Byrd, of Virginia, bought them for sixty guineas, and it was from the Byrd family, at Westover, that Stith obtained them, to make use of in his History. By some means Stith’s brother-in-law, Peyton Randolph, got them, and at his death in 1775 his library was sold, when Jefferson bought it, and found these records among the books. Jefferson’s library afterwards becoming the property of the United States, these records in two volumes (pp. 354 and 387 respectively) passed into the Library of Congress, where they now are.

In May, 1868, Mr. Neill, who had used these records while working on his Terra Mariæ, memorialized Congress, explaining their value, and offering, without compensation, to edit the MS., under the direction of the Librarian of Congress.[298] The question of their publication had already been raised by Mr. J. Wingate Thornton ten years earlier, in a paper in the Historical Magazine, February, 1858, p. 33, and in a pamphlet, The First Records of Anglo-American Colonization, Boston, 1859. In these the history of their transmission varies a little from the one given above, which follows Neill’s statements.[299] Being thwarted in his original purpose, Mr. Neill made the records the basis of a History of the Virginia Company of London, Albany, 1869, which, somewhat changed, appeared in an English edition as English Colonization in America in the Seventeenth Century.[300][159] Of considerable importance among the papers transmitted to our time is the collection which had in large part belonged to Chalmers, and been used by him in his Political Annals; when passing to Colonel William Aspinwall,[301] they were by him printed in the Mass. Hist. Coll. 4th series, vols. ix. and x., with numerous notes, particularly concerning the earlier ones, beginning in 1617, in which the careers of Gates, Pory,[302] and Argall are followed.

Mr. Deane, True Relation, p. 14, quotes as in Mr. Bancroft’s hands a copy from a paper in the English State-Paper Office entitled “A Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia during the first twelve years when Sr Thomas Smyth was Governer of the Companie [1606-1619], and downe to the present tyme [1624], by the Ancient Planters now remaining alive in Virginia.” Mr. Noël Sainsbury, in his Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, London, 1860, etc., has opened new stores of early Virginian as well as of general Anglo-American history, between 1574 and 1660. The work of the Public Record Office has been well supplemented by the Reports of the Historical Commission, which has examined the stores of historical documents contained in private depositaries in Great Britain. Their third Report of 1872 and the appendix of their eighth Report are particularly rich in Virginian early history, covering documents belonging to the Duke of Manchester. The Index to the Catalogue of MSS. in the British Museum discloses others.

In 1860 the State of Virginia sent Colonel Angus W. McDonald to London to search for papers and maps elucidating the question of the Virginia bounds with Maryland, Tennessee, and North Carolina, which resulted in the accumulation of much documentary material, and a report to the Governor in March, 1861, Document 39 (1861), which was printed. See Hist. Mag. ix. 13.

Matter of historical interest will be found in other of the documents of this boundary contest: Document 40, Jan. 9, 1860; Senate Document, Report of Commissioners, Jan. 17, 1872, with eleven maps, including Smith’s; Final Report, 1874; Senate Document No. 21, being reprints in 1874 of Reports of Jan. 9, 1860, and March 9, 1861; House Document No. 6, Communication of the Governor, Jan. 9, 1877. There were also publications by the State of Maryland relating to the contest.[303]

In 1874 there was published, as a State Senate Document, Colonial Records of Virginia, quarto, which contains the proceedings of the first Assembly, convened in 1619 at Jamestown,[304] with other early papers, and an Introduction and Notes by the late Hon. Thomas H. Wynne. Attention was first called in America to these proceedings by Conway Robinson, Esq. (who had inspected the original manuscript in the State-Paper Office, London), in a Report made as chairman of its Executive Committee, at an annual meeting of the Virginia Historical Society, held at Richmond, Dec. 15, 1853, and published[160] in the Virginia Historical Reporter, i. 7. They were first published in the Collections of the New York Historical Society, 1857, with an Introduction by George Bancroft.[305]

Abstracts from the English State-Paper Office have been furnished the State Library of Virginia by W. Noël Sainsbury, to Dec. 30, 1730.

There are various papers on the personnel of the colony in the lists of passengers for Virginia of 1635, which Mr. H. G. Somerby printed in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg. ii. 111, 211, 268; iii. 184, 388; iv. 61, 189, 261; v. 61, 343; and xv. 142; and in the collection of such documents, mostly before published, which are conveniently grouped in Hotten’s Original Lists (1600-1700), London, 1874 and 1881; and in S. G. Drake’s Researches among the British Archives, 1860.

The Virginia Company published three lists of the venturers and emigrants in 1619, and in 1620 a similar enumeration in a Declaration of the State of the Colonie.[306] This was dated June 24; another brief Declaration bears date Sept. 20, 1620. A list of ships arriving in Jamestown 1607-1624 is given by Neill in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1876, p. 415.

Neill has published various studies of the census of 1624 in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg. for 1877, pp. 147, 265, 393.[307]

The most trustworthy source of information as to those who became permanent planters and founders of families is afforded by the Virginia records of land patents, which are continuous from 1620, and are no less valuable for topographical than for genealogical reference.[308]

The manuscript materials of the history of Virginia have been ever subject to casualty in the varied dangerous and destructive forms of removal, fire, and war. The first capital, Jamestown, was several times the scene of violence and conflagration. The colonial archives were exposed to accident when the seat of government was removed to Williamsburg; and finally when, in 1779, the latter was abandoned for the growing town of Richmond, and when, upon the apprehended advance of the British forces during the Revolution, they were again disturbed and removed hastily to the last place. It is probable that at the destruction by fire of the buildings of William and Mary College, in 1705, many valuable manuscripts were lost which had been left in them when the royal governors ceased to hold sessions of the Council within her walls, and when other government functionaries no longer performed their duties there. Many doubtless suffered the consequences of Arnold’s invasion in 1781, upon whose approach the contents of the public offices at Richmond were hastily tumbled into wagons and hurried off to distant counties. The crowning and fell period of universal destruction to archives and private papers was, however, that of our late unhappy war, when seats of justice, sanctuaries, and private dwellings alike were subjected to fire and pillage. The most serious loss sustained was at the burning of the State Court House at Richmond, incidental on the[161] evacuation fire of April 3, 1865, when were consumed almost the entire records of the old General Court from the year 1619 or thereabout, together with those of many of the county courts (which had been brought thither to guard against the accidents of the war) and the greater part of the records of the State Court of Appeals.

Of the records of the General Court, a fragment of a volume covering the period April 4, 1670-March 16, 1676, is in the Collections of the Virginia Historical Society, and another fragment—Feb. 21, 1678-October, 1692—is in the archives of Henrico County Court at Richmond. In the State Library are preserved the journals of the General Assembly from 1697 to 1744, with occasional interruptions.

Of the records of the several counties, the great majority of those of an early period, it is certain, have been destroyed. Information as to the preservation of the following has been received by the writer: Northampton (old Accomac), continuous from 1634; Northumberland, from 1652; Lancaster, from 1652; Surrey, a volume beginning in 1652; Rappahannock, from 1656; Essex, from 1692; Charles City, a single volume, from Jan. 4, 1650, to Feb. 3, 1655, inclusive; Henrico, a deed book, 1697-1704, and, with interruptions, the same records to 1774,—all classes of records, unbroken, from October, 1781.

In elucidation of the social life and commerce of the period,—the three decades of the seventeenth century,—the following may be named: Letters of Colonel William Fitzhugh, of Stafford County, a lawyer and planter, May 15, 1679-April 29, 1699; Letters of Colonel William Byrd, of the “Falls,” James River, planter and Receiver-General of the colony, January, 1683-Aug. 3, 1691,—in the Collections of the Virginia Historical Society.

The following parish records preserved in the library of the Theological Seminary near Alexandria, Va., are valuable sources of early genealogical information; Registers of Charles River Parish, York County,—births 1648-1800, deaths 1665-1787;[309] Vestry Books (some with partial registers) of Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, 1663-1767; Petsoe Parish, Gloucester County, from June 14, 1677; Kingston Parish, Matthews County, from 1679; St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, from 1686.

Of such of the early papers in the State archives at Richmond as escaped the casualties of the war, the Commonwealth intrusted the editing to William P. Palmer; and vol. i., covering 1652-1781 (with a very few, however, before 1689), was published in 1875 as Calendar of State Papers and other Manuscripts preserved in the Capitol at Richmond.[310]

On the life of Captain John Smith in general, some notes are made in another chapter of this volume.[311] It will be remembered that Fuller—in the earliest printed biography of Smith, contained in his Worthies of England—says of him, “It soundeth much to the diminution of his deeds, that he alone is the herald to publish and proclaim them.”

Mr. Deane first pointed out (1860), in a note to his edition of Wingfield’s Discourse, that the story of Pocahontas’s saving Smith’s life from the infuriated Powhatan, which Smith interpolates in his Generall Historie, was at variance with Smith’s earlier recitals in the tracts of which that book was composed when they had been issued contemporaneous with the events of which he was treating some years earlier, and that the inference was that Smith’s natural propensity for embellishment, as well as a desire to feed the interest which had been incited in Pocahontas when she visited England, was the real source of the story. Mr. Deane still farther enlarged upon this view in a note to his edition (p. 38) of Smith’s Relation in 1866.[312] It has an important bearing on the question that[162] Hamor, who says so much of Pocahontas, makes no allusion to such a striking service. The substantial correctness of Smith’s later story is contended for by W. Robertson in the Hist. Mag., October, 1860; by William Wirt Henry, in Potter’s American Monthly, 1875; and a general protest is vaguely rendered by Stevens in his Historical Collections, p. 102.

The file of the Richmond Dispatch for 1877 contains various contributions on the early governors of the colony of Virginia by E. D. Neill, William Wirt Henry, and R. A. Brock, in which the claims of Smith’s narrative to consideration are discussed. Charles Dudley Warner, in A Study of the Life and Writings of John Smith, 1881, treats the subject humorously and with sceptical levity. Smith finds his latest champion, a second time, in William Wirt Henry, in an address, The Early Settlement at Jamestown, with Particular Reference to the late Attacks upon Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and John Rolfe, delivered before the annual meeting of the Virginia Historical Society, held Feb. 24, 1882, and published with the Proceedings of the Society. Mr. Deane’s views are, however, supported by Henry Adams (North American Review, January, 1867, and Chapter of Erie, and other Essays, p. 192) and by Henry Cabot Lodge (English Colonies in America, p. 6). Mr. Bancroft allowed for a while the original story to stand, with a bare reference to Mr. Deane’s note (History of the United States, 1864, i. 132); but in his Centenary Edition (1879, vol. i. p. 102) he abandoned the former assertion, without expressing judgment. The most recent recitals of the story of Pocahontas under the color of these later investigations have been by Gay, in the Popular History of the United States, i. 283, and by Charles D. Warner in his Captain John Smith, before named,—the latter carefully going over all the evidence.

Alexander Brown has contributed several articles, published in the Richmond Dispatch in April and May, 1882, in which he controverts the views of Mr. Henry, not only as to the truth of the story of the rescue, but as to the general veracity of Smith as a historian, taking a more absolute position in this respect than any previous writer has done.

Pocahontas is thought to have died at Gravesend just as she was about re-embarking for America, March 21, 1617; and the entry on the records of St. George’s Church in that place—which speaks of a “lady Virginia born,” and has been supposed to refer to her—puts her burial March 21. 1617.[313]

For the tracing of Pocahontas’s descendants through the Bollings,—Robert Bolling having married Jane Rolfe, the daughter of Thomas Rolfe, the son of Powhatan’s daughter,—see The Descendants of Pocahontas, by Wyndham Robertson, 1855, and Wynne’s Historical Documents, vol. iv., entitled A Memoir of a Portion of the Bolling Family, Richmond, 1868 (fifty copies printed), which contains photographs of portraits of the Bollings.[314]


There is an engraving of Pocahontas by Simon Pass, which perhaps belongs to, but is seldom found in, Smith’s Generall Historie.[315] The original painting is said to have belonged to Henry Rolfe, of Narford,—a brother of John, the husband of Pocahontas,—and from him passed to Anthony Rolfe, of Tuttington, and from him again, probably by a marriage, to the Elwes of Tuttington, and it is mentioned in a catalogue of a sale of their effects in the last century. It has not since been traced.[316]

Richard Randolph, of Virginia, is said to have procured from England two portraits,—one of Rolfe, and the other of Pocahontas,—and they were hung in his house at Turkey Island. After his death, in 1784, they are said to have been bought by Thomas Bolling, of Cobbs, Va., and the inventory showing them is, or was, in the County Court of Henrico. In 1830 they were in the possession of Dr. Thomas Robinson, of Petersburg, when he wrote of the portrait of Pocahontas that “it is crumbling so rapidly that it may be considered as having already passed out of existence.” A letter of the late H. B. Grigsby to Mr. Charles Deane states that he had heard it was on panel let into the wainscot. In 1843, while still owned by Mr. Robinson, R. M. Sully made a copy of it, which seems to have proved acceptable, as appears from the attestations printed in M’Kinney and Hall’s Indian Tribes of North America, 1844, vol. iii., where at p. 64 is a reproduction in colors of Sully’s painting. Mr. Grigsby says that the original was finally destroyed in a contest which grew out of a dispute when the house was sold, whether the panel went with it or could be reserved.[317]

Of the massacre at Falling Creek, March 22, 1621-22, the Virginia Company printed, in Edward Waterhouse’s Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affairs in Virginia, a contemporary account.[318] Mr. Neill has made the transaction the subject of special consideration in the Magazine of American History, i. 222, and in his Letter to N. G. Taylor in 1868, and has printed a considerable part of Waterhouse’s account in his Virginia Company, p. 317 et seq.

The massacre is also incidentally mentioned by the present writer in a paper, “Early Iron Manufacture in Virginia, 1619-1776,” in the Richmond Standard, Feb. 8, 1879, and by James M. Swank, in “Statistics of the Iron and Steel Production of the United States,” compiled for the Tenth Census, which may also be referred to for information as to that industry in the Colony of Virginia.


An examination of the story of Claiborne’s rebellion is made in the Maryland chapter in the present volume.

Respecting Bacon’s rebellion, the fullest of the contemporary accounts is that of T. M. on “The beginning, progress, and conclusion of Bacon’s Rebellion,” which is printed in Force’s Tracts, vol. i. no. 8.[319] Equally important is a MS. “Narrative of the Indian and Civil Wars in Virginia,” now somewhat defective, which was found among the papers of Captain Nathaniel Burwell, and lent to the Massachusetts Historical Society and printed carelessly in their Collections in 1814, vol. xi., and copied thence by Force in his Tracts, vol. i. no. 11, in 1836. The MS. was again collated in 1866, and reprinted accurately in the Society’s Proceedings, ix. 299, when the original was surrendered to the Virginia Historical Society (Proceedings, ix. 244, 298; x. 135). Tyler, American Literature, i. 80, assigns its authorship to one Cotton, of Aquia Creek, whose wife is said to be the writer of “An Account of our late troubles in Virginia,” which was first printed in the Richmond Enquirer, Sept. 12, 1804, and again in Force’s Tracts, vol. i. no. 9. The popular spreading of the news in England of the downfall of the rebellion was helped by a little tract, Strange news from Virginia, of which there is a copy in Harvard College Library. There is in the British Museum Sir William Berkeley’s list of those executed under that governor’s retaliatory measures, which has been printed in Force’s Tracts, vol. i. no. 10.

Other original documents may be found in Hening’s Statutes at Large, vol. ii.; in the appendix of Burk’s Virginia; and in the Aspinwall Papers, i. 162, 189, published in the Mass. Hist. Coll. An Historical Account of some Memorable Actions, particularly in Virginia, etc., by “Sir Thomas Grantham, Knight” (London, 1716), was reprinted in fac-simile with an Introduction by the present writer (Carlton McCarthy & Co., Richmond, 1882).[320] The fragment of the records of the General Court of Virginia, cited as being in the Collections of the Virginia Historical Society, contains details of the trial of the participants in the “rebellion” not included in Hening, and the abstracts from the English State-Paper Office, furnished by Mr. Sainsbury to the State Library of Virginia, give unpublished details. Extracts from the same source are in the library of the present writer. There are various papers in the early volumes of the Hist. Mag.; see April, 1867, for a contemporary letter. Massachusetts Bay proclaimed the insurgents rebels.[321]

The earliest History of Virginia after John Smith’s was an anonymous one published in London in 1705, with De Bry’s pictures reduced by Gribelin. When it was translated into French, and published two years later (1707) both at Amsterdam and Orleans (Paris), the former issue assigned the authorship to D. S., which has been interpreted D. Stevens, and so it remained in other editions, some only title editions, printed at Amsterdam in 1712, 1716, and 1718, though the later date may be doubtful. (Sabin, ii. 5112.) The true author, a native of Virginia and a Colonial official, had meanwhile died there in 1716.[165] This was Robert Beverley.[322] The book is concisely written, and is not without raciness and crispness; but its merits are perhaps a little overestimated in Tyler’s American Literature, ii. 264. His considerate judgment of the Indians is not, however, less striking than praiseworthy. For the period following the Restoration he may be considered the most useful, though he is not independent of a partisan sympathy.

Sir William Keith’s History of Virginia was undertaken, at the instance of the Society for the Encouragement of Learning, as the beginning of a series of books on the English plantations; but no others followed. It was published in 1738 with two maps,—one of America, the other of Virginia,—and he depended almost entirely on Beverley, and brings the story down to 1723.[323] Forty years after Beverley the early history of the colony was again told, but only down to 1624, by the Rev. William Stith, then rector of Henrico Parish; being, however, at the time of his death (1755), the president of William and Mary College. He seems to have been discouraged from continuing his narrative because the “generous and public-spirited” gentlemen of Virginia were unwilling to pay the increased cost of putting into his Appendix the early documents which give a chief value to his book to-day. He had the use of the Collingwood transcript of the records of the Virginia Company. His book, History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia, was published at Williamsburg in 1747, and there are variations in copies to puzzle the bibliographer.[324] Stith’s diffuseness and lack of literary skill have not prevented his becoming a high authority with later writers, notwithstanding that he implicitly trusts and even praises the honesty of Smith.[325]

The somewhat inexact History of Virginia by John Burk has some of the traits of expansive utterance which might be expected of an expatriated Irishman who had been implicated in political hazards, and who was yet to fall in a duel in 1808.[326] This book, which was published in three volumes at Petersburg (1804-5), was dedicated to Jefferson. A fourth volume, by Skelton Jones and Louis Hue Girardin, was added in 1816; but as the edition was in large part destroyed by a fire, it is rarely found with the other three.[327] Burk used the copy of the Virginia Company records which had belonged to John Randolph, as well as some collections made by Hickman (which Randolph had had made when it was his intention to write on Virginian history), and Colonel Byrd’s Journal.

The name of Campbell is twice associated with the history of Virginia. J. W. Campbell published in 1813 at Petersburg a meagre and unimportant History of Virginia, coming down to 1781. The best known, however, is the work of Charles Campbell, his son, who in 1847, at Richmond, published a well-written Introduction to the History of Virginia, and in 1860, at Philadelphia, a completed History of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia, coming down to 1783,—a book written before John Smith was called a[166] romancer. The book, however defective in arrangement and execution, is thought to be the best general authority.[328]

The most comprehensive History of Virginia is that of Robert R. Howison, vol. i. coming down to 1763, being published at Philadelphia in 1846, and vol. ii., ending in 1847, being published at Richmond the next year. He is a pleasing writer, but sacrifices fact to rhetoric, though he makes an imposing display of references.

To these may be added, in passing, William H. Brockenbrough’s Outline of History of Virginia to 1754; Martin’s Gazetteer, 1835, and Howe’s Historical Collections of Virginia, printed in Charleston, 1856.

Respecting the religious history of the colony, besides the general historians, there have been several special treatments. Mr. Neill has written upon the Puritan affinities in Hours at Home, November, 1867, and on Thomas Harrison and the Virginia Puritans in his English Colonization, where is also a chapter on the planting of the Church of England.

Patrick Copland’s sermon, Virginia’s God be thanked, was preached before the Company in London, April 18, 1622; a copy of which is in Harvard College Library. Cf. Mr. Neill’s Memoir of Rev. Patrick Copland, New York, 1871, p. 52, and his English Colonization, p. 104.

Further, see Hawkes’s Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of the United States, “Virginia,” 1836; Hening’s Statutes; Papers relating to the History of the Church in Virginia, 1650-1770, by W. S. Perry, 1870; Hammond’s Leah and Rachel, 1656; Bishop Meade’s Old Churches, etc., 1855; “Notes on the Virginia Colonial Clergy” in the Episcopal Recorder, and reprinted separately by E. D. Neill, 1877; Savage’s Winthrop’s History of New England, and Anderson’s Church of England in the Colonies, 1856.

The writer has also in his possession the Records of the Monthly Meeting of Henrico County, June 10, 1699-1797, which he designs to use in a history of the Society of Friends in Virginia. He has also earlier isolated records, and a partial registry of births, marriages, and deaths of those of the faith of the Society in Henrico and Hanover counties in the eighteenth century.

For an account of early manufactures in Virginia, see Bishop’s History of American Manufactures, 1866. For a view of the early agriculture, see a paper by the present writer on the History of Tobacco in Virginia from its Settlement to 1790; Statistics, Agriculture, and Commerce, prepared for the Tenth Census; History of Agriculture in Virginia, by N. F. Cabell, 1857; the Farmers’ Register, 1833-42; Transactions of the State Agricultural Society of Virginia, 1855; and “Virginia Colonial Money and Tobacco’s Part therein,” by W. L. Royall, in Virginia Law Journal, August, 1877.

For a view of slavery in the colony, see Bancroft, ch. v.; O’Callaghan’s Voyages of the Slavers; Wilson’s Rise and Fall of the Slave Power; Cobb’s Inquiry; and the works of Cabell, Fitzhugh, Fletcher, Hammond, Ross, Stringfellow, and general histories.

It is evident that no single author has yet given an adequate history of Virginia; and while it is true that much precious material therefor has perished, it is believed that the original record is yet not wanting for such a representation of the past of the State as would be at once more intelligible as to the motives which occasioned events, and more convincingly just in the recital of them.



A. Maps of Virginia or the Chesapeake.—There seem to have been visits of the Spaniards to the Chesapeake at an early day (1566-1573), and they may have made a temporary settlement (1570) on the Rappahannock. (Robert Greenhow in C. Robinson’s Discoveries in the West, p. 487, basing on Barcia’s Ensayo Chronologico; Historical Magazine, iii. 268, 318; J. G. Shea in Beach’s Indian Miscellany.) In the map which De Bry gave with the several editions of Hariot in 1590, the bay appears as “Chesepiooc Sinus;” but in the more general maps, shortly after, the name Chesipooc, or some form of it, is applied rather wildly to some bay on the coast, as by Wytfliet’s in 1597, or earlier still by Thomas Hood, 1592, where the “B. de S. Maria” of the Spaniards, if intended for the Chesapeake, is given an outline as vague as the rest of the neighboring coast, where it appears as shown in the sketch in chapter vi. between the Figs. 1 and 2. It may be, as Stevens contends (Historical and Geographical Notes), that not before Smith were the entangling Asian coast-lines thoroughly eliminated from this region; but certainly there was no wholly recognizable delineation of the bay till Smith recorded the results of the explorations which he describes in his Generall Historie, chs. v. and vi. Smith indicates by crosses on the affluents of the bay the limits of his own observations. Strachey’s Historie of Travaile, p. 42.

In Smith’s Map of Virginia, with a Description of the Country, etc., Oxford, 1612, W. S., or William Strachey, eked out the little tract with an appendix of others’ contributions. Strachey afterwards adopted a considerable part in his Historie of Travaile. Mr. Deane, in his edition of the True Relation, p. xxi, has given a full account of this tract. Smith reprinted it in his Generall Historie with some changes and additions and small omissions. Purchas reprinted it in his Pilgrimes, but not without changes and omissions of small extent, and with some additions, which he credits on the margin to Smith; and he had earlier given an abstract of it in his Pilgrimage. There is a copy of the original in the Lenox Library. Tyler, American Literature, i. 30, notices it.

The map accompanying this tract, engraved by W. Hole, appeared in three impressions (Stevens’s Bibliotheca Historica, 1870, no. 1,903). It was altered somewhat, and the words, “Page 41, Smith,” were put in the lower right-hand corner, when it was next used in the Generall Historie, 1624 and later; and in 1625 it was again inserted at pp. 1836-37 of Purchas’s Pilgrimes, vol. iv. De Bry next re-engraved it in part xiii. of his Great Voyages, printed in German, 1627, and in Latin 1634; and in part xiv. in German in 1630 (Carter-Brown Catalogue, i. 370-71). It was also re-engraved for Gottfriedt’s Newe Welt, published at Frankfort, and marked “Erforshet und beschriben durch Capitain Iohan Schmidt.” The compiler of this last book was J. Ph. Abelin, who had been one of De Bry’s co-workers, and he made this work in some sort an abridgment of De Bry’s, use being made of his plates, often inserting them in the text, the book being first issued in 1631, and again in 1655. (Muller’s Books on America, 1872, no. 636, and (1877) no. 1,269.)

The map was next used in two English editions of Hondy’s Mercator, “Englished by W. S.” 1635, etc., but with some fanciful additions, as Mr. Deane says (Bohn’s Lowndes, p. 1103). The map of the coast in De Laet, 1633 and 1640, was, it would seem, founded upon it for the Chesapeake region; cf. also the map of Virginia and Florida called “par Mercator,” of date 1633, and the maps by Blaeu, of 1655 and 1696.

Once more Smith’s plot adorned, in 1671, Ogilby’s large folio on America, p. 193, as it had also found place in the prototype of Ogilby, the Amsterdam Montanus of 1671 and 1673. In these two books (1671-73) also appeared the map “Virginiæ, partis australis et Floridæ, partis orientalis, nova descriptio,” which shows the coast from the Chesapeake down to the 30th degree of north latitude.

Smith’s was finally substantially copied as late as 1735, as the best available source, in A Short Account of the First Settlement of the Provinces, etc., London, 1735,—a contribution to the literature of the boundary dispute, and was doubtless the basis of the map in Keith’s Virginia in 1738; but it finally gave place to Fry and Jefferson’s map of the region in 1750.

A phototype fac-simile, reduced about one quarter, of the earliest state of the original map in the Harvard College copy of the Oxford tract of 1612 is given herewith. A similar fac-simile, full size, is given in Mr. Deane’s reprint of the True Relation, though it was not published in that tract. A lithographic fac-simile, full size, but without the pictures in the upper corners, is given in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Strachey, p. 23. Other reproductions will be found in Scharf’s Maryland, i. 6, Scharf’s Baltimore City and County, 1881, p. 38, and in Cassell’s[168] United States, p. 27. That in the Richmond (1819) reprint of the Generall Historie is well done, full size, on copper. This copperplate was rescued in 1867 from the brazier’s pot by the late Thomas H. Wynne, and at the sale of his library in 1875 was purchased for the State Library of Virginia.

Neill, in his Virginia Company, p. 191, mentions “A mapp of Virginia, discovered to ye Hills and its latt. from 35 deg. and ½ neer Florida to 41 deg. bounds of New England. Domina Virginia Ferrar collegit, 1651,” and identifies this compiler of the map as a daughter of John Ferrar. The map we suppose to be the one engraved by Goddard. This map is associated with a London publication of 1650, called Virgo triumphans, or Virginia richly and truly valued, which is usually ascribed to Edward Williams, but is held nevertheless to be in substance the work of John Ferrar of Geding. There were two editions of this year (1650): Brinley Catalogue no. 3,816; Quaritch, General Catalogue, no. 12,535, held at £36 John Ferrar’s copy of the first edition, with his notes, and the original drawing of the map, inserted by Ferrar to make up a deficiency in the first edition, of which he complains. Quaritch prices a good copy without such annotations at £25. The second edition (1650) had additions, as shown in the title, Virginia, more especially the South part thereof, second edition, with addition of the discovery of silkworms, etc. In this the same map appeared engraved as above, and the Huth copy of it has it in two states, one without, and the other with an oval portrait of Sir Francis Drake. (Huth Catalogue, v. 1594.) The Harvard College copy lacks the map, which is described by Quaritch (no. 12,536, who prices this edition at £32) in a copy from the Bathurst Library, as a folding sheet exhibiting New Albion as well as Virginia, with the purpose of showing an easy northern passage to the Pacific, the text representing the Mississippi as dividing the two countries, and flowing into the South Sea; see also Menzies’ Catalogue, no. 2,143, and the note in Major’s edition of Strachey, p. 34, on a map published in 1651 in London. This second edition was the one which Force followed in reprinting it in his Tracts, vol. iii. no. 11. The Huth Catalogue notes a third edition, Virginia in America richly valued, 1651. The map is given on a later page.

B. The Virginia Historical Society.—From 1818 to 1828 the eleven volumes of the Evangelical and Literary Magazine, edited at Richmond by John Holt Rice, D.D., had contained some papers on the early history of the State, but no organized effort was made to work in this direction before the Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society was formed, in December, 1831, with Chief Justice Marshall as president, and under its auspices a small volume of Collections was issued in 1833; but from February, 1838, to 1847 the Society failed to be of any influence. Meanwhile, from 1834 to 1864 the Southern Literary Messenger afforded some means for the local antiquaries and historical students to communicate with one another and the public.

In December, 1847, a revival of interest resulted in a reorganization of the old Association as the Virginia Historical Society, with the Hon. William C. Rives as president. Promptly ensuing, Maxwell’s Virginia Historical Register was started as an organ of the Society, and was published from 1848 to 1853,—six volumes. The Society laid a plan of publishing the annals of the State, and, as preliminary, intrusted to Conway Robinson, Esq., the preparation of a volume which was published in 1848 as An Account of the Discoveries in the West until 1529, and of Voyages to and along the Atlantic Coast of North America from 1520 to 1573. This was an admirable summary, and deserves wider recognition than it has had. It subsequently published, besides various addresses, The Virginia Historical Reporter, 1854-1860, which contained accounts of the Society’s meetings. The Civil War interrupted its work, but in 1867 the Society was again resuscitated, and it has been under active management since. There is a bibliography of its publications in the Historical Magazine, xvii. 340. Its historical students have contributed to the files of the Richmond Standard since Sept. 7, 1878, much early reprinted and later original matter relating to Virginia.

NOTE.—Since this chapter was completed has appeared Mr. George W. Williams’s Negro Race in America, which has a chapter on the history of Slavery in the colony of Virginia; and also Mr. J. A. Doyle’s The English in America, Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, London, 1882.





Formerly Editor of the Magazine of American History.

THE story of Norumbega is invested with the charms of fable and romance. The name is found in the map of Hieronimus da Verrazano of 1529, as “Aranbega,” being restricted to a definite and apparently unimportant locality. Suddenly, in 1539, Norumbega appears in the narrative of the Dieppe Captain as a vast and opulent region, extending from Cape Breton to the Cape of Florida. About three years later Allefonsce described the “River of Norumbega,” now identified with the Penobscot, and treated the capital of the country as an important market for the trade in fur. Various maps of the period of Allefonsce confine the name of Norumbega to a distinct spot; but Gastaldi’s map, published by Ramusio in 1556,—though modelled after Verrazano’s, of which indeed it is substantially an extract,—applies the name to the region lying between Cape Breton and the Jersey coast. From this time until the seventeenth century Norumbega was generally regarded as embracing all New England, and sometimes portions of Canada, though occasionally the country was known by other names. Still, in 1582, Lok seems to have thought that the Penobscot formed the southern boundary of Norumbega, which he shows on his map[329] as an island; while John Smith, in 1620, speaks of Norumbega as including New England and the region as far south as Virginia. On the other hand Champlain, in 1605, treated Norumbega as lying within the present territory of Maine. He searched for its capital on the banks of the Penobscot, and as late as 1669 Heylin was dreaming of the fair city of Norumbega.

Grotius, for a time at least, regarded the name as of Old Northern origin, and connected with “Norbergia.” It was also fancied that a people resembling the Mexicans once lived upon the banks of the Penobscot. Those who have labored to find an Indian derivation for the name say that it means “the place of a fine city.” At one time the houses of the city were supposed to be very splendid, and to be supported upon pillars of crystal and silver. Pearls were also reported as abundant, which at that[170] early period was no doubt the case. Charlevoix offers the unsupported statement that Francis I. made Roberval “Lord of Norumbega.” Roberval was certainly the patentee of the whole territory of Norumbega, though Mark Lescarbot made merry over the matter, as he could find nothing to indicate any town except a few miserable huts. It is reasonable to infer, however, that at an early period an Indian town of some celebrity existed. Like the ancient Hochelaga, which stood on the present site of Montreal and was visited and described by Cartier, it eventually passed away. To-day, but for Cartier, Hochelaga would have had quite as mythical a reputation as Norumbega, which, however, still forms an appropriate theme for critical inquiry.[330]

The first Englishman whose name has been associated with any portion of the region known as Norumbega was John Rut. This adventurer reached Newfoundland during August, 1527, and afterwards, according to Hakluyt’s report, sailed “towards Cape Breton and the coastes of Arembec;” but Purchas, who was better informed, says nothing about any southward voyage. One of the ships, the “Sampson,” was reported as lost, while the other, the “Mary of Guilford,” returned to England. There is nothing to prove that Rut even reached Cape Breton; much less is it probable that he explored the coast southward, along Nova Scotia, which was called “Arembec.”

The first Englishman certainly known to have reached any portion of the region here treated as Norumbega was David Ingram, a wandering sailor. During October, 1568, with about one hundred companions, he was landed on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico by Captain John Hawkins, who, on account of the scarcity of provisions, sailed away and left these messmates behind. With two of his companions Ingram travelled afoot along the Indian trails, passing through the territory of Massachusetts and Maine to the St. John’s River, where he embarked in a French ship, the “Gargarine,” commanded by Captain Champagne, and sailed for France. The narrative of his journey is profusely embellished by his imagination, it may be,—as is generally held; but that he accomplished the long march has never been doubted. At that period the minds of explorers were dazzled by dreams of rich and splendid cities in America, and Ingram simply sought to meet the popular taste by his reference to houses with pillars of crystal and silver.[331] He also says that he saw the city of Norumbega, called Bega, which was three fourths of a mile long and abounded with peltry. There is no doubt of his having passed through some large Indian village, and possibly his Bega may have been the Aranbega of Verrazano.

At the close of 1578 Sir Humphrey Gilbert made a voyage to North America, but may not have visited Norumbega. The earliest mention[171] of his expedition is that found in Dee’s Diary, under date of Aug. 5, 1578, where he says: “Mr. Raynolds, of Bridewell, tok his leave of me as he passed towards Dartmouth to go with Sir Umfry Gilbert towards Hochelaga.”[332]

The first known English expedition to Norumbega was made in a “little ffrigate” by Simon Ferdinando, who was in the service of Walsingham. Ferdinando sailed from Dartmouth in 1579, and was absent only three months. The brief account does not state what part of Norumbega was visited; but the circumstances point to the northern part, and presumably to the Penobscot region of Maine. It would also appear that the voyage was more or less of the nature of a reconnoissance.

The first Englishman known to have conducted an expedition to Norumbega was John Walker, who, the year following the voyage of Ferdinando, sailed to the river of Norumbega, in the service of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He reached the Penobscot, of which he gave a rough description, finding the region rich in furs, as described by Allefonsce and Ingram. He discovered a silver mine where modern enterprise is now every year opening new veins of silver and gold. This voyage, like that of his predecessor, proved a short one,—the return trip being made direct to France, where the “hides” which he had secured were sold for forty shillings apiece.

In 1583 Sir Humphrey Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland; and afterwards sailed for Norumbega, whither his “man” Walker had gone three years before. In latitude 44° north, near Sable Island, he lost his great ship, the “Admiral,” with most of his supplies; when, under stress of the autumnal gales, the brave knight reluctantly abandoned the expedition and shaped his course for home, sailing in a “little ffrigate,”—possibly the “barck” of Ferdinando. Off the Azores, in the midst of a furious storm, the frigate went down, carrying Sir Humphrey with her; just as, shortly before, Parmenius—a learned Hungarian who had joined the enterprise expressly to sing the praise of fair Norumbega in Latin verse—had gone down in the “Admiral.”

In 1584, while Sir Humphrey Gilbert lay sleeping in his ocean grave, Raleigh was active in Virginia, where the work of colonization was pushed forward during a period of six years.[333] Meanwhile the services of Simon Ferdinando as pilot were employed in this direction in the pay of Granville, and Norumbega for a space was unsearched, so far as we know, by the exploring English. There seems, however, ground for supposing that the fisheries or trade in peltries may have allured an occasional trafficking vessel, and contraband voyages may have been carried on without the knowledge of the patentee, the furs being sold in France. The elder Hakluyt appears to have had a very fair idea of the region, and he knew of the copper mines off the eastern coast of Maine, at the Bay of Menan, which was laid down on the map of Molyneux. Nevertheless, the only voyager that we can now[172] point to is Richard Strong, of Apsham, who, in 1593, sailed to Cape Breton, and afterwards cruised some time “up and down the coast of Arembec to the west and southwest of Cape Breton.” He doubtless searched for seal in the waters of Maine, and made himself familiar with its shores. It is said that he saw men, whom he “judged to be Christians,” sailing in boats to the southwest of Cape Breton.

The opening of the seventeenth century witnessed a revival of English colonial enterprise; and Sir Walter Raleigh, though busy with schemes for privateering, nevertheless found time to think of Virginia, of which, both north and south, he was now the patentee. Accordingly he sent out a vessel to Virginia under Mace, evidently with reference to the lost colonists.[334] Upon the return of Mace, Sir Walter went to Weymouth to confer with him, when, to his surprise, he learned that, without authority, another expedition had visited that portion of his grant which was still often called Norumbega. This was the expedition of Gosnold, who sailed from Falmouth, March 26, 1602, in a small bark belonging to Dartmouth, and called the “Concord.” The company numbered thirty-two persons, eleven of whom intended to remain and plant a colony, apparently quite forgetful of the fact that they were intruders and liable to be proceeded against by the patentee. In this voyage Gosnold took the direct route, sailing between the high and low latitudes, and making a saving of nearly a thousand miles. In this respect he has been regarded as an innovator, though probably Walker pursued the same course. If there is no earlier instance, Verrazano, as we now know, in 1524 set navigators the example of the direct course, thereby avoiding the West Indies and the Spaniards. It is reasonable to suppose that Gosnold took the idea direct from Verrazano, as he left Falmouth with the Florentine’s letter in his hand, referring directly to it in his own letter to his father; while Brereton and Archer made abundant use of it in their accounts of the voyage. On May 14 Gosnold sighted the coast of Maine near Casco Bay, calling the place Northland; twelve leagues southwest of which he visited Savage Rock, or Cape Neddock, where the Indians came out in a Basque shallop, and with a piece of chalk drew for him sketches of the coast. Next Gosnold sailed southward sixteen leagues to Boon Island, and thence, at three o’clock in the afternoon, he steered out “into the sea,” holding his course still southward until morning, when the “Concord” was embayed by a “mighty headland.” Their last point of departure could not have been nearer the “mighty headland,” which was Cape Cod, than indicated by the sailing time. If the starting-point had been Cape Ann, they would have sighted Cape Cod before sunset. Archer says, when at Savage Rock, that they were short of their “purposed voyage.” They had, then, a definite plan. Evidently they were sailing to the place, south of Cape Cod, described in the letter of Verrazano. Gosnold may have seen this island in the great Verrazano map described by Hakluyt. At all events[173] Cape Cod was rounded, and the expedition reached that island of the Elizabeth group now known as Cuttyhunk, where, upon an islet in a small lake, they spent three weeks in building a fortified house, which they roofed with rushes. All this work they kept a secret from the Indians, while they intended, according to the narrative, to establish a permanent abode. Indeed, this appears to have been the particular region for which Sir Humphrey was sailing in 1583, as we know by Hakluyt’s annotation on the margin of his translation of Verrazano which Gosnold used.

From Cuttyhunk the members of the expedition made excursions to the mainland, and they also loaded their vessel with sassafras and cedar. When, however, the time fixed for the ship’s departure came, those who were to remain as colonists fell to wrangling about the division of the supplies; and, as signs of a “revolt” appeared, the prospects of a settlement began to fade, if indeed the idea of permanence had ever been seriously entertained. Soon “all was given over;” and June 17 the whole company abandoned their beautiful isle, with the “house and little fort,” and set sail, desiring nothing so much as the sight of their native land. Gliding past the gorgeous cliffs of Gay Head, the demoralized company had no relish for the scene, but sailed moodily on to No-Man’s Land, where they caught some wild fowl and anchored for the night. The next day the “Concord,” freighted we fear with discord, resumed the voyage, and took her tedious course over the solitary sea.

Gosnold reached South Hampton on the 23d of July, having “not one cake of bread” and only a “little vinegar left;” yet even here his troubles did not end, for in the streets of Weymouth he soon encountered Sir Walter Raleigh, who confiscated his cargo of sassafras and cedar boards, on the ground that the voyage was made without his consent, and therefore contraband. Gosnold nevertheless protected his own interests by ingratiating himself with Raleigh, leaving the loss to fall the more heavily on his associates. Thus was Raleigh made, upon the whole, well pleased with the results of the voyage, and he resolved to send out both ships again. Speaking with reference to the unsettled region covered by his patent, he says, “I shall yet live to see it an Englishe nation.”

The year 1603 was signalized by the death of Elizabeth and the accession of James, while at nearly the same time Raleigh’s public career came to an end. Before the cloud settled upon his life, two expeditions were sent out. The “Elizabeth” went to Virginia, under the command of Gilbert, who lost his life there; while Martin Pring sailed with two small vessels for New England. Pring commanded the “Speedwell,” and Edmund Jones, his subordinate, was master of the “Discoverer.” This expedition had express authority from Raleigh “to entermeddle and deale in that action.” It was set on foot by Hakluyt and the chief merchants of Bristol. Leaving England April 10, Pring sighted the islands of Maine on the 2d of June, and, coasting southward, entered one of the rivers. He finally reached Savage Rock, where he failed to find sassafras, the chief object of his voyage,[174] and accordingly “bore into that great Gulfe which Captaine Gosnold overshot.” This gulf was Massachusetts Bay, the northern side of which did not answer his expectations; whereupon he crossed to the southern side, and entered the harbor now called Plymouth, finding as much sassafras as he desired, and he remained there for about six weeks. The harbor was named Whitson, in honor of the Mayor of Bristol; and a neighboring hill, probably Captain’s Hill, was called Mount Aldworth, after another prominent Bristol merchant. On the shore the adventurers built a “small baricado to keepe diligent watch and warde in” while the sassafras was being gathered in the woods. They also planted seed to test the soil. Hither the Indians came in great numbers, and “did eat Pease and Beans with our men,” dancing also with great delight to the “homely musicke” of a “Zitterne,” which a young man in the company could play. This fellow was rewarded by the savages with tobacco and pipes, together with “snake skinnes of sixe foote long.” These were used as belts, and formed a large part of the savage attire, though upon their breasts they wore plates of “brasse.”

By the end of July Pring had loaded the “Discoverer” with sassafras, when Jones sailed in her for England, leaving Pring to complete the cargo of the other ship. Soon the Indians became troublesome, and, armed with their bows and arrows, surrounded the “baricado,” evidently intending to make an attack; but when Pring’s mastiff, “greate Foole,” appeared, holding a half-pike between his jaws, they were alarmed, and tried to turn their action into a jest. Nevertheless, the day before Pring sailed for England, they set the forest on fire “for a mile space.” On August 9 the “Elizabeth” departed from Whitson Bay, and reached Kingsroad October 2. Thus two years before Champlain explored Plymouth Harbor, naming it Port of Cape St. Louis, ten years before the Dutch visited the place, calling it Crane Bay, and seventeen years before the arrival of the Leyden Pilgrims, Englishmen became familiar with the whole region, and loaded their ships with fragrant products of the neighboring woods.

We next approach the period when the French came to seek homes on the coasts of the ancient Norumbega, as, in 1604, De Monts and Champlain established themselves at St. Croix,—the latter making a voyage to Mount Desert, where he met the savages, who agreed to guide him to the Penobscot, or Peimtegoüet, believed to be the river “which many pilots and historians call Norembegue.” He ascended the stream to the vicinity of the present Bangor, and met the “Lord” of Norumbega; but the silver-pillared mansions and towers had disappeared. The next year he coasted New England to Cape Malabar, but a full account of the French expeditions is assigned to another volume of the present work.

The voyage of Waymouth, destined to have such an important bearing upon the future of New England colonization, was begun and ended before Champlain embarked upon his second expedition from St. Croix, and the[175] English captain thus avoided a collision with the French. Waymouth sailed from Dartmouth on Easter Sunday, May 15, 1605 evidently intending to visit the regions south of Cape Cod described by Brereton and Verrazano. Upon meeting contrary winds at his landfall in 41° 2´ north, being of an irresolute temper, he bore away for the coast farther east; and on June 18 he anchored on the north side of the island of Monhegan. He was highly pleased with the prospect, and hoped that it would prove the “most fortunate ever discovered.” The next day was Whitsunday, when he entered the present Booth’s Bay, which he named Pentecost Harbor. He afterwards explored the Kennebec, planting a cross at one of its upper reaches; and, sailing for England June 16, he carried with him five of the Kennebec natives, whom he had taken by stratagem and force.

In connection with Waymouth’s voyage we have the earliest indications of English public worship, which evidently was conducted according to the forms of the Church, in the cabin of the “Archangel,” the savages being much impressed thereby.[335] The historian of Waymouth’s voyage declares “a public good, and true zeal of promulgating God’s holy Church by planting Christianity, to be the sole intent of the honorable setter forth of this discovery.”

The narrative of Waymouth’s voyage was at once published, and attracted the attention of Sir John Popham, chief-justice. It also greatly encouraged Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who, in connection with Sir John, obtained from King James two patents,—one for the London and the other for the Plymouth company; the latter including that portion of ancient Norumbega extending from 38° north to 45° north, thus completely ignoring the claims of the French. The patentees were entitled to exercise all those powers which belong to settled and well-ordered society, being authorized to coin money, impose taxes and duties, and maintain a general government for twenty-one years.

This was accomplished in 1606, when Sir Ferdinando Gorges sent out a ship under Captain Challons, which was captured by the Spaniards and never reached her destination. Before hearing of the loss of this ship, another was despatched under Thomas Hanam, with Martin Pring as master. Failing to find Challons, they made a very careful exploration of the region, which Sir Ferdinando says was the best that ever came into his hands. In the mean time the five Indians brought home by[176] Waymouth had been in training for use in connection with colonization under the supervision of Gorges. Indeed he expressly says that these Indians were the means, “under God, of putting on foot and giving life to all our plantations.” Accordingly the plans of a permanent colony were projected, and on the last day of May, 1607, two ships—the “Gift of God” and the “Mary and John”—were despatched under the command of Captain George Popham, brother of the chief-justice, and Captain Raleigh Gilbert. At the end of twenty-one days the expedition reached the Azores, where the “Mary and John,” having been left behind by her consort, barely escaped from the Netherlanders. Finally, leaving the Azores, Gilbert stood to sea, crossing the ocean alone, and sighted the hills of Le Have, Nova Scotia, July 30. After visiting the harbor of Le Have, Gilbert sailed southward, rounding Cape Sable, and entered the “great deep Bay” of Fundy. Then he passed the Seal Islands, evidently being well acquainted with the ground, and next shaped his course for the region of the Penobscot, looking in the mean time for the Camden Hills, which, on the afternoon of August 5, lifted their three double peaks above the bright summer sea. As he confidently stood in towards the land, the Matinicus Islands soon shone white “like unto Dover clifts;” and afterward the “Mary and John” found good anchorage close under Monhegan, Waymouth’s fortunate island, named in honor of England’s patron saint, St. George. Landing upon the island Gilbert found a sightly cross, which had been set up by Waymouth or some other navigator. The next morning, as the “Mary and John” was leaving Monhegan, a sail appeared. It proved to be the “Gift of God,” of whose voyage no account is now known. In company with his consort Gilbert returned to the anchorage ground. At midnight he made a visit to Pemaquid, on the mainland, accompanied by Skidwarres, one of Waymouth’s Indians, rowing over the placid waters with measured stroke among many “gallant islands.” They found the village sought for, and then returned. The next day was Sunday, when the two ships’ companies landed upon Monhegan,—then crowned with primeval forests and festooned with luxuriant vines,—where their preacher, the Rev. Richard Seymour, delivered a discourse and offered prayers of thanksgiving. The following is the entry of the pilot:—

“Sondaye beinge the 9th of August, in the morninge the most part of our holl company of both our shipes landed on this Illand, the wch we call St. George’s Illand, whear the crosse standeth; and thear we heard a sermon delyvred unto us by our preacher, gguinge God thanks for our happy metinge and saffe aryvall into the contry; and so retorned abord aggain.”

This, so far as our present information extends, is the first recorded religious service by any English or Protestant clergyman within the bounds of New England, which was then consecrated to Christian civilization.

On Sunday, August 19, after encountering much danger, both ships were safely moored in the harbor of Sagadahoc at the mouth of the Kennebec. The adventurers then proceeded to build a pinnace called the “Virginia,” the first vessel built in New England. She crossed the Atlantic several times.



This sketch-map follows one given with Sewall’s paper on “Popham’s town,” in Maine Hist. Coll., vii. See a more extended sketch of the coast in the Critical Essay.

The Kennebec was explored by Gilbert, while a fort, a church, a storehouse, and some dwellings were built upon the peninsula of Sabino, selected as the site of the colony. The two ships returned to England, the “Mary and John” bearing a Latin epistle from Captain Popham to King James. It gave a glowing description of the country, which was even supposed to produce nutmegs. During the winter Popham died; and in the spring, when a ship came out with supplies, the colonists were found to be greatly discouraged, their storehouse having been destroyed by fire, and the winter having proved extremely cold. Besides, no indications of precious metals were found, and they now learned that the chief-justice, like his brother, had passed away. Accordingly the fort, “mounting twelve guns,” was abandoned, and Strachey says “this was the end of that northern colony upon the river Sagadehoc.”


After the abandonment of Sabino the English were actively engaged in traffic upon the coast; as appears from the testimony of Captain John Smith, who, in describing his visit to Monhegan in 1614, says that opposite “in the Maine,” called Pemaquid, was a ship of Sir Francis Popham, whose people had used the port for “many yeares” and had succeeded in monopolizing the fur-trade. The particulars concerning these voyages, and the scattered settlers around the famous peninsula of Pemaquid, are not now accessible.

The next Englishman to be referred to is Henry Hudson, who, with a crew composed of English and Dutch, visited Maine in 1609,—probably finding a harbor at Mt. Desert, where he treated the Indians with cruelty and fired upon them with cannon. Sailing thence he touched at Cape Cod, and went to seek a passage to the Indies by the way of Hudson River, which had been visited by Verrazano in 1524, and named by Gomez the following year in honor of St. Anthony. The voyage of Hudson is not of necessity connected with English enterprise.[336] The next year Captain Argall, from Virginia, visited the Penobscot region for supplies, but he does not appear to have communicated with any of his countrymen.

In 1611 the English showed themselves on the coast with a strong hand. This fact is learned from a letter of the Jesuit Biard, who, in writing to his superior at Rome, gives the history of an encounter between the English and French. From his narrative it appears that early in 1611 a French captain, named Plastrier, undertook to go to the Kennebec, and was made a prisoner by two ships “that were in an isle called Emmetenic, eight leagues from the said Kennebec.” He escaped by paying a ransom and agreeing not to intrude any more. This fact coming to the knowledge of Biencourt, the commander at Port Royal, the irate Frenchman proceeded to the Kennebec to find the English and to obtain satisfaction from them. Upon reaching the site of the Popham colony at Sabino, Biencourt found the place deserted. On his return he visited Matinicus (Emmetenic), where he saw the shallops of the English on the beach, but did not burn them, for the reason that they belonged to peaceful civilians and not to soldiers. Who then were the English for whom Biencourt was so considerate? Evidently they were those led by Captains Harlow and Hobson, who, as stated by Smith, sailed from Southampton for the purpose of discovering an isle “supposed to be about Cape Cod.” They visited that cape and Martha’s Vineyard, and, it would appear, sailed along the coast of Maine, where they showed Plastrier their papers, indicating that they acted by authority. Possibly, however, Sir Francis Popham’s agent, Captain Williams, may have been the commander who expelled the French. At all events there was no lack of English representation on the coast of New England in 1611. Smith, speaking in a fit of discouragement, says that “for any plantation there was no more speeches;” but the fact that Sir Francis annually for many years sent ships to the coast indicates brisk enterprise, though there[179] may have been no movement in favor of such a venture as that of the colony of 1607. Many scattered settlers, no doubt, were living around Pemaquid. Smith may be quoted again as saying that no Englishman was then living on the coast; but this is something that he could not know. It is also opposed to recognized facts, and to the declaration of Biard that the English in Maine desired “to be masters.” Still we do not at present know the name of a single Englishman living in New England during the winter of 1611. In 1612 Captain Williams was opposite Monhegan, at Pemaquid, where, no doubt, his agents lived all the year round, collecting furs. In 1613 the scene became more animated. At this period the French were boldly inclined, and Madame de Guercheville had determined to found a Jesuit mission in what was called Acadia. In 1613, therefore, the Jesuits Biard and Masse left Port Royal and proceeded to establish themselves on the border of Somes’s Sound in Mount Desert, where they began to land their goods and build a fortification, the ship in which they came being anchored near the shore. Argall, who was fishing in the neighborhood, learned of their arrival from the Indians, and by a sharp and sudden attack captured the French ship. He sent a part of the company to Nova Scotia, and carried others to Virginia. This action was not justified by the English Government, and some time afterward the French ship was surrendered.[337]

In the year 1614 Captain John Smith, the hero of Virginia, enters upon the New England scene; yet his coming would appear, in some respects, to have been without any very careful prevision, since he begins his narrative by saying, “I chanced to arive in New England, a parte of Ameryca, at the Ile of Monahiggan.” The object of his expedition was either to take whales or to try for mines of gold; and, failing in these, “Fish and Furres was our refuge.” In most respects the voyage was a failure, yet it nevertheless afforded him the opportunity of writing his Description of New England, whose coast he ranged in an open boat, from the Penobscot to Cape Cod. His brief description, so fresh and unconventional, will never lose its value and charm; and, because so unique, it will maintain a place in the historical literature of its time. Smith knew that his impressions were more or less crude, yet the salient features of the coast are well presented. At the Penobscot he saw none of the people, as they had gone inland for the summer to fish; and at Massachusetts, by which he meant the territory around Boston, “the Paradise of all those parts,” he found the French six weeks in advance of him, they being the first Europeans known to have visited the place. The River of Massachusetts was reported by the natives as extending “many daies Iourney into the entralles of that countrey.” At Cohasset he was attacked by the natives, and was glad to escape; while at Accomacke, which he named Plymouth, he found nothing lacking but “an industrious people.” He was the third explorer to proclaim[180] in print the value of the situation.[338] One result of his examination was his Map of New England, which he presented to Prince Charles.[339]

During the year 1614 another expedition was sent out. Gorges says that while he was considering the best means of reviving his “languishing hopes” of colonization, Captain Harlow brought to him one of the Indians whom he had captured in 1611. This savage, named Epenow, had been exhibited in London as a curiosity, being “a goodly man of brave aspect.” Epenow was well acquainted with the New England tribes. At the same time Sir Ferdinando had recovered Assacumet, one of Waymouth’s Indians, who had been carried to Spain, in 1606, when Challons was captured by the Spaniards. The possession of these two Indians inspired the knight with hope, since he was firmly persuaded that in order to succeed in colonization it would be necessary to have the good-will of the natives, whose co-operation he hoped to secure through the good offices of those whom he had taught to appreciate, in some measure, the advantages of English civilization. In this respect he was wise. In connection therefore with the Earl of Southampton he fitted out a ship, which was put in command of Captain Hobson, whom he describes as “a grave gentleman.” Hobson himself invested a hundred pounds in the enterprise, one of the main objects of which was to discover mines of gold. This metal, Epenow said, would be found at Capawicke, or Martha’s Vineyard. Hobson sailed in June, 1614, and finally reached the place where Epenow was “to make good his undertaking,” and where the savages came on board and were entertained in a friendly and hospitable way. Among the guests were Epenow’s brothers and cousins, who improved the occasion to arrange for his escape,—it being decided, as it appears from what followed, that upon their return he should jump overboard and swim away, while the tribe menaced the English with arrows. They accordingly appeared in full strength at the appointed time, when Epenow, though closely watched, and clothed in flowing garments to render his retention the more certain, succeeded in evading his keepers and jumped overboard. Hobson’s musketeers immediately opened fire, foolishly endeavoring to shoot the swimming savage, while Epenow’s friends bravely shot their arrows and wounded the master of the ship and many of the crew. In the end Epenow escaped; and Sir Ferdinando says: “Thus were my hopes of that particular mode void and frustrate;” adding, that such are “the fruits to be looked for by employing men more zealous of gain than fraught with experience how to make it.” Hobson however did not lose so much as was supposed; for, though no doubt Epenow believed that gold existed at Capawicke, and that if it should prove necessary he could bring the English to the mine, it is clear that no precious metal existed. The supposed gold was simply a[181] sulphate of iron, which the mineralogist finds to-day in the aluminous clays of Gay Head.

Though both Smith and Hobson had failed essentially in the objects of their voyage, the former was not in the slightest degree disheartened, but spoke in such glowing terms of the country and its resources that the Plymouth Company resolved to take vigorous action, and offered Smith “the managing of their authority in those parts” for life. The London Company was also stirred up, and sent out four ships before the people of Plymouth acted. The Londoners offered Smith the command of their ships, which he declined, having already made a life-engagement. Nevertheless the London ships sailed in January, led by Captain Michael Cooper, and reached Monhegan in March, where they fished until June, and then sent a ship of three hundred tons to Spain loaded with fish. This ship was taken by the Turks, while another sailed to Virginia, leaving the third to return to England with fish and oil. Smith’s Plymouth friends, however, furnished only two ships. Nevertheless he sailed with these, Captain Dermer being second in command. His customary ill fortune still attended him, and not far from port he lost both his masts, while his consort went on to New England. Sailing a second time in a small vessel of sixty tons, Smith was next captured by French pirates; and, while tossing at sea in captivity, wrote his Description of New England. His language has been regarded as very significant where he speaks of “the dead patent of this unregarded country;” but this is the language of a depressed prisoner. The patent was not dead; while, if it had been dead, English enterprise was alive, of which his own voyage, though cut short by pirates, was a convincing proof. To show that the patent was not dead, the Plymouth Company, in 1615, sent out Sir Richard Hawkins, who was acting “as President for that year.” Hawkins sailed October 15. Gorges says that he spent his time while in New England very usefully in studying the products of the country; but unfortunately he arrived at the period when the Indian war was at its height, and many of the principal natives were killed. From New England he coasted to Virginia, and thence he sailed to Spain, “to make the best of such commodities as he had got together,” which Sir Ferdinando loosely says “was all that was done by any of us that year.” Nevertheless, Smith tells us that Plymouth in 1616 sent out four ships, and London two; while Purchas states that “eight voluntarie ships” went to New England to make “further tryall.” Another of two hundred tons, the “Nachen,” commanded by Edwarde Brawnde, who addressed an account of the voyage to “his worthye good frend Captayne John Smith, admirall of New England,” also went out. In his letter reference is made to other vessels on the coast. The “Nachen,” of London, sailed from Dartmouth March 8, and reached Monhegan April 20. Afterwards Brawnde went to Cape Cod in his pinnace to search for pearls, which were also the first things sought for by the Leyden emigrants, in 1620, when they reached the harbor of Provincetown. Brawnde also mentions that he had his boats detained by Sir[182] Richard Hawkins, who thus appears to have wintered upon the coast and to have sailed to Virginia in the spring. Notwithstanding various mishaps, Brawnde entertained a favorable impression of New England, where profitable voyages were to be made in fish and furs, if not spoiled by too many factors, while he found the climate good, and the savages “a gentell-natured people,” altogether friendly to the English.

In 1617 Smith himself made the discovery that the patent of New England was not dead. At that time he had secured three ships, while his life-appointment for the new country was reaffirmed. Still misfortune continued to pursue him, and he did not even succeed in leaving port. Together with a hundred sail he was wind-bound at Plymouth for three months. By the terms of the contract he says that he was to be admiral for life, and “in the renewing of their Letters pattents so to be nominated.” But for the unfortunate head-winds he would have gone to New England in 1617 and undertaken a permanent work, as the times were ripe. He might have begun either at Plymouth or Massachusetts, “the paradise of all those parts,” and thus have made Boston anything but a Nonconformist town.

In 1618 the English were still active, and Captain Rocroft went to Monhegan to meet Captain Dermer, who was expected from Newfoundland. Dermer, however, failed to appear, while Rocroft improved the occasion to seize “a small barque of Dieppe,” which he carried to Virginia. This Frenchman was engaged in the fur-trade at Saco, in disregard of the claims of the English; but Gorges, with his customary humanity, condoned the offence, the man “being of our religion,” and kindly made good his loss. Soon after capturing the French trader, Rocroft came near being the victim of a conspiracy on the part of certain of his own men. When the plot was discovered he spared their lives, but set them ashore at Saco, whence they went to Monhegan and passed the winter, but succeeded in escaping to England in the spring. About this time that poorly known character, Sir Richard Vines, passed a winter on the coast, probably at Saco, sleeping in the cabins of the Indians, and escaping the great plague, which swept away so many of the Sagamores. The winter fisheries were commonly pursued, and the presence of Englishmen on the coast all the year round was no doubt a common thing, while a trading-post must have been maintained at Pemaquid. Rocroft finally sailed to Virginia, where he wrecked his vessel, and then lost his life in a brawl. Thus suddenly this “gallant soldier” dropped out of New England history.

With the summer of 1619 Dermer finally reached Monhegan, the rendezvous of English ships, and found that Rocroft had sailed for Virginia. While his people engaged in fishing, he explored the coast in a pinnace as far as Plymouth, having Squanto for his guide, and then travelled afoot westward to Nummastuquyt, or Middleboro’. From this place he sent a messenger to the border of Narragansett Bay, who brought “two kings” to confer with him. Here also he redeemed a Frenchman who had been wrecked at Cape Cod. Dermer adds immediately, that he obtained another[183] at Mastachusit, or the region about Boston, which he must have visited on his way back to Monhegan. The account of his exploration is meagre; and he hints vaguely at a very important island found June 12, which may have been thought gold-bearing, as he says that he sent home “some of the earth.” Near by were two other islands, named “King James’s Isles,” because from thence he had “the first motives to search for that now probable passage which hereafter may be both honorable and profitable to his Majesty.” Clearly he refers to a supposed passage leading through the continent to the Pacific and the Indies. In a letter to Purchas, not now known, he mentioned the important island first referred to, and probably described its locality, though its identity is now left to conjecture. It may have been situated near Boston Harbor, while the “probable passage” may have been suggested by the mouths of the Mystic and the Charles, which, according to the report given by the natives to Smith, penetrated many days’ journey into the country.

Dermer finally reached Monhegan, and sent his ship home to England. He afterwards put his surplus supplies on board the “Sampson,” and despatched her for Virginia. He then embarked once more in his pinnace to range along the coast. Near Nahant, during a storm, his pinnace was beached; but getting off with the loss of many stores, and leaving behind his Indian guide, he sailed around Cape Cod. At a place south of the cape he was taken prisoner by the natives, but he escaped covered with wounds. Subsequently he sailed through Long Island Sound, and, passing through Hell Gate, he found it a “dangerous cataract.” While here the savages on the shore saluted him with a volley of arrows. In New York Harbor the natives proved peaceable, and undertook to show him a strait leading to the west; but, baffled by the wind, he sailed southward to Virginia, where he made a map of the coast, which he would not “part with for fear of danger.” This map probably exhibited his ideas respecting the “westward passage,” which was to be concealed from the French and Dutch.[340] In Virginia this late but hopeful explorer of Norumbega died.

Dermer was emphatically an explorer, and even in 1619 was dreaming of a route through New England to China; but his most important work was the peace made with the Indians at Plymouth. It is mentioned in his report to Gorges. This report was quoted in the Relation of the president and council, and was used by Morton and Bradford. The latter quotes him as saying, with reference to Plymouth, “I would that the first plantation might here be seated, if there come to the number of fifty persons or upward.” This was but the echo of Captain John Smith. Morton endeavors, in an ungenerous spirit, to cheapen the services of Dermer, but it would be as just to underrate the work of the English on the Maine[184] coast; and we should remember that it was their faithful friend the Pemaquid Chief Samoset who hailed the Leyden colonists, upon their arrival at Plymouth, with the greeting, “Welcome, Englishmen!”[341] This was simply the natural result of the policy of peace and good-will which imparted a gracious charm to the life of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who may be well styled the Father of New England Colonization. Here we leave the English explorers of Norumbega.


DOCUMENTS, whether in our own tongue or in others, which throw light upon the explorations of the English in Norumbega are by no means wanting. They embrace formal report and epistolary chronicle in great variety and of considerable extent. In some cases they are full and rich in details, but in others they disappoint us from their meagreness. Such deficiency particularly confronts us when we are searching for the tracks of their progress in maps or charts of these early dates.

The English, in reality, were behind the age in maritime enterprise,[342] and this forms one reason for the delay in colonizing ancient Norumbega.[343]

The present writer has never found an Indian on the coast of Maine who could recall the word Norumbega, or any similar word. M. Beauvois shows, among other facts, that the Icelandic vaga is the genitive plural of vagr, signifying “a bay.” Possibly, however, the word is Spanish. In this language b and v are interchangeable; and vagas often occurs on the maps, signifying “fields;” while norum may be simply a corruption of some familiar compound. Perhaps the explanation of the word does not lie so far away as some suppose, though the study of the subject must be attended with great care. In this connection may be consulted such works as Ramusio’s Navigationi et Viaggi, etc., Venice, 1556, iii. 359; the Ptolemy of Pativino, Venice, 1596, p. 281; Wytfliet’s Descriptionis Ptolemaicæ Augmentum, etc., Douay, 1603, p. 99; Magin’s Histoire Universelle, Douay, 1611, p. 96; Introductio in Universam Geographicam, by Cluverius, Amsterdam, 1729, p. 673; De Laet’s Nieuwe Wereldt, etc.; Leyden, 1625, p. 64, and his Histoire du nouveau Monde, etc., Leyden, 1640, p. 58; Ogilby’s America, 1671, p. 138; Montanus’s De Nieuwe en Onbekende Wereldt, Amsterdam, 1671, p. 29; Dapper’s Die unbekante Neue Welt, etc., Amsterdam, 1673, p. 30. The subject of the varying bounds and the name is also discussed by Dr. Woods in his introduction to Hakluyt’s Westerne Planting, p. lii, and by the following: Sewall, Ancient Dominions of Maine, p. 31; De Costa, Northmen in Maine, p. 44; Murphy, Verrazano, p. 37; Historical Magazine, ii. 187; Magazine of American History, May, 1881, p. 392.


The voyage of John Rut has been pointed out as the earliest voyage having a possible connection with any portion of the territory of Norumbega, which never included Bacalaos, though Bacalaos, an old name of Newfoundland, sometimes included New England. The extreme northeastern extension of Norumbega was Cape Breton. It was towards Cape Breton and the coasts of Arembec, that Rut is said to have sailed when he left St. John. Hakluyt is the first authority summoned in connection with a subject which has elicited much curious discussion; but Hakluyt was poorly informed.[344] He refers to the chronicles of Hall and Grafton, who said that Henry VIII. sent out two ships, May 20, 1527; yet he did not know either the name of the commander or of the ships, one of which was given as the “Dominus vobiscum.” Purchas, however, gives the names of both ships, and the letter of Captain Rut to Henry VIII., together with a letter in Latin, written by Albert de Prato, a canon of St. Paul’s, London, which is addressed to Cardinal Wolsey.[345] Hakluyt, in his edition of 1589, reads, “towards the coasts of Norombega,” instead of Arembec, as in the edition of 1600. The latter appears to be a correction intended to limit the meaning. Arembec may have been a name given to Nova Scotia. A similar name was certainly given to one or more islands near the site of Louisburg.[346] According to Hakluyt, Rut often landed his men “to search the state of those unknown regions,” after he left the northerly part of Newfoundland; but the confused account does not prove that it was on Cape Breton or Arembec that they landed. Rut says nothing about any such excursion, but simply says that he should go north in search of his consort, the “Samson,” and then sail with all diligence “to that island we are commanded;” and Hakluyt says that it was an expedition intended to sail toward the North Pole. Nevertheless, it has been fancied that Rut, in the “Mary of Guilford,” explored all Norumbega, and then went to the West Indies. This notion is based upon the statement of Herrera, who tells of an English ship which lost her consort in a storm, and in 1519 came to Porto Rico from Newfoundland,[347] the pilot, who was a native of Piedmont, having been killed by the Indians on the Atlantic coast.[348] Herrera’s date has been regarded as wrong; and it has been corrected, on the authority of Oviedo, and put at 1527. There is no proof that Rut lost his pilot; but as he had with him a learned mathematician, Albert de Prato, a priest, it has been assumed that the priest was both a pilot and an Italian, and consequently that the vessel seen at Porto Rico was Rut’s. It would be more reasonable[186] to suppose that this was the missing “Samson,” or else one of the English traders sent to the West Indies in 1526/7.[349] The ship described by Herrera was a “great ship,” heavily armed and full of stores. On the other hand, the “Mary of Guilford” was a small vessel of one hundred and sixty tons only, prepared for fishing.[350] Finally, Rut was still at St. John August 10, while Hakluyt states that the “Mary of Guilford” reached England by the beginning of October. This, if correct, renders the exploration of Norumbega and the cruise in the West Indies an impossibility. Nevertheless Rut must have accomplished something, while it is significant that when Cartier explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in 1534, he found a cape called Cape Prato, apparently a reminiscence of the canon of St. Paul’s.[351]

David Ingram’s narrative, referred to in the text, was printed by Hakluyt in 1589,[352] who, however, omitted it in 1600. Ingram suffered much, and saw many things, no doubt, with a diseased brain. He listened also to the stories of others, repeating them with additions in sailor fashion; and, besides, may have been moved by vanity. Purchas, referring to Hakluyt, says, “It seemeth some incredibilities of his report caused him to leave him out in the next Impression, the reward of lying being not to be believed in truths.”[353]

The larger portion however, of the statements in his narrative appears to be true. He seems to have occupied about eleven months in reaching a river which he calls Gugida,[354] this being simply the Indian Ouigoudi of Lescarbot,[355] and the Ouygoudy of Champlain,[356] who, June 24, 1604, explored the river, and named it the St. John.

Concerning Simon Ferdinando there has been much misapprehension. He was connected with the Virginia voyages in 1584-86. In the latter year his ship was grounded. This led to his being loaded with abuse by White.[357] It was re-echoed by Williamson[358] and Hawks.[359] The latter declared that he was a Spaniard, hired by his nation to frustrate the English colony, calling him a “treacherous villain” and a “contemptible mariner;” yet Hawks did not understand the subject. Subsequently, Ferdinando’s real character[187] came to light; and, in one of the oldest pieces of English composition produced on the continent of North America, his skill and faithfulness were applauded by Ralph Lane.[360] He was one of the numerous Portuguese domiciled in England; but he had powerful friends like Walsingham, and thus became the leader of the first-known English expedition to Norumbega. His life was somewhat eventful, and like most men of his class he occasionally tried his hand at privateering. At one time he was in prison on a charge of heresy, and was bailed out by William Herbert, the vice-admiral. His voyage of 1579 seems hitherto to have escaped notice; but this, together with his personal history, would form the subject of an interesting monograph.

It was through the calendars of the state-paper office that the fact of John Walker’s voyage became known some time since, but not as yet with detail; and it is only by means of a marginal note, which makes Walker “Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s man,” that we get any clew to its purpose, and from which we are led to infer its tentative character, and its influence upon Gilbert’s subsequent career.[361]

Upon reaching Sir Humphrey Gilbert we discover a man rich in his intentions respecting Norumbega. He was the patentee,[362] and he possessed power and resources which would have insured success but for the untimely termination of his career. The true story of his life yet remains to be written, and in competent hands it would prove a noble theme.[363] The State Papers afford many documents throwing light upon his history, while the pages of Hakluyt supply many facts.[364]

The work of Barlow and others, from 1584 to 1590, does not properly belong to the story of Norumbega; yet the attempts in Virginia may be studied for the side-lights which they afford, the narratives being given by Hakluyt,[365]—who also gives the voyage of the “Marigold” under Strong, fixing the site of Arembec on the coast southwest of Cape Breton.[366]

With the opening of the seventeenth century the literature of our subject becomes richer. Gosnold’s voyage, now shorn of much of its former prestige, has only recently come to be understood. It was somewhat fully chronicled by Brereton and Archer, each of whom wrote accounts. The original volume of Brereton forms a rare bibliographical treasure.[367] It has been reprinted by the Massachusetts Historical[188] Society,[368] but an edition properly edited is much needed. In 1625 Purchas gave Archer’s account, with a letter by Brereton to Raleigh, and Gosnold’s letter to his father.[369] The voyage is also treated in the Dutch collection of Van der Aa,[370] which gives an engraving at variance with the text, in that it represents the savages assisting Gosnold in building his island fortification, the construction of which was in fact kept a secret. The voyage of Gosnold has been accepted as an authorized attempt at colonization, and used to offset the Popham expedition of 1607; but that part of the titlepage of Brereton which says that the voyage was made by the permission of Raleigh is now known to be untrue, and the contraband character of the enterprise stands confessed.[371]

It has been said more than once that Drake visited New England, and gave Gosnold some account thereof; but while he brought home the Virginia adventurers in 1587, and may then have touched on the coast of North Virginia, no early account of any such visit is found. It has also been said that Gosnold went so far in the work of fortification as to build a platform for six guns. The authority for the statement does not appear.[372]

The voyage of Martin Pring, as already pointed out, was a legitimate enterprise, having the sanction of Sir Walter Raleigh, the patentee.[373] This voyage is also the more noticeable as having had the active support of Hakluyt. Harris says that a thousand pounds were raised for the enterprise, and that Raleigh “made over to them all the Profits which should[189] arise from the Voyage.”[374] Here, therefore, it may be proper to delay long enough to indicate something of Hakluyt’s great work in connection with colonization.

Richard Hakluyt was born about the year 1553, and was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church College, Oxford. At an early age he acquired a taste for history and cosmography. In the preface to his work of 1589, dedicated to Walsingham, he says:—

“I do remember that being a youth, and one of her Maiestie’s scholars at Westminster, that fruitfull nurserie, it was my happe to visit the chamber of Mr. Richard Hakluyt my cosin, a Gentleman of the Middle Temple, well known unto you, at a time when I found lying vpen his boord certeine bookes of Cosmosgraphie with a vniversal Mappe: he seeing me somewhat curious in the view thereof, began to instruct my ignorance by showeing me the divisions thereof.”

His cousin also turned to the 107th Psalm, relating to those who go down into the sea in ships and occupy themselves on the great waters. Upon which Hakluyt continues:—

“The words of the Prophet, together with my cousin’s discourse (things of high and rare delight to my young nature), tooke so deepe an impression that I constantly resolved, if euer I were preferred to the Vniversity, where better time and more convenient place might be ministered for these studies, I would by God’s assistance prosecute that knowledge and kinde of literature, the doores whereof (after a sort) were so happily opened before me.”

This interview decided Hakluyt for life, and one of the first fruits of his zeal was his Divers Voyages, published in 1582.[375] In 1589 appeared his Principal Navigations.[376] In the year 1600 he enlarged his work, bringing it out in three volumes. In 1605 Hakluyt was made a prebend of Westminster; and in 1609 he published Virginia Richly Valued, being the translation of a Portuguese work.[377] Hakluyt also published other pieces. He died in Herefordshire, in 1616, finding a burial-place in Westminster Abbey. Still curiously enough, notwithstanding his great services to American colonization, his name has never been applied to any portion of our country; though Hudson, in 1608, named a headland on the coast of Greenland in his honor. He left behind, among other manuscripts, one entitled A Discourse of Planting, recently published, though much of the essence of the volume had been produced before in various forms.[378] Among the tracts appended to Brereton are the Inducements of Hakluyt the Elder, who appears to have known all about the Discourse.[379]

In connection with the voyage of Waymouth, 1605, one topic of discussion relates to the particular river which he explored. This, indeed, is a subject in connection with which a divergence of opinion may be pardonable. Did he explore the St. George’s River, or the Kennebec? Belknap, however, in 1796, in a crude fashion and with poor data, held that the Penobscot was the river visited.[380] In 1857 a Maine writer took the ground that Waymouth explored the Kennebec.[381] Other writers followed with pleas for the St.[190] George’s.[382]


1. Portsmouth.
2. York [Gorgiana, 1641].
3. Agamenticus.
4. Saco.
5. Richmond Island.
6. Casco.
7. Sabino [Popham’s Colony].
8. Sagadahoc River.
9. Damariscotta River.
10. Sheepscott River.
11. Pemaquid.
12. Monhegan Island.
13. Fox Islands.
14. Isle au haut.
15. Castine [Pentagöet, Bagaduce].
16. Mount Desert.
17. Kennebec River.
18. Penobscot River.
19. George’s River.
20. St. George’s Islands [? Pentecost harbor].
21. Boothbay [? Pentecost].
22. Camden Hills.
23. Damariscove Islands.
A. Lygonia, 1630; subsequently part of Gorges and Mason’s grant, 1622, and Somersetshire, 1635.
B. Plymouth grant.
C. Muscongus, 1630.
D. Waldo patent.

See for the region about Pemaquid the map in the narrative part of this chapter.

Ballard wrote what was, in most respects, a convincing argument in support of the Kennebec River.[383] In opposition to the advocate of the Kennebec, it has been said that[191] the high mountains seen by Waymouth were not the White Mountains,—for the reason that the White Mountains could not be seen,—but were the Camden hills, towards which he went from Monhegan; and consequently that he reached the St. George’s River, which lies in that direction. It has been said, also, that the White Mountains cannot be seen from that vicinity. This is simply an assumption. The White Mountains are distinctly visible in fair weather from the deck of a ship lying inside of Monhegan.[384] Yet the mountains in question have less to do with the subject than generally supposed, since a careful examination of the obscure text shows that it is not necessary to understand Rosier as saying that in going to the river they sailed directly towards the mountains. His language shows that they “came along to the other islands more adjoining the main, and in the road directly with the mountains.”[385] Here it is not necessary to suppose that it was the course sailed that was direct, but rather that it was the road that was direct with the mountains,—the term road signifying a roadstead, or anchorage place at a distance from the shore, like that of Monhegan. Beyond question Waymouth saw both the White and the Camden mountains; but they do not form such an essential element in the discussion as both sides have fancied. Strachey really settles the question where he says that Waymouth discovered two rivers,—“that little one of Pamaquid,” and “the most excellent and beneficyall river of Sachadehoc.”[386] This river at once became famous, and thither the Popham colonists sailed in 1607. In fact, the St. George’s River was never talked about at that period, being even at the present time hardly known in geography, while the importance of the Kennebec is very generally understood.

The testimony of another early writer would alone prove sufficient to settle the question. In fact, no question would ever have been raised if New England writers had been acquainted with the works of Champlain at an earlier period. In July, 1605, Champlain visited the Kennebec, where the natives informed him that an English ship had been on the coast, and was then lying at Monhegan; and that the captain had killed five Indians belonging to their river.[387] These were the five Indians taken by Waymouth at Pentecost Harbor—the modern Booth’s Bay—who were supposed to have been killed, though at that time sailing on the voyage to England unharmed.

The narrative of the expedition of Waymouth was written by James Rosier, and published in 1605.[388] It was printed by Purchas, with a few changes, in 1625;[389] and reprinted[192] by the Massachusetts Historical Society, in 1843.[390] This narrative forms the source of almost everything that is known about the voyage. It contains some perplexing passages; but when properly interpreted, it is found that they are all consistent with other statements, and prove that the river explored was the Kennebec.

The story of the Popham Colony, of 1607-8, at one time occasioned much acrimonious discussion, for which there was no real occasion; but of late the better the subject has been understood, the less reason has been found for any disagreement between the friends of the Church of England and the apologists of New England nonconformity.

Prior to the year 1849 the Popham Colony was known only through notices found in Purchas,[391] the Brief Relation,[392] Smith,[393] Sir William Alexander, Gorges,[394] and others. In the year 1849, however, the Hakluyt Society published Strachey’s work, entitled The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia, edited by R. H. Major; chapters viii., ix., and x. of which contained an account of the Popham Colony found to be much fuller than any that had appeared previously. In 1852 these chapters were reprinted with notes in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society;[395] and the next year four chapters of the work were reprinted by the Maine Historical Society.[396] In 1863 the same society published a Memorial Volume, which was followed by heated discussions, some of which, with a bibliography of the subject, were published in 1866. Articles of a fugitive character continued to appear; and, finally, in 1880, there came from the press the journal of the voyage to the Kennebec in 1607, by one of the adventurers,[397] which was reprinted in advance from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society.[398] It would seem from the internal evidence furnished by the journal and the express testimony of Purchas,[399] that this composition was by James Davies, who, in the organization at the Sagadahoc, held the office of Captain of the Fort. This journal was found to be the source whence Strachey drew his account of the colony, large portions of which he copied verbatim, giving no credit. Since the publication of this journal no new material has been brought to light.[400]

The Popham Colony formed a part of the work undertaken by Sir Ferdinando Gorges and his colaborers, who sought so long and so earnestly to accomplish the colonization of New England.[401] Many experiments were required to insure final success, and the attempt at Sagadahoc proved eminently useful, contributing largely to that disciplinary experience essential under such circumstances. Viewed in its necessary and logical connection,[193] it need not be regarded as a useless failure, since it opened the eyes of adventurers more fully, bringing a clearer apprehension of the general situation and the special requirements of the work which the North Virginia Company had in hand.

A paragraph that may have some bearing on the condition of things in Maine after the year 1608 appeared in 1609, and runs as follows: “Two goodly Rivers are discovered winding farre into the Maine, the one in the North part of the Land by our Westerne Colonie, Knights and Gentlemen of Excester, Plymouth, and others. The other in the South part thereof by our Colonie of London.”[402] Again a letter by Mason to Coke, assigned to the year 1632, teaches that the work of colonization was considered as having been continued from 1607.[403] This would seem to indicate, that, in the opinion of the writer, the work was not wholly abandoned; yet, concerning the actual condition of affairs on the Maine coast for several years after the colonists left Fort Popham, much remains to be learned. From neglected repositories in the seaport towns of the south of England, material may yet be gleaned to show a continuous line of scattered residents living around Pemaquid during all the years that followed the departure of the Popham colonists from Sabino[404] in 1608.

The visit of Henry Hudson to New England in 1609 is described in Juet’s Journal.[405]

Argall’s visit to New England in 1610 is treated by Purchas, though it has made no figure in current histories.[406] What appears to be the most correct account of the voyage of Hobson and Harlow, in 1611, is found in Smith. The student may also consult the Briefe Relation,[407] which, however, appears to confuse the account by introducing an event of 1614, the capture of Indians by Hunt. Gorges is also confused here, as in many other places.[408] We are indebted to the French for the account of the capture and ransom of Plastrier.[409]

In connection with Argall’s descent upon the French at Mount Desert, it will be necessary to consult the Jesuit Relations,[410] which throw considerable light upon the transactions of the English at this period; also the State Papers. These show that Argall’s ship was named the “Treasurer.”[411] Champlain says that this ship mounted fourteen guns, while ten more English vessels were at hand.[412] If his statement is correct, there must have been a large number of Englishmen on the coast at this period.


Smith, in 1614, as at other times, is his own historian, and his writings show the growth of the feeling that existed with respect to colonization, and they at the same time illustrate his adverse fortune.[413]

Gorges gives an account of Hobson’s and Harlow’s voyage for 1614.[414] Hunt’s cruelty, in connection with the Indians whom he enslaved and sold in Spain, is made known by Smith.[415] Some of these Indians recovered their liberty, and Bradford speaks of Squanto, the interpreter to the Plymouth Colony.[416]

Gorges makes us acquainted with Sir Richard Hawkins, who was on the New England coast at the close of the year 1615. Sir Richard was the son of the famous John Hawkins, who set David Ingram and his companions ashore in the Bay of Mexico. Hawkins was born in 1555, and in 1582 he conducted an expedition to the West Indies. In 1588 he is found in command of the “Swallow,” and he distinguished himself in the defeat of the Armada. He next sailed upon an expedition to the Pacific, where he was captured and carried to Spain.[417] In 1620 he was named in connection with the Algerine expedition, dying at the end of 1621 or the beginning of 1622. A full account of his transactions in New England would be very interesting; but the account of Gorges, in connection with Brawnde’s Letter to Smith, must suffice.[418]

The story of Rocroft is told by Gorges, and Dermer writes of his own voyage at full length.[419]

It remains now to speak of the old cartology, so far as it may afford any traces of the English explorers of Norumbega. At the outset the interesting fact may be indicated that the earliest reference to Norumbega upon any map is that of the Italian Verrazano, 1529; while the most pronounced, if not the latest, mention during the seventeenth century is that of the Italian Lucini, who engraved over his “Nova Anglia” the word “Norambega,” which is executed with many flourishes.[420]

Passing over the first cartographical indication of English exploration on the coast of North America, in the map of Juan de la Cosa, which is figured and described in the chapter on the Cabots; and passing over the French and the Italians,[421]—adverting but[195] for a moment to the Dauphin map of 1543, with its novel transformation of the name Norumbega into Anorobagea,—the next map that needs mention is that of John Rotz, of 1542. It is of interest, for the reason that the “booke of Idrography,”[422] of which it forms a part, was dedicated by its author to Henry VIII. Rotz subscribes himself “sarvant to the King’s mooste excellente Majeste.” The English royal arms are placed at the beginning, though originally Rotz intended to present the book to Francis I. Indeed, the outline of the coast is drawn according to the French idea. Nevertheless, the names on the map are chiefly Spanish. It shows no English exploration; and, in a general way, indicates an absence of geographical knowledge on the part of that nation, which, however, is recognized by the legend placed in the sea opposite the coast between Newfoundland and the Penobscot. The legend is as follows: “The new fonde lande quhaz men goeth a-fishing.” The main features of the coast are delineated. Cape Breton and the Strait of Canseau, with the Penobscot and Sandy Hook, are defined; but Cape Cod, the “Arecifes” of Rotz, appears only in name, though in its proper relation to the Bay of St. John the Baptist, a name given to the mouth of Long Island Sound, in connection with the Narragansett Waters. The word Norumbega does not occur, and the nomenclature is hardly satisfactory. It contains no reference either to Verrazano or Cartier. The so-called map of Cabot, 1544, does not touch the particular subject under notice.[423]


The legends are as follows:—

2. C. des Illes.
3. Anorobagea.
4. Arcipel de Estienne Gomez. [This voyage of Gomez will be described in Vol. IV.]
5. Baye de St. Jhon Baptiste.
6. R. de bona mere.
7. B. de St. Anthoine.
8. R. de St. Anthoine.
9. C. de St. Xρofle.
10. R. de la tournee.
11. C. de Sablons.—Ed.

Frobisher’s map of 1578 shows a strait at the north leading from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and bearing his name, but the map throws no light upon Norumbega.[424]


Dr. John Dee was much interested in American enterprise, and made a particular study of the northern regions, as well as of the fisheries. Under date of July 6, 1578, he speaks of “Mr. Hitchcok, who had travayled in the plat for fishing.”[425] A map bearing the inscription, “Ioannes Dee, Anno, 1580,” is preserved in the British Museum.[426] It reminds one of Mercator’s map of 1569, but is not so full. Dee was frequently invited to the Court of Elizabeth to make known her title to lands in the New World that had been visited by the English; and he was deferred to by Hakluyt, Gilbert, Walsingham, and others.

He writes in his diary, under date of July 3, 1582, “A meridie hor 3½ cam Sir George Peckham to me to know the tytle of Norombega, in respect of Spayn and Portugall parting the whole world’s distilleryes; he promised me of his gift and of his patient ... of the new conquest.”[427] Gilbert’s voyage was then being projected, but Dee’s map has no reference to him or the English adventurers.[428] It shows the main divisions of the coast of Norumbega, except Cape Cod, from Sandy Hook to Cape Breton. The Penobscot is well defined, and Norombega lies around its headwaters.

The map in Hakluyt’s Edition of Peter Martyr, published 1587, shows the English nomenclature around and north of the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but it gives away the territory of Norumbega to the French as Nova Francia. On the west coast of North America is Nova Albion. In Nova Francia there is a river apparently bearing the name of Arambe, which, it has been suggested, was used later in a restricted sense. Not far from this river, at the south, is the legend, “Virginia, 1580.”[429]

A map made in 1592, by Thomas Hood, does not show any English influence on the coast, but Norombega is represented north of the Penobscot, which is called R. des Guamas, intended for “Gamas,” the Stag River.[430]

The globe of Molyneux[431] shows the explorations of Davis in the north, and its author calls the northern continent, north of Sandy Hook, “Carenas.” Confusion reigns to a considerable extent. Norumbega is confined to the Penobscot, and nothing is indicated with respect to the English in that quarter.


The map of Molyneux, 1600, is extremely interesting, but it does not show the operations of the English in New England, though the Bay of Menan is recognized, this being the place so well known to Hakluyt the Elder for its deposits of copper.[432] New England, as on Lok’s map, is shown as an island.[433]

The cartology at this period is very disappointing though the maps pointed out the main features of the coast. In many respects they were inferior to some of the earlier maps, and were occupied with a vain iteration. A little later the map of Lescarbot, of 1609, as might be supposed, is poor in its outlines and devoted rather to the French occupation.[434]

HOOD’S MAP, 1592.

The Legends are as follows:—

1. Rio de S. Spo.
2. Rio Salado.
3. C. de S. Joan.
4. C. de las arenas.
5. C. de Pero (arenas).
6. Santiago.
7. B. de S. Christoforo.
8. Monte Viride.
9. R. de buena madre.
10. St. John Baptista.
11. Terrallana.
12. C. de las Saxas.
13. Archipelago.
14. C. S. Maria.
15. C. de mucas yas.
16. R. das Guamas.
17. Aracifes.
18. R. de Mōtanas.
19. R. de la Plaia.—Ed.

Smith’s well-known map, issued with his Description of New England in 1616, was the[198] earliest to give a configuration of the coast, approaching accuracy; and he could have found little in Lescarbot’s and Champlain’s maps to assimilate, even if he had known them. Cape Cod now for the first time was drawn with its characteristic bend. Smith says that he had brought with him five or six maps, neither true to each other nor to the coast.

Smith’s map did not originally contain a single English name,[435] but the young Prince Charles, to whom it was submitted in accordance with Smith’s request, changed about thirty “barbarous” Indian names for others, in order that “posterity” might be able to say that that royal personage was their “godfather.” A number of Scotch names were selected, among others, by the grandson of the Queen of Scots. Smith gave the name of Nusket to Mount Desert, confusing it, perhaps, with the aboriginal Pemetic, which was changed to Lomond, given as “Lowmonds” on the map. The prince very naturally desired to give names recalling the country of his birth; and while Ben Lomond, one of the noblest Caledonian hills, bears a certain grand resemblance to its namesake, the breezes of the lake of Mount Desert, like “answering Lomond’s,”

“Soothe many a chieftain’s sleep.”

In a similar spirit he named the Blue Hills of Milton the “Cheuyot hills;” the ancient river of Sagadahoc being the Forth, with what was intended for “Edenborough” standing near its headwaters. There is nothing on the map to recall the nonconformists of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, who afterwards came upon the coast, except Boston and Hull which stand near the Isles of Shoals, being, in fancy, close together on the map, as afterwards they were reproduced farther south, in fact.

The young prince, then a lad of about fifteen, no doubt had suggestions made to him respecting the names to be selected, as he favored the southern and southwestern communities like Bristol and Plymouth, which furnished those expeditions encouraged by churchmen like Popham and Gilbert. Poynt Suttliff forms a distinct recognition of Dr. Sutliffe, the Dean of Exeter, who took so much interest in New England.[436]

On this map we find the ancient Norumbega called New England. Rich says that Smith was the first to apply this name. In reply, Mr. Henry C. Murphy has referred to its alleged use by a Dutchman in 1612.[437] Special reference is made to a statement printed upon the back of a map contained in a book brought out by Hessell Gerritsz at Amsterdam, giving a description of the country of the Samoieds in Tartary. The phrase used, however, is not “New England,” nor “Nova Anglia,” but “Nova Albion,”[438] which was applied to the whole region by Sir Francis Drake, in his explorations on the Pacific coast.


At that time the continent lying between the Atlantic and the Pacific was regarded as a narrow strip of land; and as late as 1651 it was estimated that it was only ten days’ journey on foot from the headwaters of the James to the Pacific.[439] In 1609 the country was called Nova Britannia. It would seem, therefore, according to present indications, that Smith was entitled to the credit given him by Rich. At all events the importance of Smith’s work in New England cannot be questioned. Smith himself was not backward in asserting the value of his services, declaring in one place that he “brought New England to the Subjection of the Kingdom of Great Britain.”[440] After the publication of his map, Norumbega well-nigh disappeared from the pages of travellers,[441] and a new series of observation of the territory was begun by the authors of works like those which chronicled the doings of the Leyden Adventurers in New England.


A. Earliest English publications on America.—The backwardness of the English in all that related to the extension of American discovery is distinctly apparent in the comparatively few publications from the London press in the sixteenth century which conduced to spread intelligence of the New World on the land and incite rivalry on the ocean. The following list will show this:—

1509. When Alexander Barclay put Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools into English verse and published it in folio in London, he disclosed one of the earliest references to the Spanish discoveries which the English people could have read. This book is very rare; a copy brought £120 at the Perkins sale in London in 1873,—Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 245. This edition has of late been reprinted in England, edited by Jamieson.

1511.(?) A book Of the newe Lādes, printed about this time at Antwerp, but in English, is thought to have been the earliest original treatise in the English tongue which makes any mention of America. The New World is supposed to be meant by “Armenica.” Harrisse, however, assigns 1522 as its date,—Bibl. Amer. Vet. p. 196. There is a copy in the British Museum.

1519, though put by some as early as 1510. A new Interlude of the iiij. Elements. This has been already described in Mr. Deane’s chapter.

1517. Wynkyn de Worde printed Watson’s English prose translation of Brant’s Ship of Fools.

A half century and more slipped away without the English press taking heed, except in such chance notices as these, of what was so closely engaging the attention of the rest of Europe. But in

1553 appeared the earliest book produced in England chiefly devoted to the American discoveries, and this was Richard Eden’s Treatyse of the newe India, which he had translated from the Latin of the fifth book of Sebastian Munster’s Cosmographia, pp. 1099 to 1113. See Carter-Brown Cat. p. 171, and further in the chapter on the Cabots.

Munster was one of the most popular cosmographers of his day. He had begun his work in 1532 by supplying a map by Apianus to Gyrnæus’s Novus Orbis of that date, which was not very creditable, being much behind the times; and he made amends by trying to give the latest information in an issue of Ptolemy, which he edited in 1540, to which he supplied a woodcut map that did service in a variety of publications for nearly all the rest of the century. It was one of the earliest maps, in which interstices were left in the block for the insertion of type for the names, and in this way it was made to accompany both German and Latin texts. It was also used in Sylvanus’s Ptolemy, the names being in red. Kohl, Disc. of Maine, p. 296; Harvard Coll. Lib. Bull. i. 270.


Munster’s Cosmographia, to which he transferred this map, was first published in German, according to Harrisse, Bibl. Amer. Vet., no. 258, quoting the Labanoff Catalogue, in 1541, and again in 1544, with a new map. After this there were two German (1545 and 1550) and one Latin (1550) edition, each published at Basle, and a French edition (1552), all of which are generally noted, besides Eden’s version of 1552 (owned by Mr. Brevoort); cf. Carter-Brown Catalogue, 1865, p. 27, and an earlier one (1543), cited in Poggendorff’s Biog.-lit. Handwörterbuch, ii. 234, which is not so generally recognized, if indeed it exists at all. The statement is, however, enough to indicate that Eden thus made a popular book the medium of his first presentation to the English public.


The cut is taken from the Carter-Brown Catalogue. The Colophon reads: “Thus endeth this fyfth boke of Sebastian Munster, of the lādes of Asia the greater, and of the newefounde landes, and Ilandes. 1553.”

1555. Richard Eden, who to his book-learning added the results of converse with sailors, next published his Decades of the Newe Worlde, or West India, derived in large part, as shown in Mr. Deane’s chapter, from the Latin of Peter Martyr. This made to the English public the first really collective presentation of the results of the maritime enterprise of that time. (H. Stevens, Bibl. Hist. 1870, no. 632; Field, Indian Bibliog. no. 484; Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 184, with fac-simile of title.) Among the supplemental matters was a “Description of the two Viages made out of England into Guinea,” in 1553-54, which were the earliest English voyages ever printed. This 1555 edition, which fifty years ago was worth in good copies six guineas (Rich’s Catalogue, 1832, no. 30), will now bring about £25. The Editor has used the Harvard College and Mr. Charles Deane’s copies. There was sold in the Brinley sale, no. 40, the 1533 edition of Peter Martyr, which was the copy used by Eden in making this translation, and it is enriched with his little marginal maps and annotations. See Sabin’s Dictionary, i. 201, where it is said Bellero’s map, measuring 5 × 6½ inches, is found in some copies. The Lenox copy has a larger map, 10½ × 7 inches, with a similar title.

1559. “A perticular Description of suche partes of America as are by travaile founde out,” made the last chapter of a heavy folio, The Cosmographicalle Glasse, which appeared in London, the work of a young man, William Cunningham, twenty-eight years old, a doctor in physics and astronomy. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 214, where a fac-simile of the author’s portrait as it appeared in the book is given.

1563. The whole and true discouerie of Terra Florida, as set forth in English, following Ribault’s narrative, was published in London on the 30th of May. The book is so scarce that the Lenox and Carter-Brown Libraries have been content with manuscript copies from the volume in the British Museum. This may possibly indicate that the destruction of the edition followed upon much reading and thumbing.

1568. The New found Worlde, or Antarctike
... travailed and written in the French tong.
by that excellent learned man, Master Andrewe Thevet, and now newly translated into English. Imprinted at London for Thomas Hacket.


is a translation of Thevet’s well-known but untrustworthy book. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 241; there is also a copy in H. C. Murphy’s collection.

MUNSTER, 1540.

This sketch-map needs the following key:—

1. India Superior.
2. Archipelagus 7448 Insularum.
3. Francisca.
4. C. Britonum.
5. Terra Florida.
6. Cortereali.
7. Hispaniola.
8. Cuba.
9. Iucatan.
10. Jamica.
11. Antillæ.
12. Dominica.
13. Zipangri.
14. Paria.
15. Regio Gigantum.
16. Fretum Magalini.
17. Insulæ Inforunatæ.
18. Oceanus Occidentalis.
19. Insulæ Hesperidum.
20. Insula Atlantica quam vocant Basilij et Americam.

1570. Another English edition of Barclay’s version of the Ship of Fools. The Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 243, gives the title and portrait of Brant in fac-simile.

1572. Eden’s version of Munster again appeared under the title of A briefe Collection and Compendious Extract of Straunge and Memorable Thinges, gathered out of the Cosmographeye of Sebastian Munster. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 172.

1574. Eden’s Briefe Collection was reissued. There was a copy in the Heber sale, and one is now in the British Museum, according to Sabin.




1576. In April appeared Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s Discourse of a Discoverie for a new passage to Cataia, a Gothic-letter tract of great rarity in these days. It is credited with giving a new impulse to English explorations; and had exerted some influence in manuscript copies before being printed. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 258; Brinley Catalogue, no. 31, Heber’s copy, which brought $255. It is also in the Lenox Library; and this and the Carter-Brown copy have the rare map which in the Catalogue of the latter collection is given slightly reduced, and it is in part reproduced herewith. See Fox Bourne’s English Seamen, chs. 5 and 7. Gilbert in this had undertaken to prove, both from reasoning and report, that there was a northwest passage, and that America was an island, and he recounts traditions of its being sailed through. See Mr. Deane’s chapter on “The Cabots.”


1577. Settle published in London his True Reporte of the laste Voyage into the west and northwest regions, the author having accompanied Frobisher on his voyage in 1577. Its rarity—for besides the Grenville copy in the British Museum, that in the Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 266, where its title is given in fac-simile, is the only one we have noted—may signify the eagerness there was to read it, with a consequent use great enough to destroy the edition, though there[204] are said to have been two issues the same year. A fac-simile reprint (fifty copies) has been privately made from the Carter-Brown copy; and it is also reprinted in Brydges’s Restituta, 1814, vol. ii. See N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1869, p. 363,—a notice by John Russell Bartlett.

1577. Richard Willes brought out in London, with some augmentation, an edition of Eden’s Peter Martyr, under the new title of The History of Trauvayle, a stout volume, which in the known copies has stood wear better. Willes’s preface tells the story of Eden’s labors, and adds, “Many of his Englysche woordes cannot be excused in my opinion for smellyng to much of the Latine.”

It would seem that the arrangement was still mostly the labor of Eden, who did not die till 1576. Willes, however, suppressed Eden’s preface of 1555.

This edition has likewise much appreciated in value. Rich, in his 1832 Catalogue, no. 57, priced a fine copy at £4 4s.; now one is worth £20 or more. There are copies in Harvard College, Carter-Brown (no. 312), Charles Deane’s and Boston Athenæum Libraries. See also Brinley Catalogue, no. 41; Sunderland Catalogue, no. 4180; Field, Ind. Bibl., no. 485; Huth Catalogue, p. 922.

1577. John Frampton translated and published, under the title of Joyfull Newes out of the New founde Worlde, a book of the Seville Physician, Nicholas de Monardes. See Brinley Catalogue, no. 46; Stevens’s Nuggets, 1924; Carter-Brown Catalogue, no. 313.

1578. Thomas Churchyard’s Prayse and Report of Maister Martyne Forboisher’s Voyage to Meta Incognita, London. Bohn’s Lowndes, p. 450, reports a copy in the British Museum.

1578. George Best published his True Discourse of the late voyage of discoverie for the finding of a passage to Cathaya by the North-weast, under the Conduct of Martin Frobisher, generall. This is also very rare. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, no. 319, which shows the two rare maps, a portion of one of which is given in fac-simile in ch. iii. from that in Collinson’s Martin Frobisher.

1578. Thomas Nicholas printed, under his initials only, an English version of Gomara’s account of Cortes’ conquest of New Spain, called The Pleasant Historie of the Conquest of the Weast Indies. Fine copies are worth about £10. There are copies in the Boston Athenæum, Lenox Library, etc. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 275, for fac-simile of title; Sabin’s Dictionary, vii. 311; W. C. Hazlitt’s Bibliog. Coll. and notes, 2d ser. p. 265.

1580. A new edition of Frampton’s Joyfull Newes. This edition is worth about £4. There is a copy in Harvard College Library. Rich, Catalogue, 1832, no. 64.

1580. John Florio published a retranslation into English from Ramusio’s Italian version of Cartier’s Voyage to New France (1534), which had appeared originally in French, but was not now apparently accessible to Florio. Carter-Brown Catalogue, no. 331.

1581. T. Nicholas published an English translation, now very rare, of Zarate’s account of the Conquest of Peru.

1582. Hakluyt began his active participation in furthering English maritime exploration by his first publication, the little Divers Voyages, dedicating it to Sir Philip Sidney; and in this he says: “I marvaile not a little ... that we of England could never have the grace to set fast footing in such fertill and temperate places as are left as yet unpossessed.” Again he says: “In my public lectures I was the first that produced and showed both the olde imperfectly composed and the new lately reformed mappes, globes, and spheares, to the generall contentment of my auditory.” See further in Mr. Deane’s chapter on “The Cabots.” Cf. W. C. Hazlitt’s Bibliog. Coll. and notes, 1st ser. p. 101.

There is, unfortunately, no sufficiently extended account of Hakluyt, and the most we know of him must be derived from his own publications. The brief account in Anthony Wood’s Athenæ Oxonienses is the source of most of the notices. Mr. J. Payne Collier has added something in a paper on “Richard Hakluyt and American Discovery” in the Archæologia, xxxiii. 383; and Mr. Winter Jones in his Introduction to the reprint of the Divers Voyages has told about all that can be gleaned, and in his Appendix he gives some papers before unprinted, including Hakluyt’s will. The subject has had later treatment, with the advantage of some recent information, in the Introduction to the Westerne Planting, by Dr. Woods and Mr. Deane.


With the exception of the criticism of John Locke,—if he be the editor of Churchill’s Collection,—who wished Hakluyt had condensed more, and of Biddle, who accuses him of perversions in his account of the Cabots (see Mr. Deane’s chapter), the general opinion of Hakluyt’s labor has been very high. Locke’s explanatory catalogue of voyages, which appeared in Churchill, is reprinted in Clarke’s Maritime Discovery. Oldys in the British Librarian, p. 136, analyzes Hakluyt’s books, and there is a list of them in Sabin’s Dictionary and in the Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 448. An account of the set in the Lenox Library is printed in Norton’s Literary Gazette, i. 384.

Of the Divers Voyages, perfect copies are excessively rare, and the two maps are almost always wanting. The two British Museum copies have them, but the Bodleian has only the Lok map, and the same is true of the Carter-Brown copy (Catalogue, p. 290). The other copies in America belong to Harvard College (imperfect), Charles Deane, and Henry C. Murphy. Of the maps, that by Lok is given in reduced fac-simile in the Carter-Brown Catalogue (as also in chapter i. of the present volume), and both are given full size in the reprint of the Hakluyt Society.

1583. Captain J. Carleill’s little Discourse upon the entended Voyage to the hethermoste Partes of America, a tract of a few leaves only, in Gothic letter, was probably printed about this time with the aim to induce emigration and the fixing of commercial advantages. Hakluyt thought it of enough importance to include it in his third volume seventeen years later. Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 292.

1583. Sir George Peckham’s True Report of the late Discoveries, etc. See further on this tract on a preceding page.

1583. M. M. S. published at London a small tract giving a translation of Las Casas’ story of the Spanish deeds in the New World. Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 293.

1588. What is called the second original work published in England on the New World is Hariot’s New Foundland of Virginia, a small quarto of twenty-three leaves, imprinted at London. Heber had a copy; and Brunet, the first to describe it, took the title from Heber’s Catalogue. There are copies in the Lenox, Huth (Catalogue, ii. 652), Grenville (British Museum) and the Bodleian libraries. Sabin, Dictionary, viii. 30377, who says this, adds that there was a copy sold surprisingly low at Dublin in 1873, escaping the attention of collectors. It was reprinted at Frankfort in 1590. See chapter iv.

1588. Appeared an English version of the Latin account of Drake’s voyage.

1589. Hakluyt gave out the first edition of his Principall Navigations. Copies are at present worth from £5 to £10, according to condition; and we have noted the following: Harvard College, Brinley (no. 33), Carter-Brown (no. 384), Charles Deane, Long Island Historical Society, Field (Ind. Bibliog. no. 631), Crowninshield (Catalogue, no. 487), etc. The catalogues usually note the six suppressed leaves of Drake’s voyage when present.

Hakluyt, at the end of his preface, speaks of “The comming out of a very large and most exact terestriall Globe, collected and reformed according to the newest, secretest, and latest discoveries, ... composed by Mr. Emmerie Mollineaux, of Lambeth, a rare gentleman in his profession.”

In place of this Molineaux map, there sometimes appears, at p. 597, what Hakluyt calls “One of the best general mappes of the world,” which is a recut plate of one in Ortelius’s Atlas; and in other copies instead we find another edition of the same, which is also found in the English translation of Linschoten. Sabin says he has sometimes found a woodcut of Gilbert’s map substituted. The Ortelius map is reproduced in chapter i. of the present volume.

1591. Job Hortop’s Rare Travales of an Englishman, published in London. Bohn’s Lowndes, p. 1124. There is a copy in the British Museum. Hortop was one of Ingram’s companions, and after being captured and confined in Mexico, reached England after very many years’ absence.

1595. John Davis published his Worlde’s Hydrographical Descriptions, which in parts reiterates the views of Gilbert’s Discourse. The only copies known are in the Grenville Library (British Museum) and Lenox Library, New York. It is reprinted in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Davis’s Voyages, p. 191, and in the 1812 edition of Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations.

1596. A third edition of Frampton’s Joyfull Newes. A fine copy is worth about three guineas. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, no. 497.

1596. Second edition of Nicholas’s translation of Gomara. Brinley Catalogue, nos. 32 and 5309; Sabin, Dictionary, 27752; Field, Ind. Bibl. no. 611; Carter-Brown Catalogue, no. 499.

1598. Wolfe, of London, published an English translation, by William Philip, of Linschoten’s Discours of Voyages into ye Easte and West Indies, in foure Bookes, with a dedication to Sir Julius Cæsar, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. The preface adds: “Which Booke being commended by Maister Richard Hackluyt, a man that laboureth greatly to advance our English Name and Nativity, the Printer thought good to cause the same to[206] bee translated into the English Tongue.” The original became a very popular book on the Continent. The maps of American interest are those of the World, of the Antilles, and of South America. The description of America begins on p. 216. Carter-Brown Catalogue, i. no. 527; Crowninshield Catalogue, no. 625; Rich (1832), no. 84, prices a copy at £8 8s.

These are all, or nearly all, the publications brought out in English and relating to America prior to the enlarged edition of Hakluyt’s Collection, which was dedicated to Sir Robert Cecil, and of which the third volume, bearing date 1600, was devoted to America. Compared with the publications of the Continent for the same century, they are strikingly fewer in number; and such as they are, it will be seen that of the thirty-four separate issues enumerated above only fourteen are of English origin, and of the whole number only twelve belong to the first three quarters of the century.

During this same century the literature of navigation took its origin. The Continental nations had already preceded. It was not till 1528 that the first sea-manual appeared in England, and no copy of it is now known. This[207] was a translation of the French Le Routier de la Mer, the antetype of the later rutters. The English edition was called The Rutter of the Sea, and other editions appeared in 1536, 1541, and 1560 (?); the second of these adding, “A rutter of the northe, compyled by Rychard Proude.” None of these, however, recognized the American discoveries.

In 1561, Eden, at the suggestion of the Arctic navigator, Stephen Burrough (b. 1525, d. 1586), again tried to give some impulse to English interest by his translation of Martin Cortes’ Art of Navigation, which had appeared at Seville ten years before. (Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 151.) Cortes was the first to suggest a magnetic pole. Frobisher, when he made his first voyage, fifteen years later (1576), perhaps because Eden’s translation was out of print, took with him a Spanish edition of Medina’s Arte de Navegar,—a work which preceded Cortes’, but never became so popular in England.

In 1565 came a fifth edition of the Rutter of the Sea, and in 1573 William Bourne first issued his Regiment of the Sea, which long remained the chief English book on navigation.[442]

Eden put forth, at what precise date is not known, but not later than 1576, A very necessarie and profitable book concerning Navigation, compiled in Latin by Joannes Taisnierus, in which the translator intimates that Cabot knew more of the ways of discovering longitude than he had disclosed. See Carter-Brown Catalogue, p. 262. Davis’s Voyages (Hakluyt Society) gives the date 1579.

Such books, as the interest in America became more general, increased rapidly, and I note them in chronological order.

1577. Second edition, Regiments of the Sea.

1578. Edward Hellowes published in London, in a small tract, a translation, A booke of the Invention of Navigation of Antonio de Gaevara, Bishop of Mondonedo, originally printed at Valladolid in 1539.

1578. Second edition, Eden’s Cortes.

1580. Sixth edition of The Rutter of the Sea.

1580. Third edition, Eden’s Cortes.

1581. The Arte of Navigation. By Pedro de Medina. Translated out of the Spanish by John Frampton. Medina’s Arte de Navegar originally appeared at Valladolid in 1545.

1584. Fourth edition, Eden’s Cortes. See Brinley Catalogue, no. 19, for a copy which has a folding woodcut map of the New World, which is usually wanting in later editions.

1585. Robert Norman, hydrographer, published his Newe Attractive, with rules for the art of navigation annexed.

1587. Robert Tanner’s Mirror for Mathematiques, ... a sure safety for Saylers, etc.

1587. Seventh edition of The Rutter of the Sea.

1588. The first marine atlas ever made appeared at Leyden in 1583-84, and this year in London as The Mariner’s Mirrour, ... first made by Luke Wagenaer, of Enchuisen, and now fitted with necessarie additions by Anthony Ashley.

1588. Fifth edition, Eden’s Cortes.

1589. Thomas Blundeville’s Brief Description of Universal Mappes and Cardes, and of their Use, and also the Use of Ptolemy his tables.

1589. A sixth edition of Eden’s version of Martin Cortes’ Arte of Navigation appeared. Good copies of this small black-letter quarto are worth about seven guineas. It is known that Hakluyt about this time was endeavoring with the aid of Drake to found in London a public lecture for the purpose of advancing the art of navigation.

1590. Robert Norman translated from the Dutch The Safeguard of Saylers, or Great Rutter. Edward Wright corrected and enlarged this in 1612. Norman was the inventor of the dipping-needle, in 1576.

1590. Thomas Hood’s Use of the Jacob’s Staffe; also a dialogue touching the use of the Crosse Staffe. These were instruments for the taking of latitude. The astrolabe, an instrument of remote antiquity, had been adapted to sea-use by Martin Behaim; but it was soon found that it did not adapt itself to the automatic movement of the observer’s body in a rolling sea, and in 1514 the cross-staff was invented, or at least was first described.

1592. A third edition of Bourne’s Regiment of the Sea, corrected by Thomas Hood.

1592. Thomas Hood’s Use of both the Globes, celestiall and terrestriall, written to accompany the Molineaux globes.

1592. Thomas Hood’s Marriner’s Guide.

1594. John Davis published his Seaman’s Secrets, wherein is taught the three kindes of Sayling,—Horizontall, Paradoxall, and Sayling upon a great Circle. He held up the example of the Spaniards: “For what hath made the Spaniard to be so great a Monarch, the Commander of both Indies, to abound in wealth and all Nature’s benefites, but only the painefull industrie of his Subjects by Navigation.” No copy of this first edition is known. The second edition, 1607, is in the British Museum, and from this copy the tract is reprinted in Davis’s Voyages (Hakluyt Society ed.).

1594. M. Blundevile, his Exercises, with instruction[208] in the art of navigation. This proved a popular instruction book.

1594. Robert Hues printed in London a Latin treatise on the Molineaux globes, Tractatus de Globis, et eorum usu. This includes a chapter by Thomas Hariot on the rhumbs, or the lines which so perplexingly cover the old maps.

1596. Another edition of Hood’s corrected issue of Bourne’s Regiment of the Sea.

1596. Second edition of Norman’s Newe Attractive, etc.

1596. John Blagrave’s Necessary and Pleasaunt Solace and recreation for Navigators.... Whereunto ... he has anexed another invention expressing on one face the whole globe terrestrial, with the two great English voyages lately performed round the world. This last is a map by Hondius, reproduced in Drake’s World Encompassed (Hakluyt Soc. ed.).

1596. Thomas Hood’s Use of the mathematicall Instruments, the Crosse Staffe differing from that in common use, and the Jacob’s Staffe.

1596. Seventh edition of Eden’s version of Cortes.

1597. Second edition of Blundevile, his Exercises.

1597. William Barlow’s Navigator’s Supply, containing many things of principal importance belonging to navigation. Largely on compasses.

1598. John Wolfe translated and printed A treatyse ... for all seafaringe men, by Mathias Sijverts Lakeman, alias Sofridus.

1599. Simon Stevin’s De Haven-vinding appeared at Leyden, and Edward Wright brought it out at once in English, as The Haven-Finding Art.

1599. Edward Wright published his Certain Errors in Navigation, detected and corrected. Wright was born in 1560, was lecturer on navigation for the East India Company, was the verifier and improver of Mercator’s projection, and is thought to have been the author of the Molineaux map.

It will be observed that of this list of thirty-three publications for twenty-five years about one half is of foreign origin.

B. Hakluyt’s “Westerne Planting” and the Maine Historical Society.—The history of this manuscript, so far as known, is as follows:—

The family of Sir Peter Thomson (who died in 1770) possessed it, from whom Lord Valentia secured it, and this collector indorsed upon it “unpublished” and “extremely curious.” It subsequently is found in the hands of Mr. Henry Stevens, who put it into a public sale in London, May, 1854; and in the Catalogue (lot 474) it is called “a most important unpublished manuscript, 63 pages, closely and neatly written, in the original calf binding.” It brought £44, and passed into the Collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps. (Stevens’s Hist. and Geog. Notes, 1869, p. 20.) This gentleman began in 1837 to print privately a catalogue of his library, then kept at Middle Hill, Worcestershire, and continued the printing, sheet by sheet, and under no. 14097 this manuscript appears as “A Hakluyt Discourse.” In 1859 Sir Thomas bought Thirlestane House, Cheltenham, the seat of Lord Northwick, and hither he removed his vast collections of manuscripts and books, where they now are, in the possession of his heirs, Sir Thomas having died in 1872. They are open to inquirers under restrictions. See N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1873, p. 429.

The manuscript of the Westerne Planting is not thought to be in Hakluyt’s hand, though in a contemporary script; and the writing of it by Hakluyt seems to have been in progress during the summer of 1584, while its author was thirty-two years old. There is evidence that it existed in four or five copies,—of which the only one known at this day is the Phillipps copy,—one of which was for the queen, and all were made with the view of recommending the planting of Norumbega.

In 1867 Dr. Woods was commissioned by the Governor of Maine to procure in Europe material for the early history of the State, and the first fruit was the engaging of Dr. Kohl in the work, which subsequently assumed shape in his Discovery of Maine, and the second the procurement of this Hakluyt manuscript. Dr. Woods was engaged in preparing it for the press, when his health declined, and the labor was completed by Mr. Charles Deane, the book being published by the Maine Historical Society in 1877.

Under the auspices of this Society some important historical work has been done. Dr. Kohl’s book is the most elaborate summary yet made of the early explorations on our New England coast. The labors of Dr. Woods have been the subject of consideration in Dr. E. A. Park’s Life and Character of Leonard Woods, Andover, 1880, 52 pp., and in Dr. C. C. Everett’s notice in Me. Hist. Coll., viii. 481, and in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., xviii. 15. The late George Folsom opened an important field of investigation in his Catalogue of Original Documents in the English Archives relating to the Early History of Maine, privately printed, New York, 1858, which covers the years 1601-1700, and is said to have been compiled for him by Mr. H. G. Somerby. See N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg.,1859, p. 262, and 1869, p. 481. Of the labors of William D. Williamson, the principal historian of the State, there is due record in the Historical Magazine, xiii. 265, May, 1868, and in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., i. 90. The[209] Hon. William Willis, of whom there are accounts in the Maine Hist. Coll., vii. 473, and in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1873, p. 1, was for many years the president of the Society, and besides furnishing many communications, he issued a bibliography of Maine in Norton’s Literary Letter, no. 4, 1859, which was much enlarged in the Historical Magazine, xvii. 145, March, 1870. In connection with this subject the bibliography in Griffin’s History of the Press in Maine, 1872, deserves notice. There is in the Hist. Mag., Jan. 1868, an account of the Maine Historical Society and the historical investigations it has patronized.

A list of the charters and grants on the Maine coast is given in the Hist. Mag., March, 1870, p. 154. See in this connection S. F. Haven’s lecture in the Mass. Hist. Soc. Lowell Lectures.


We are indebted for the photograph used by the engraver to Dr. Kohl’s successor in the librarianship of the Public Library at Bremen, Dr. Heinrich Bulthaupt. No name ranks higher than Kohl’s in the investigations of our early North American geography. “From my childhood,” he says, “I was highly interested in geographical researches in connection with history.” Having gathered much material on the early cartographical history of America in the archives and libraries of Europe, he came to this country, and receiving an appropriation from Congress to enable him to make copies of his maps for the Government, he undertook that work, the results of which are now in the State Department at Washington. All that he desired to do was not provided for by the order of Congress, and he returned to Europe disappointed in his hopes, but leaving behind him, besides the collections in Washington, a memoir with maps on the discovery of the western coast of America, which is now in the library of the American Antiquarian Society. In Europe he annotated and published at Munich in fac-simile the two oldest general maps of America, those known as Ribero’s and Ferdinando Columbus’s, and a treatise on the history of the Gulf Stream, as well as a condensed popular history of the discovery of America. In 1868 he undertook, what proved to be his chief contribution to American historical geography, his Discovery of Maine. He did not feel that he had accomplished all in this that he would; but it still remains the most important essay since Humboldt in that peculiar field. See Charles Deane’s notice of Kohl in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., Dec. 1878, and the memoir in the Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung, Augsburg, July 9, 1879.

C. The Popham Colony.—It was unfortunate, as it was unnecessary, that any theological color should have been given to the discussion arising out of the claims made for this colony, since the merits of the case concerned solely the historical significance of secular events, upon which all were agreed in the main. The claim asserted by the Maine Historical Society, or by those representing it, was this: That the temporary settlement at Sabino, being made under the charter of 1606, was the first event to secure New England for the English crown, and should therefore be deemed the beginning of the existence of its colonies. The claim of those historical students who took issue was this: That the granting in 1606 of a patent by the king to his subjects concerned no further the question than that it simply formulated a pre-existing claim, while the actual attempts at colonization by Gosnold in 1602, whether authorized or not,—the latter[210] alternative having of late years been brought forward by Dr. De Costa,—were more practically demonstrative of that claim, in accordance with the English interpretation of rights in new countries, namely, actual possession. Further, that the true historic beginning of New England was not in the abortive attempts of Gosnold and Popham to effect a settlement, however much, in connection with many other events, they helped in preparing a way, but in the permanent colonization which was made at Plymouth in 1620, which was the first founded upon family life, and which under greater distress than befell either of the others, was rendered permanent more by the spirit of religious independency, as evinced by their Holland exile, than by the mercenary longing, which was professedly the chief motive of the others. Strachey distinctly says of the Popham Colony, that mining was “the main intended benefit expected.”

It is susceptible of proof that the blood of the Pilgrims and of their congeners runs through the veins of a large part of the population of New England to-day. No genealogical tree has been produced which connects our present life with a single one of the Sabino party. How, then, was New England saved for the English race? The decisive historical event is never those scattering forerunners which always harbinger an epoch, but the fulfilment of the idea which comes in the ripeness of time.

The controversy as it was waged was a reaction from the views with which the Pilgrims had long been regarded for their devotion under trial and for the pluck of their constancy in first making English homes on this part of the continent. Maine writers like George Folsom and William Willis had never questioned such established claims, but had reasserted them. The leading spirit in this revocation of judgment was Mr. John A. Poor, of Portland. This gentleman, having done much to increase the material interests of his native State, entered with pertinacity into a process of rendering, as he claimed, the position of Maine in history more conspicuous. This required the aggrandizement of the fame of Sir Ferdinando Gorges; and he began his missionary work with a vindication of Gorges’ claims to be considered the father of English colonization in America. It was no new idea, for George Folsom had done Gorges justice in his Discourse in 1846. Mr. Poor’s lecture was printed, and was subsequently appended to the Popham Memorial. To emphasize this claim, he secured the naming of a new fort in Portland Harbor after Sir Ferdinando in 1860; and in 1862, when the General Government built a fortification on the old peninsula of Sabino, his efforts caused it to be named Fort Popham, and his zeal planned and directed a commemorative service in August of that year on the spot, when a tablet recounting the claims of which he was the champion was placed near its walls. The address which he then delivered, which showed the intemperance, if not the perversity, of an iconoclast, and which appeared with other papers and addresses more or less pronounced in the same way in a Popham Memorial, opened the controversy. See also Historical Magazine, Jan. 1863, and Sept. 1866, and Mr. C. W. Tuttle’s account of Mr. Poor’s agency in a “Memorial of J. A. Poor,” in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., Oct. 1872. The committee charged with the preparation of the Memorial unwisely omitted a counter speech of the late J. Wingate Thornton, on “The Colonial Schemes of Popham and Gorges,” which was accordingly printed in the Congregational Quarterly, April, 1863, and separately, and is examined favorably by Abner C. Goodell in the Essex Institute Collections, Aug. 1863, p. 175. A similar unfavorable estimate of Popham’s colonists had been taken by R. H. Gardiner in the Maine Historical Collections, ii. 269; v. 226.

For some years the spirit was kept alive by recurrent commemorations. Mr. Edward E. Bourne (see memoir of him in N. E. Hist and Geneal. Reg., 1874, p. 9, and Me. Hist. Coll., viii. 386) answered the detractors in an address, “The Character of the Colony founded by George Popham,” Portland, 1864. The statements of Poor and Bourne led to a review by S. F. Haven in the Amer. Antiq. Soc. Proc., April 26, 1865, and in the Hist. Mag. (Dec. 1865, p. 358; March, July, Sept., Nov., 1867; Feb. and May, 1869). There was a dropping fire on both sides for some time. Meanwhile the address in 1865 by James W. Patterson, on The Responsibilities of the Founders of Republics, led to a controversy between William F. Poole attacking, and Rev. Edward Ballard and Frederick Kidder defending, the colonists; and their papers were printed together as The Popham Colony: a Discussion of its Historic Claims, to which Mr. Poole appended a bibliography of the subject up to 1866. Poole also gave his view of Gorges and the colony in his edition of Johnson’s Wonder Working Providence, and in the North American Review, Oct. 1868. At the celebration in 1871 Mr. Charles Deane reviewed the erroneous conclusions presented at earlier anniversaries, in a paper on “Early Voyages to New England, and their Influence on Colonization,” which was printed in the Boston Daily Advertiser, Sept. 2, 1871. A paper by R. K. Sewall on “Popham’s Town of Fort St. George,” which contains a summary of the arguments and events on the side of its historic importance, is given in the Me. Hist. Coll., vii., accompanied by a map of the region. The latest statement of the claim, apart from the review in the Preface to The Voyage to Sagadahoc, referred to on an earlier page, is in General Chamberlain’s Maine:[211] her Place in History, which is too moderate to provoke any criticism. Thus a reaction that at one time claimed the necessity of rewriting history, has in the end engaged few advocates, and is almost lost sight of.

D. Captain John Smith’s Publications.—The Description is now a rare book, worth with the genuine map, should one be offered, fifty pounds or upwards. There is some bibliographical detail regarding it in the Memorial History of Boston, i. 50, 52, 53. Latin and German versions of it were included in De Bry, part x. Michael Sparke, the London printer, issuing Higginson’s New England’s Plantation in 1630, appended this recommendation:—

“But whosoever desireth to know as much as yet can be discovered, I advise them to buy Captaine John Smith’s booke of the description of New England in folio, and reade from fol. 203 to the end; and there let the reader expect to have full content.”

Smith’s letter (1618) to Bacon, upon New England, is in the Hist. Mag., July, 1861, and the annexed autograph is taken from the original in the Public Record office. See Sainsbury’s Calendar of Colonial Papers, no. 42, p. 21; Popham Memorial, App. p. 104; Palfrey, New England, i. 97.

A little tract of Smith’s, New England’s Trials [i. e. Attempts at Settlements], needs to be taken in connection with the Description. Of this tract, of eight pages, published in 1620, there is no copy known in America, and Mr. Deane describes it and reprints it in the Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. xii. 428, 449, from the Bodleian copy, which differs in the names of the dedication from the British Museum copy. In 1622 it was issued in a second edition, enlarged to fourteen pages, which is also very rare, though copies are in the Deane Collection and in that of John Carter-Brown, from the last of which a privately printed reprint has been made. It was this text which Force used in his Tracts, ii. See Brinley Catalogue, no. 363.

Smith had moved, April 12, 1621, in a meeting of the Virginia Company, that its official sanction should be given to a compiled history of “that country, from her first discovery to this day,” showing that the purpose of his Generall Historie was then in his mind. (Neill’s Virginia Company, p. 210.) The first edition of it was issued in 1624, and in it he included, besides abstracts of various other writings, substantially all his previous publications on America (see the chapter on Virginia in the present volume), except his True Relation, in the place of which he had put the Map of Virginia, a tract covering the same transactions. When reissued in 1626 it was from the same type, and again in 1627, and twice in 1632. An account of the various editions in the Lenox Library, which differ only in the front matter and plates, can be found in Norton’s Literary Gazette, new ser. i. pp. 134 a, 218 c. Mr. Deane has printed a part of the original prospectus. Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., ix. 454.

The best opportunity for studying the slight diversities of the different issues of this book may be found in the Lenox Library, which has ten copies, showing all the varieties. Among other copies, the following are noted:—

1624., Charles Deane. A large paper dedication copy of this edition, bound for Smith’s patron, the Duchess of Richmond and Lenox, was bought, at the Brinley Sale in 1879, no. 364, for the Lenox Library, $1,800. The Menzies and Barlow copies are also called large paper ones. See Griswold Catalogue, no. 778; Field’s Ind. Bibliog. no. 1435. The Huth Catalogue, p. 1367, gives a copy of this edition in the original rich binding, showing the arms of the Duke of Norfolk quartered with those of his wife, the daughter of the Duchess of Richmond and Lenox.

1626., Harvard College Library. Sparks’s Collection, now at Cornell University, no. 2424.

1627., Prince Library in Boston Public Library. Massachusetts Historical Society. See the Crowninshield Catalogue, no. 992.

1631., The Huth Catalogue, p. 1367, gives, perhaps by error, an edition of this date. I have noted no other copy.

1632., Harvard College Library.

The two portraits of the Duchess of Richmond and of Matoaka are usually wanting. See the note to chapter v. Average copies without the genuine portraits, which in Rich’s day (1832) were worth five guineas, are now valued at more than three times that sum. The portrait of Smith, which is shown reduced on the map of New England already given, has been similarly reproduced full size in the Memorial History of Boston, i., and is engraved in the Richmond edition of the Generall Historie, in Bancroft, Drake’s Boston, Hillard’s Life of Smith, N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., Jan. 1858, etc.

The Generall Historie, in conjunction with the True Travels, was carelessly reprinted at Richmond, in 1819, at the cost of the Rev. John Holt Rice, D.D., who lost by the speculation. (N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1877, p. 114.) A large part appeared in Purchas’s Pilgrims, iv. 1838. It is given entire in Pinkerton’s Collections of Voyages, xiii.

It is the sixth book of this Generall Historie which relates to New England, and in this Smith supplements his own experience, and brings the details down beyond the limits of this present chapter, by borrowing from Mourt’s Relation and reporting upon other accounts, as he did in his[212] still later publication, the tract called Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New England, which brings the story down to 1630.

Dr. Palfrey has a note on the confidence to be reposed in Smith’s books, in his History of New England, i. 89.

Smith was born in 1579 at Willoughby, as the parish records show. (Hist. Mag., i. 313; Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., ix. 451.) He died June 21, 1631, signing his will the same day (Ibid. ix. 452), and was buried in St. Sepulchre’s, London, where the inscription above his grave is said to be now illegible. A committee of the American Antiquarian Society was appointed in 1874 to see to its restoration, but were prevented from acting by the demand of a fee for the privilege from the vestry of the church. (N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1874, p. 222.) In Sparks’s American Biography is a memoir of him by George S. Hillard; another, by W. Gilmore Simms, was printed in 1846; and a recent study of his life and writings has been made by C. D. Warner, who says that the inscription, with the three (Turks’?) heads in St. Sepulchre’s, long supposed to mark the grave of Smith, is proved to commemorate some one who died in September, aged 66, while Smith died June, 1631, aged 51. Stow’s Survey of London, 1633, gives the long epitaph which could be read on the walls of the church previous to its destruction in the great London fire in 1666. Cf. Deane in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., Jan. 1867, p. 454.


Simon Passe, whose Latinized name we see on the engraving of Smith’s map, was ten years in England, and engraved many of the chief people of the time; and as he was his own draughtsman, it is probable the portrait of Smith was drawn by Passe from life, though Robert Clerke is credited with draughting the map.

E. Early Globes.—The Molineaux globe referred to in the text was constructed at the instance of that great patron of navigation, William Sanderson. (Davis’s Voyages, Introduction by Markham, pp. xii. 211.) It is said to be the earliest ever made in England. (Ibid. p. lix.) It is two feet in diameter, and was completed in 1592. (Asher’s Henry Hudson, p. 274.) The oldest globe known antedates it more than a century, and of those intervening which are known, the following, with the prototype, deserve mention:—

1. Martin Behaim’s, 1492, preserved in the library at Nuremberg. It presents an open ocean between Europe and Asia. The first meridian runs through Madeira. There is a copy in fac-simile in the Bibliothèque Nationale, at Paris. There have been engraved delineations of it by Doppelmayr at Nuremberg in 1730; by Dr. Ghillany, in connection with his Geschichte des Seefahrers Ritter Martin Behaim, 1853; by Jomard in his Monuments de la Géographie, 1854-56, pl. 15. There are sections and reductions in Cladera’s Investigaciones Historicas, Madrid, 1794; in Lelewel’s Moyen Age; in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, xviii.; in Kohl’s Discovery of Maine; in some of the editions of Irving’s Columbus; in Bryant and Gay’s United States, i. 103; and in Maury’s paper in Harper’s Monthly, xlii. (February, 1871).

2. Acquired from a friend in Laon in 1860 by M. Leroux, of the Administration de la Marine at Paris, and represents the geographical knowledge current at Lisbon, 1486-87, according to D’Avezac, who gives a projection of it in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris, 4th series, viii. (1860). It is dated 1493. The first meridian runs through Madeira.

3. A small copper globe in the Lenox Library, in New York, which is said to be the earliest globe to show the American coast, and its date is fixed at about 1510-12, but by some as early as 1506-7.



This extract is from a tracing by Dr. De Costa. The legends on it are marked as follows: A, Nova Francia; B, Canada; C, Norumbega; D, India; E, Virginia, primum lustrata et Culta ab Anglis inpensis D. Gualteri de Ralegh Equitis Aurati, etc., annuente Elizabetha sev. Angliæ Regina.

1. Hochelaga. 18. S. Cruz. 34. Claudia.
2. Mont Royal. 19. De Breton. 35. Rio Grande.
3. Estade. 20. Aredona. 36. De Lagus.
4. Stadin flu. 21. C. de Breton. 37. Montagna.
5. Saguinay. 22. S. Miguel. 38. B. S. Johan.
6. I. de Orleans. 23. C. Real. 39. Buena Vista.
7. R. Dulce. 24. C. S. Joan. 40. S. Samson.
8. R. S. Laurens. 25. Sinus Laureti. 41. Chesapicke.
9. S. Nicolas. 26. C. d’Esperance. 42. R. de Buelta.
10. C. Tienot. 27. G. de Chalue. 43. C. de Arenas.
11. Chasteaux. 28. Hunedo. 44. S. Christovall.
12. Belle Ysle. 29. I. S. Joan. 45. Chiapanak.
13. C. Blanco. 30. R. de la Pelaijo. 46. Trinitie Harbour.
14. Isle des Oiseaux. 31. R. Vista. 47. P. Hatorack.
15. C. de Bona Vista. 32. R. de Montagnas. 48. C. Hatoras.
16. The Bacailo. 33. Rio Honda. 49. Ye C. of Fear.
17. C. de Razo.


It was bought in Paris about twenty-five years ago by R. M. Hunt, the architect, and was given by him to Mr. Lenox. It is about five inches in diameter. Dr. De Costa has described it and given a draught of its geography in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., Sept. 1879. This paper, translated by M. Gravier, appeared in the Bulletin de la Société normande de Géographie, 1880. A projection of it is said to have been made in the Coast Survey Bureau in 1869, at the instance of Mr. Henry Stevens, and a reduction of this is given in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th edition, x. 681, of which the Western Hemisphere is herewith reproduced. The globe opens on the line of the equator, and was probably used as a pyx. It may be said to be the oldest globe showing any part of the New World.

4. Brought to light in a Catalogue de Livres rares appartenant à M. H. Tross, année 1881, no. xiv. 4924, where a fac-simile by S. Pilinski is given. The gores composing it are found in a copy of the Cosmographiæ Introductio, supposed to have been printed at Lugduni, 1514. This is the claim of the Catalogue; but if it belonged to the tract it could hardly have been earlier than 1518. It is understood that the book has been added to an American collection. The plate is styled Universalis Cosmographie Descriptio tam in solido quem [sic] plano, and is given in twelve sections. The delineation of South America is marked “America noviter reperta.” It is claimed that this gives this copperplate, “essentiellement française,” the honor of being the earliest to bear the name of America,—that credit having been claimed for the woodcut map in Camer’s edition of Solinus, 1520. The manuscript delineation by Leonardo da Vinci, also giving the name, and preserved at Windsor in the Queen’s collection, probably antedates it.

5. Made by Johann Schoner at Bamberg in 1520, preserved in the library at Nuremberg, and thought, until the discovery of the Lenox globe, to be the earliest showing the discoveries in America. The northern section is still broken up into islands large and small; but South America is delineated with approximate correctness. Dr. Ghillany gave a representation of the American hemisphere in the Jahresbericht der technischen Anstalten in Nürnberg für 1842; also see his Erdglobus von Behaim vom Jahre 1492, und der des Joh. Schoner von 1520, Nürnberg, 1842, p. 18, two plates. Humboldt examines this Schoner globe in his Examen critique, and in his Appendix to Ghillany’s Ritter Behaim, where a reproduction is given. There are also delineations or sections in Lelewel’s Moyen Age; in Kohl’s Discovery of Maine; in Santarem’s Atlas; and in Maury’s paper in Harper’s Monthly, February, 1871. Schoner published, in 1515, a Terræ totius descriptio, without a map, of which there are copies in Harvard College Library and the Carter-Brown Collection at Providence.

6. Preserved at Frankfort-on-the-Main; of unknown origin. It is figured in Jomard’s Monuments de la Géographie. See also the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, xviii. 45. It resembles Schoner’s, and Wieser ascribes it to that maker, and dates it 1515. It is 10½ inches in diameter, and by some the date is fixed at 1520.

7. Given by Duke Charles V. of Lorraine to the church at Nancy, and opening in the middle, long used there as a pyx, is now preserved in the Public Library in that town, and was described (with an engraving) by M. Blau in the Mémoires de la Société royale de Nancy, in 1836, and again in the Compte-Rendu, Congrès des Américanistes, 1877, p. 359, and from a photograph by Dr. DeCosta, in the Magazine of American History, March, 1881. It makes North America the eastern part of Asia, and transforms Norumbega into Anorombega. It is made of silver, gilt, and is six inches in diameter.

8. Supposed to be of Spanish origin; preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, at Paris, and formerly belonged to the brothers De Bure. It bears a close resemblance to the Frankfort globe.

9. In the custody of the successors of Canon L’Ecuy of Prémontré. It is without date, and D’Avezac fixed it before 1524; others put it about 1540. It is the first globe to show North America disconnected from Asia. It is said to be now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, at Paris. Cf. Raemdonck, Les Sphères de Mercator, p. 28.

10. What was thought to be the only copy known of one of Gerard Mercator’s engraved globes was bought at the sale of M. Benoni-Verelst, at Ghent, in May, 1868, by the Royal Library at Brussels. In 1875 it was reproduced in twelve plane gores at Brussels, in folio, as a part of Sphère terrestre et sphère céleste de Gerard Mercator, éditées à Louvain en 1541 et 1551, and one of the sections is inscribed, “Edebat Gerardus Mercator Rupelmundanus cum privilegio ces: Maiestatis ad an sex Lovanii an 1541.” Only two hundred copies of the fac-simile were printed. There are copies in the Library of the State Department at Washington, of Harvard College, and of the American Geographical Society, New York. The outline of the eastern coast of America is shown with tolerable accuracy, though there is no indication of the discoveries of Cartier in the St. Lawrence Gulf and River, made a few years earlier. In 1875 a second original was discovered in the Imperial Court Library at Vienna; and a third is said to exist at Weimar.

11. Of copper, made apparently in Italy,—at Rome, or Venice,—by Euphrosynus Ulpius in 1542, is fifteen and one half inches in diameter,[215] was bought in 1859 out of a collection of a dealer in Spain by Buckingham Smith, and is now in the Cabinet of the New York Historical Society. The first meridian runs through the Canaries, and it shows the demarcation line of Pope Alexander VI. It is described in the Historical Magazine, 1862, p. 302, and the American parts are engraved in B. Smith’s Inquiry into the Authenticity of Verrazano’s Claims, and Henry C. Murphy’s Verrazzano, p. 114. See Harrisse, Notes sur la Nouvelle France, no. 291. The fullest description, accompanied by engravings of it, is given by B. F. De Costa in the Magazine of American History, January, 1879; and in his Verrazano the Explorer, New York, 1881, p. 64.


The Legends of this Globe are these: 1. Parias. 2. C. San til. 3. Isabelle. 4. Jamaica. 5. Spagnolla. 6. Lit. incognita [The Baccalaos region]. The passage to the west by the Central America isthmus will be observed.

Mr. C. H. Coote, in his paper on “Globes” in the new edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, x. 680, mentions two other globes of the[216] sixteenth century, which may antedate that of Molineaux, both by A. F. van Langren,—one in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, and the other, discovered in 1855, in the Bibliothèque de Grenoble.

The globe-makers immediately succeeding Molineaux were W. J. Blaeu (1571-1638) and his son John Blaeu, and their work is rare at this day. Mr. P. J. H. Baudet, in his Leven en werken van W. J. Blaeu, Utrecht, 1871, reports finding but two pair of his (Blaeu’s) globes (terrestrial and celestial) in Holland. His first editions bore date 1599, but he constantly corrected the copper plates, from which he struck the gores. Muller, of Amsterdam, offered a pair, in 1877, for five hundred Dutch florins, and in his Books on America, iii. 164, another at seven hundred and fifty florins. (Catalogue, 1877, no. 329.) A pair, dated 1606, was in the Stevens sale, 1881. Hist. Coll., i., no. 1335.

I find no trace of the globe of Hondius, 1597, which gives the American discoveries up to that date. See Davis’s Voyages (Hakluyt Society), p. 351. Hondius and Langeren were rivals.


The Legends are as follows:—

1. This land was discovered by John and Sebastian Cabot for Kinge Henry ye 7, 1497.
2.  Bacalaos.
3. C. Bonavista.
4. C. Raso.
5. C. Britton.
6. I. Sables.
7. I. S. John.
8. Claudia.
9. Comokee.
10. C. Chesepick.
11. Hotorast.
12. La Bermudas.
13. Bahama.
14. La Florida.
15. The Gulfe of Mexico.
16. Virginia.
17. The lacke of Tadenac, the bounds whereof are unknowne.
18. Canada.
19. Hochelague.

F. Molineaux Map, 1600.—Emeric Molineaux, the alleged maker of this map, belonged to Lambeth, “a rare gentleman in his profession, being therein for divers years greatly supported by the purse and liberality of the worshipful merchant, Mr. William Sanderson.” Captain Markham (Davis’s Voyages, Hakluyt Society, London, 1880, pp. xxxiii, lxi, also p. lxxxviii) is of the opinion that the true author is Edward Wright, the mathematician, who perfected and rendered practicable what we know to-day as Mercator’s projection,—first demonstrating it in his Certain Errors in Navigation Detected, 1599, and first introducing its formulæ accurately in the 1600 map. Hakluyt had spoken of the globe by Molineaux in his 1589 edition, but it was not got ready in time[217] for his use. The map followed the globe, but was not issued till about 1600, the discoveries of Barentz in 1596 being the last indicated on it. It measures 16½ × 25 inches. Quaritch in 1875 advanced the theory that the globe of Molineaux was referred to in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (act iii. sc. 2), as the “new map.” (Quaritch’s 1879 Catalogue, no. 321, book no. 11919),—a theory made applicable to the map and sustained by C. H. Coote in 1878, in Shakespeare’s “new map” in Twelfth Night (also in Transactions of the New Shakspere Society, 1877-79, i. 88-100), and reasserted in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Davis’s Voyages, p. lxxxv. Henry Stevens (Hist. Coll. i. 200), however, is inclined to refer Shakespeare’s reference (“the new map with the augmentation of the Indies”) to the “curious little round-face shaped map” in Wytfliet’s Ptolemæum Augmentum, 1597.

The Molineaux-Wright map has gained reputation from Hallam’s reference to it in his Literature of Europe as “the best map of the sixteenth century.” It is now accessible in the autotype reproduction which was made by Mr. Quaritch from the Grenville copy of Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations in the British Museum, and which accompanies the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Davis’s Voyages. There are nine copies of the map known, as follows: 1. King’s Library. 2. Grenville Library. 3. Cracherode Copy. (These three are in the British Museum.) 4. Admiralty Office. 5. Lenox Library, New York. 6. University of Cambridge. 7. Christie Miller’s Collection. 8. Middle Temple. 9. A copy in Quaritch’s Catalogue, 1881, no. 340, title-number, 6235, which had previously appeared in the Stevens sale, Hist. Collections, i. 199. Quaritch held the Hakluyt (3 vols.) with this genuine map at £156, and it is said no other copy had been sold since the Bright sale.

It may be noted that Blundeville, who in his Exercises, pp. 204-42, describes the Mercator and Molineaux globes, also, pp. 245-78, gives a long account of a mappamundi by Peter Plancius, dated 1592, of which Linschoten, in 1594, gives a reduction.

G. Modern Collections of Early Maps.—The collections of reproductions of the older maps, showing portions of the American coast, and representing what may be termed the beginnings of modern cartography, are the following:—

Jomard, E. F. Les Monuments de la Géographie. Paris, 1866. The death of Jomard in 1862 (see Memoir by M. de la Roquette, in Bulletin de la Soc. Géog. February, 1863, or 5th ser. v. 81, with a portrait; Cortambert’s Vie et Œuvres de Jomard, Paris, 1868, 20 pages; and Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., iv. 232, vi. 334) prevented the completion by him of the text which he intended should accompany the plates. M. D’Avezac’s intention to supply it was likewise stayed by his death, in 1875. It proved, however, that Jomard had left behind what he had meant for an introduction to the text; and this was printed in a pamphlet at Paris in 1879, as Introduction à l’Atlas des Monuments de la Géographie, edited by E. Cortambert. It is a succinct account of the progress of cartography before the times of Mercator and Ortelius. The atlas contains five maps, of great interest in connection with American discovery:—

The Frankfort Globe, circa 1520.
Juan de la Cosa’s map, 1500.
The Cabot map of 1544.
A French map, made for Henri II.
Behaim’s Globe, 1492.

These reproductions are of the size of the original. Good copies are worth £10 10s.

Santarem, Visconde de. Atlas Composé de Cartes des XIVe XVe XVIe et XVIIe siècles, Paris. 1841-53. This was published at the charge of the Portuguese Government, and is the most extensive of modern fac-similes. Copies, which are rarely found complete, owing to its irregular publication over a long period, are worth from $175 to $200. A list of the maps in it is given in Leclerc, Bibliotheca Americana, 1878, no. 529; and of them the following are of interest to students of American history:—

51. Mappemonde de Ruysch. This appeared in the Ptolemy of 1508 at Rome, the earliest engraved map of America.

52. Globe of Schoner, and the map in Camer’s edition of Solinus, each of 1520.

53. Mappemonde par F. Roselli, Florence, 1532, and the maps of Sebastian Munster, 1544, and Vadianus, 1546.

The atlas should be accompanied by Essai sur l’histoire de la Cosmographie et de la Cartographie pendant le Moyen Age, et sur les progrès de la Géographie après les grandes découvertes du XVe siècle. 3 vols. Paris. 1849-52.

Kunstmann, F. Entdeckung Amerikas nach den ältesten Quellen geschichtlich dargestellt. Munich, 1859. This was published under the auspices of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and is accompanied by a large atlas, giving fac-similes of the principal Spanish and Portuguese maps of the sixteenth century, including one of the California coast, and that of the east coast of North America, by Thomas Hood, 1592. Copies are worth from $15 to $20.

Lelewel, J. Géographie du Moyen Age étudiée. Bruxelles. 1852. 3 vols. 8º. With a small folio atlas, of thirty-five plates, containing fifty-two maps. The text is useful; but, as a rule, the maps are on too small a scale for easy study.


A series of photographic reproductions of early maps is now appearing at Venice, under the title of Raccolta di Mappamondi e Carte nautiche del XIII al XVI secolo. There are two which have a particular interest in connection with the earliest explorations in America; namely,—

16. Carta da navigare. Attributed to Alberto Cantino, supposed to be A.D. 1501-03, and to illustrate the third voyage of Columbus. The original is in the Bibl. Estense at Modena. [Not yet published.]

17. Agnese, Battista. Fac-simile delle Carte nautiche dell’ anno 1554, illustrate da Teobaldo Fischer. Venezia. 1881.

The editor, Fischer, is Professor of Geography at Kiel. The original is in the Bibliotheca Marciana, at Venice. The sheets which throw light upon the historical geography of America are these:—

XVII. 4. North America northward to the Penobscot and the Gulf of California; and the west coast of South America to 15° south; then blank, till the region of Magellan’s Straits is reached.

XVII. 5. North America, east coast from Labrador south; Central America; South America, all of east coast, and west coast, as in XVII. 4.

XVII. 33. The World,—the American continent much as in XVII. 4 and 5.

We note the following other maps of Agnese:—

a. Portolano in the British Museum, bearing date 1536. Index to MSS. in British Museum, 19,927. If this is the one Kohl (Discovery of Maine, p. 293) refers to as no. 5,463, MS. Department British Museum, it is signed and dated by the author.

b. Portolano, dated 1536, in the royal library at Dresden, of ten plates,—one being the World, the western half of which, showing America, is given reduced by Kohl, p. 292. It resembles XVII. 33, above, but is not so well advanced, and retains a trace of Verrazano’s Sea, which makes New England an isthmus. It wants the California peninsula, a knowledge of whose discovery had hardly yet reached Venice.

c. Portolano, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford; thought by Kohl, who gives a sketch (pl. xv. c), to be the work of Agnese, since it closely resembles, in its delineations of the American continent, that Venetian’s notions. This, perhaps, is earlier than the previous map; for it puts a strait leading to the Western sea, where Cartier had just before supposed he had found such in the St. Lawrence.

d. Map in the archives of the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, marked “Baptista Agnes fecit, Venetiis, 1543, die 18 Febr.” Kohl (pl. xvii. 3) gives from it a draft of the eastern coast of the United States.

e. Map, like d, in the Huth Library at London.

f. Portolano in the Royal Library, Dresden. It shows California. Kohl, p. 294.

g. Portolano in the British Museum, dated 1564. Index to MSS. 25,442.

Kohl says (p. 293) there are other MS. maps of Agnese in London, Paris, Gotha, and Dresden, not here enumerated.

A few other books, less extensive and more accessible, deserve attention in connection with the study of comparative early American cartography.

Henry Stevens. History and Geographical Notes of the Early Discoveries in America, 1453-1530, New Haven, 1869, with five folding plates of photographic fac-similes of sixteen of the most important maps.

Dr. J. G. Kohl. Discovery of Maine (Documentary History of Maine, 1), with reduced sketches, not in fac-simile, of many early charts of our eastern seaboard.

Charles P. Daly. Early History of Cartography, or what we know of Maps and Map-making before the time of Mercator,—being his annual address, 1879, before the American Geographical Society. The maps are unfortunately on a very much reduced scale.

NOTE.—Since this chapter was completed Henry Harrisse’s Jean et Sébastien Cabot, Paris, 1882, has given us the fullest account of Agnese’s cartographical labors, with much other useful information about the maps from 1497 to 1550; and George Bancroft (Magazine of American History, 1883, pp. 459, 460), in defence of his latest revision, has controverted Dr. De Costa’s statement (Ibid., 1883, p. 300), that Gosnold had no permission from Ralegh, and has set forth his reasons for believing that Waymouth ascended the George’s River. De Costa replied to Bancroft in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., Aug., 1883, p. 143.





Vice-President of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

THERE is no occasion to offer any elaborate plea for making this theme the subject of a chapter of American history, however extended into detail or compressed in its dealing with general themes that history might be. In the origin and development, the strengthening and the triumph, of those agencies which transferred from the Old World to the New the trial of fresh ideas and the experiment with free institutions, the colonists of New England had the leading part. The influence and the institutions which have gone forth from them have had a prevailing sway on the northern half of this continent. Their enterprise—in its seemingly feeble, but from the first earnest and resolute, purpose—took its spring from religious dissension following upon the earlier stages of the Protestant Reformation in England. The grounds, occasions, and results of that dissension thus become the proper subject of a chapter in American history. It is certain that in tracing the early assertion in England of what may be called the principles of dissent from ecclesiastical authority, we are dealing with forces which have wrought effectively on this continent.

The well-established and familiar fact, that the first successful and effective colonial enterprises of Englishmen in New England found their motive and purpose in religious variances within the English communion, is illustrated by an incident anticipatory by several years of the period which realized that result. A scheme was devised and entered upon in England in the interest of substantially the same class of men known as Separatists and Nonconformists, who twenty-three years afterward established themselves at Plymouth, and ten years later in Massachusetts Bay. In the year 1597, there were confined in London prisons a considerable number of men known confusedly as Barrowists or Brownists, who had been seized in the conventicles of the Separatists, or had made themselves obnoxious by disaffection with the government, the forms, or the discipline of the English hierarchy. In that year a scheme was proposed, apparently by the Government,[220] for planting some permanent colonists somewhere in the northern parts of North America. Some of these Separatists petitioned the Council for leave to transport themselves for this purpose, promising fidelity to the Queen and her realm. Three merchants at the time were planning a voyage for fishing and discovery, with a view to a settlement on an island variously called Rainea, Rainée, and Ramees, in a group of the Magdalen Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and they were to furnish two ships for the enterprise. Reinforcing the petition of the Separatists, they asked permission to transport with them “divers artificers and other persons that are noted to be Sectaries, whose minds are continually in an ecclesiastical ferment.” Permission was granted for the removal of two such persons in each of the two ships, the merchants giving bonds that the exiles should not return unless willing to obey the ecclesiastical laws. The four prisoners who embarked for the voyage, April 8, 1597, were Francis and George Johnson, brothers, who had been educated at Cambridge, and Daniel Studley and John Clarke, who shared with them their Separatist principles. One of the vessels was wrecked when near its destination, and the company took refuge on the other, which, proving unseaworthy and scantily provisioned, returned to England, arriving in the Channel, September 1. The four exiles found their way stealthily to a hiding-place in London, and by the middle of the month were in Amsterdam. Their history there connects with the subsequent fortunes of the Separatists in England, and with those of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.[443]

The facts, persons, and incidents with which we have to deal in treating of this special matter of religious contention within the English Church, give us simply the opening in series and course of what under various modifications is known as the history of Dissent. The strife then engendered has continued essentially the same down to our own times, turning upon the same points of controversy and upon contested principles, rights, and methods. The present relations of the parties to this entailed dissension may throw some light back upon the working of the elements in it when it was first opened. The result which has been reached, after the processes engaged in it for nearly four centuries, shows itself to us in a still existing National Church establishment in England, with authority and vested rights, privileges, and prerogatives, yet nevertheless repudiated by nearly, if not quite, half of the subjects of the realm. The reason or the right, the grounds or the justification, of the original workings of Dissent have certainly been suspended long enough for discussion and judgment upon their merits to help us to reach a fair decision upon them.

The indifference, even the strong distaste, which writers and readers alike feel to a rehearsal in our days of the embittered and aggravated strife,—often concerned too, with what seem to us petty, trivial, and perverse elements of scruple, temper, and passion,—in the early Puritan controversy in the Church[221] of England, may be sensibly relieved by the spirit of fairness and consideration in which the subject is treated in the most recent dealing with it by able and judicious writers. There are even now in the utterances of pulpit and platform, and in the voluminous pages of pamphlet, essay, and so-called history, survivals and renewals of all the sharpness and acrimoniousness of the original passions of the controversy. And where this spirit has license, the lengthening lapse of time will more or less falsify the truth of the relation of either side of the strife. One whose sympathies are with either party may rightly claim that it be fairly presented, its limitations, excesses, and even its perversities being excused or palliated, where reasons can be shown. Nor is one who for any fair purpose undertakes a statement or exposition of the views and course of either of those parties to be regarded as also its champion and vindicator. But no rehearsal of the controversy will have much value or interest for readers of our day which does assume such championship of one party. As the Puritans, Nonconformists, or Dissenters, from the beginning up to this day, were substantially defeated, disabled, and made the losers of the object for which they contended, they may fairly claim the allowance of making the best possible statement of their cause.

Those who at this distance of time accede in their lineage and principles to the heritage of the first Dissenters from the English Church system, might naturally eulogize them for their noble service in laying the foundations of religious and civil liberty in the realm. But there are not lacking in these days Royalists and Churchmen alike who in the pages of history and in essays equally extol the English Nonconformists as the foremost champions, the most effective agents, in bringing to trial and triumph the free institutions of the realm. Making the fullest allowances for all the perversities and fanaticisms wrought in with the separating tenets and principles of individuals and sects, their protests and assertions, their sufferings and constancy under disabilities, all wrought together at last to insure a grand result. Boldly is the assertion now maintained, that the Church of England at several critical periods would have been unable to withstand the recuperative forces of the Roman Church, had it not been for the persistent action of the Nonconformists in holding the ground won by the Reformation, and in demanding advance in the same line. The partial schemes of toleration and comprehension which were hopefully or mockingly entertained by parties in the Government down to the period of the Revolution, were avowedly designed “to strengthen the Protestant interest.” The strength of Dissent, in all its forms and stages, lay in its demanding for the laity voice and influence in all ecclesiastical affairs. It was this that restrained the dominance of priestly power.

There is a very important consideration to be had in view when we aim to form a fair and impartial judgment of the spirit and course of those earnest, if contentious, men, scholars, divines, heads and fellows of universities, who in their Nonconforming or Separatist principles originated dissensions[222] in the English Church, and withdrew from it, bearing various pains and penalties. Even in the calmer dealing with them in the religious literature of our own times coming from Episcopal writers, we find traces of the irritation, reproach, and contempt felt and expressed for these original Dissenters when they first came into notice, to be dealt with as mischief-makers and culprits. They were then generally regarded as unreasonable, perverse, and contentious spirits, exaggerating trifling matters, obtruding morbid scruples, and keeping the realm in a ferment of petty squabbles on subjects in themselves utterly indifferent. They withstood the hearty, harmonious engagement of the rulers and the mass of the people of the realm in the difficult task of securing the general principles and interests of the Reformation, when perils and treacheries of a most formidable character from the Papacy and from internal and external enemies threatened every form of disaster. To this charge it might be replied, that the Puritans believed that a thorough and consistent work of reformation within the realm would be the best security for loyalty, internal harmony, and protection from the plottings of all outside enemies.

The most interesting and significant fact underlying the origin and the principles alike of Nonconformity and of Separatism in England at the period of the Reformation, is this: the facility and acquiescence with which changes were made in the English ecclesiastical system up to a certain point, while further modifications in the same direction were so stiffly resisted. It would seem as if it had been assumed at once that there was a well-defined line of division which should sharply distinguish between what must necessarily or might reasonably be made a part of the new order of things when the Papacy was renounced, and what must be conserved against all further innovation. The pivot of all subsequent controversy, dissension, and alienation turned upon the question whether this sharply drawn line was not wholly an arbitrary one, not adjusted by a principle of consistency, but of the nature of a compromise. This question was followed by another: Why should the process of reformation in the Church, so resolute and revolutionary in changing its institution and discipline and ritual, stop at the stage which it has already reached? Could any other answer be given than that the majority, or those who in office or prerogative had the power to enforce a decision, had decided that the right point had been reached, and that an arrest must be made there?

We must indicate in a summary way the stage which the Reformation had reached in England when Puritanism, in its various forms, made itself intrusive and obnoxious in demanding further changes. We need not open and deal with the controverted point, about which English Churchmen are by no means in accord, as to whether their Church had or did not have an origin and jurisdiction independently of all agency, intrusion, or intervention of the Bishop of Rome, or the Pope. It is enough to start with the fact, that up to the reign of Henry VIII. the Pope asserted and exercised a supremacy both in civil and in ecclesiastical affairs in the realm. If there[223] was a Church in England, it was allowed that that Church must have a head. The Pope was acknowledged to be that head. Henry VIII., with the support of his Parliament, renounced the Papal supremacy, and himself acceded to that august dignity. The year 600 is assigned as the date when Pope Gregory I. put Augustin, or Austin, over the British Church. The headship of the Pope was acknowledged in the line of monarchs till Henry VIII. became the substitute of Clement VII. In the twenty-sixth year of Henry’s reign his Parliament enacted that “whatsoever his Majesty should enjoin in matters of religion should be obeyed by all his subjects.” Some of the clergy, being startled at this exaltation of a layman to the highest ecclesiastical office, demanded the insertion of the qualifying words “as far as is agreeable to the laws of Christ.” The King for a time accepted this qualification, but afterward obtained the consent of Parliament for its omission. Whatever may be granted or denied to the well-worn plea that the King’s reformatory zeal was inspired by his feud with the Pope about his matrimonial infelicities, it is evident that, notwithstanding the unrestrained royal prerogative, the monarch could not have struck at the very basis of all ecclesiastical rule and order in his kingdom, had there not been not only in his Council and Parliament, but also working among all orders of the people, a spirit and resolve against the Papal rule and discipline, ready to enter upon the unsounded and perilous ventures of radical reformation. None as yet knew where the opened way would lead them. The initiatory and each onward step might yet have to be retraced. Not for many years afterward did the threat and dread of the full restoration of the Papal power cease to appal the people of the realm. The final and the impotent blow which severed the Papacy from the realm came in the Bull of Pope Pius V. in 1571, which denounced Elizabeth as a heretic, and, under pain of curse, forbade her subjects to obey her laws. The measures of reform under Henry were tentative and arbitrary on his part. They made no recognition of any defined aim and stage to be reached. We must keep this fact in view as showing that while the realm was ready for change, it was as yet a process, not a mark.

It is necessary to start with a definition of terms which are often confounded in their use. “Puritans,” “Separatists,” and “Nonconformists” might in fact be terms equally applicable to many individuals, but none the less they were distinctive, and in many cases indicated very broad divergencies and characteristics in opinion, belief, and conduct. Nonconformists and Separatists were alike Puritans,—the latter intensively such. Puritanism developed alike into Nonconformity and Separatism. The earliest Puritans came to be Nonconformists, after trying in vain to retain a ministry and communion in the English Church as established by royal and civil authority, and after being driven from it because of their persistent demands for further reform in it. As heartily as did those who remained in its communion, they believed in the fitness of an established nationalized Church. They wished to be members of such a Church[224] themselves; and not only so, but also to force upon others such membership. It was not to destroy, but to purify; not to deny to the civil authority a legislative and disciplinary power in religious matters, but to limit the exercise of that right within Scriptural rules and methods. They had sympathized in the processes of reform so far as these had advanced, but complained that the work had been arbitrarily arrested, was incomplete, was inconsistently pursued, was insecure in the stage which it had reached, and so left without the warrant which Scripture alone could furnish as a substitute for repudiated Rome.

Who were the Separatists, whose utterances, scruples, and conduct seemed so whimsical, pertinacious, disloyal, and refractory in Old England, and whose enterprise has been so successful and honorable in its development in New England? When the unity of the Roman Church was sundered at the Reformation, all those once in its communion who parted from it were Separatists. It is an intricate but interesting story, which has been often told, wearisomely and indeed exhaustively, in explanation of the fact that this epithet came to designate a comparatively small number of individuals in a nation to the mass of whose population it equally belonged. The term “separatist” or “sectary” carries with it a changing significance and association, according to the circumstances of its application. It was first used to designate the Christians. The Apostle Paul was called “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts xxiv. 5). The Roman Jews described the Christians as a “sect” that was “everywhere spoken against” (Acts xxviii. 22). The civil power gave a distinctive limitation to the epithet. It is always to be remembered that every national-church establishment existing among Protestants is the creation of the civil authority. Its inclusion and its exclusion, the privileges and disabilities which it gives or imposes, its titles of honor or reproach, are the awards of secular magistrates. All ecclesiastical polity, outside of Scriptural rule and sanction, receives its authority, for those who accept and for those who reject it, from the extension of the temporal power into the province of religion. When King Henry VIII. and the English Parliament assumed the ecclesiastical headship and prerogative previously exercised by Pope Clement VII., all the loyal people of the realm became Separatists. All the Reformed bodies of the Continent substantially regarded themselves as coming under that designation, which might have been applied and assumed with equal propriety as the epithet “protestants.” The Curia of the hierarchy at Rome from the first until now regards English and all other Protestants as Separatists. An archbishop or bishop of the English Church is ranked by the Church of Rome in the same category of unauthorized intruders upon sacred functions with the second-advent exhorter and the field-preacher. The pages of English history, so diligently wrought, and the developments of ecclesiastical polity in the realm must be studied and traced by one who would fully understand the occasion, the grounds, and the justice of the restriction which confined the title of “separatists” to the outlawed and persecuted[225] and exiled class of persons, many of them graduates of English universities, ordained and serving in the pulpits of the Church, who were represented in and out of English jails by the four men whose abortive scheme of planting a colony in North America has just been referred to. However, justly or unjustly, the epithet “separatists” came to be applied and accepted as designating those who would not only not conform to the discipline of the Church, as still members of it, but who utterly renounced all connection with it, kept away from it, and organized assemblies, conventicles, or fellowships, subject only to such discipline as they might agree upon among themselves.

A suggestion presents itself here, to which a candid view of facts must attach much weight. Nonconformity, Separatism, Dissent, are not to be regarded as factiously obtruding themselves upon a peaceful, orderly, and well-established system, already tried and approved in its general workings. The Reformation in England was then but in progress, in its early stages; everything had been shaken, all was still unsettled, unadjusted, not reduced to permanence and order. There was an experiment to be tried, an institution to be recreated and remodelled, a substitute Church to be provided for a repudiated Church. The early Dissenters regarded themselves as simply taking part in an unfinished reform. The Church in England, under entanglements of civil policy and complications of State, gave tokens of stopping at a stage in reform quite different from that reached, and allowed progressive advance and unfettered conditions among Protestants on the Continent. There the course was free. The French, Dutch, and Italian systems, though not accordant, were all unlike the English ecclesiastical system. In England it was impeded, leading to a kind of establishment and institution in hierarchical and ritual administration which had more regard for the old Church, and looked to more compromise with it. It was not as if yielding to their own crotchets, self-willed idiosyncrasies, and petty fancies that those who opened the line of the Dissenters obtruded their variances, scruples, and contentions in assailing what was already established and perfected. They meant to come in at the beginning, at the first stage, the initiation of what was to be the new order of things in the Church, which was then, as they viewed it, in a state of formation and organization for time to come. They took alarm at the simulation of the system and ritual of the Roman Church, which the English, alone of all the Reformed Churches, in their view evidently favored. They wished to have hand and voice in initiating and planning the ecclesiastical institutions under which they were to live as Christians. Individual conscience, too, which heretofore had been a nullity, was thenceforward to stand for something. It remained to be proved how much and what was to be allowed to it, but it was not to be scornfully slighted. Then, also, with the first manifestations of a Nonconforming and Separatist spirit, we note the agitation of the question, which steadily strengthened in its persistency and emphasis of treatment, as to what were to be the rights and functions of[226] lay people in the administration of a Christian Church. Were they to continue, as under the Roman system, simply to be led, governed, and disciplined, as sheep in a fold, by a clerical order? Hallam gives it as his conclusion, that the party in the realm during Elizabeth’s reign “adverse to any species of ecclesiastical change,” was less numerous than either of the other parties, Catholic or Puritan. According to this view, if one third of the people of the realm would have consented to the restoration of the Roman system, and less than one third were in accord with the Protestant prelatical establishment, certainly the other third, the Puritanical party, might assert their right to a hearing.

While claiming and pleading that the strict rule and example of Scripture precedent and model should alone be followed in the institution and discipline of the Christian Church, there was a second very comprehensive and positive demand made by the Puritans, which,—as we shall calmly view it in the retrospect, as taking its impulse and purpose either from substantial and valid reasons of good sense, discretion, and practical wisdom, or as starting from narrow conceits, perversity, and eccentric judgments leading it on into fanaticism,—put the Puritans into antagonism with the Church party. From the first token of the breach with Rome under Henry VIII. through the reigns of his three children and the four Stuarts, the Reformation was neither accomplished in its process, nor secure of abiding in the stage which it had reached. More than once during that period of one and a half centuries there were not only reasonable fears, but actual evidences, that a renewed subjection to the perfectly restored thraldom of Rome might, in what seemed to be merely the cast of a die, befall the distracted realm of England. The Court, Council, and Parliament pulsated in regular or irregular beats between Romanism and Protestantism. Henry VIII. left the work of reform embittered in its spirit for both parties, unaccomplished, insecure, and with no settlement by fixed principles. His three children, coming successively to the crown, pursued each a policy which had all the elements of confusion, antagonism, inconsistency, and extreme methods.

The spirit which vivified Puritanism had been working in England, and had been defining and certifying its animating and leading principles, before any formal measures of King and Parliament had opened the breach with Rome. The elemental ferment began with the circulation and reading of parts or the whole of the Scriptures in the English tongue. The surprises and perils which accompanied the enjoyment of this fearful privilege by private persons of acute intelligence and hearts sensitive to the deepest religious emotions, were followed by profound effects. The book was to them a direct, intelligible, and most authoritative communication from God. To its first readers it did not seem to need any help from an interpreter or commentator. It is a suggestive fact, that for English readers the now mountainous heaps of literature devoted to the exposition, illustration, and extended and comparative elucidation of Scripture were produced only at[227] a later period. The first Scripture readers, antedating the actual era of the English Reformation and the formal national rupture with the Roman Church, were content with the simple text. They were impatient with any glosses or criticisms. When afterward, in the interests of psalmody in worship, the first attempts were made in constructing metrical versions of the Psalms, the intensest opposition was raised against the introduction of a single expletive word for which there was no answering original in the text.

We must assign to this early engagedness of love and devoted regard and fond estimate of the Bible the mainspring and the whole guiding inspiration of all the protests and demands which animated the Puritan movements. The degree in which afterward any individual within the communion of the English Church was prompted to pursue what he regarded as the work of reformation, whether he were prelate, noble, gentleman, scholar, husbandman, or artisan, and whether it drove him to conformity or to any phase of Puritanism, or even Separatism, depended mainly upon the estimate which he assigned to the Scriptures, whether as the sole or only the co-ordinate authority for the institution and discipline of the Christian Church. The free and devout reading of the Scriptures, when engaging the fresh curiosity and zeal of thoroughly earnest men and women, roused them to an amazed surprise at the enormous discordance between the matter and spirit of the sacred book and the ecclesiastical institutions and discipline under which they had been living,—“the simplicity that was in Christ,” constrasted with the towering corruptions and the monstrous tyranny and thraldom of the Papacy! This first surprise developed into all shades and degrees of protest, resentment, indignation, and almost blinding passion. Those who are conversant with the writings of either class of the Puritans know well with what paramount distinctness and emphasis they use the term, “the Word.” The significance attached to the expression gives us the key to Puritanism. For its most forcible use was when, in a representative championship, it was made to stand in bold antagonism with the term “the Church,” as inclusive of what it carried with it alike under the Roman or the English prelatical system. “The Church,” “the Scriptures,” are the word-symbols of the issue between Conformity and Puritanism. Christ did not leave Scriptures behind him, said one party, but he did leave a Church. Yes, replied the other party; he left apostles who both wrote the Scriptures and planted and administered the Church. The extreme to which the famous “Se-Baptist,” John Smyth, carried this insistency upon the sole authority of the Scriptures, led him to repudiate the use of the English Bible in worship, and to require that the originals in Greek and Hebrew should be substituted.[444] The fundamental distinguishing principle which is common to all the phases of Puritanism, Dissent, and Separatism in the English Church is this,—of giving to the Scriptures sole authority, especially over matters in[228] which the Church claimed control and jurisdiction. There was in the earlier stage of the struggle little, if any, discordance as to doctrine. Discipline and ritual were the matters in controversy. The rule and text of Scripture were to displace canon law and the Church courts. The first representatives of the sect of Baptists resolved, “by the grace of God, not to receive or practise any piece of positive worship which had not precept or example in the Word.”[445] Nor were the Baptists in this respect singular or emphatic beyond any others of the Dissenting company. None of them had any misgiving as to the resources and sole authority of Scripture to furnish them with model, guide, and rule. It is remarkable that in view of the positive and reiterated avowal of this principle by all the Puritans, there should have been in recent times, as there was not in the first era of the controversy, any misapprehension of their frank adoption of it, their resolute standing by it. Archbishop Whately repeatedly marked it as evidence of the inspired wisdom of the New Testament writers, that they do not define the form or pattern of a church institution for government, worship, or discipline. The Puritans, however, believed that those writers did this very thing, and had a purpose in doing it. It was to strike at the very roots of this exclusive Scriptural theory of the Puritans that Hooker wrought out his famous and noble classical production, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. He admitted in this elegant and elaborate work that Scripture furnished the sole rule for doctrine, but argued with consummate ability that it was not such an exclusive and sufficient guide for government or discipline. The apostles did not, he said, fix a rule for their successors. The Church was a divinely instituted society; and, like every society, it had a full prerogative to make laws for its government, ceremonial, and discipline. He argued that a true Church polity must be taken not only from what the Scriptures affirm distinctly, but also “from what the general rules and principles of Scripture potentially contain.” Starting with his grand basis of the sanctity and majesty of Law, as founded in natural order, he insisted that the Church should establish such order in laws, rites, and ceremonies within its fold, and that all who have been baptized into it are bound to conform to its ecclesiastical laws. He would not concede to the Puritans their position of denial, but he insisted that Episcopacy was of apostolic institution. He was, however, at fault in affirming that the Puritans admitted that they could not find all the parts of the discipline which they stood for in the Scriptures. Dean Stanley comes nearer to the truth, in what is for him a sharp judgment, when he writes: “The Puritan idea that there was a Biblical counterpart to every—the most trivial—incident or institution of modern ecclesiastical life, has met with an unsparing criticism from the hand of Hooker.”[446] Indeed, it was keenly argued as against these Puritan sticklers for adhesion to Scripture rule and model, that they by no means conformed rigidly to the pattern, as they dropped from observance[229] such matters as a community of goods, the love feast, the kiss of peace, the Lord’s Supper in upper chambers, and baptism by immersion.

It is, in fact, to this attempt of all Nonconformists to make the Scriptures the sole and rigid guide alike in Church discipline as in doctrine, that we are to trace their divergencies and dissensions among themselves, their heated controversies, their discordant factions, their constant parting up of their small conventicles into smaller ones, even of only two or three members, and the real origin of all modern sects. This was the common experience of such Dissenters from the Church, alike in England before their exile and then in all the places of their exile,—Holland, Frankfort, Geneva, and elsewhere. It could not but follow on their keen, acute, and concentrated searching and scanning of every sentence and word of Scripture as bearing upon their contest with prelacy, that they should be led beyond matters of mere discipline into those of doctrine. A very small point was enough to open a new issue. It is vexing to the spirit, while winning sometimes our admiration for the intense and awful sincerity of the self-inflicting victims of their own scruples, magnified into compunctions of conscience, to trace the quarrels and leave-takings of those poor exiles on the Continent, struggling in toil and sacrifice for a bare subsistence, but finding compensation if not solace in their endless and ever-sharpening altercations. But while all this saddens and oppresses us, we have to allow that it was natural and inevitable. The Bible, the Holy Scriptures, will never henceforward to any generation, in any part of the globe, be, or stand for, to individuals or groups of men and women, what it was to the early English Puritans. To it was intrusted all the honor, reverence, obedience, and transcendent responsibility in the life, the hope, and the salvation of men, which had but recently been given, in awe and dread, to a now dishonored and repudiated Church, against which scorn and contempt and hate could hardly enough embitter reproach and invective. With that Book in hand, men and women, than whom there have never lived those more earnest and sincere, sat down in absorbed soul-devotion, to exercise their own thinking on the highest subjects, to decide each for himself what he could make of it. Those who have lived under a democracy, or a full civil, mental, and religious freedom like our own, well know the crudity, the perversity, the persistency, the conceits and idiosyncrasies into which individualism will run on civil, social, and political matters of private and public interest. How much more then will all exorbitant and eccentric, as well as all ingenious and rational, manifestations of like sort present themselves, when, instead of dealing with ballots, fashions, and social issues, men and women take in hand a book which, so to speak, they have just seized out of a descending cloud, as from the very hand of God. It was easy to claim the right of private judgment; but to learn how wisely to use it was quite a different matter. It was, however, in those earnest, keen studies, those brooding musings, those searching and subtle processes of speculation and dialectic argument engaged upon the Bible and upon institutional religion, that the wit, the wisdom, the logic,[230] and the vigor of the understanding powers of people of the English race were sharpened to an edge and a toughness known elsewhere in no other. The aim of Prelatists, Conformists, and clerical and civil magistrates in religion, to bring all into a common belief and ritual, was hopeless from the start. It made no allowance for the rooted varieties and divergencies in nature, taste, sensibility, judgment, and conscience in individuals who were anything more than animated clods. How was it possible for one born and furnished in the inner man to be a Quaker, to be manufactured into a Churchman? It soon became very evident that bringing such a people as the English into accord in belief and observance under a hierarchical and parochial system would be no work of dictation or persuasion, but would require authority, force, penalties touching spiritual, mental, and bodily freedom, and resorting to fines, violence, and prisons.

The consumptive boy-king, Edward VI., dying when sixteen years of age, through his advisers, advanced the Reformation in some of its details beyond the stage at which it was left by his father, and put the work in the direction of further progress. But “Bloody Mary,” with her spectral Spanish consort, Philip II., overset what had by no means become a Protestant realm, and made it over to cardinal and pope. Nearly three hundred martyrs, including an archbishop and four bishops, perished at the stake, besides the uncounted victims in the dungeons. No one had suffered to the death for religion in the preceding reign. After her accession, Elizabeth stiffly held back from accepting even that stage of reform reached by Edward. In the Convocation of 1562, only a single vote, on a division, withstood the proposal to clear the ritual of nearly every ceremony objectionable to the Puritans. The two statutes of supremacy and uniformity, passed in the first year of the reign of Elizabeth, brought the English Church under that subjection to the temporal or civil jurisdiction which has continued to this day. The firmness, not to say the obstinacy, with which the Queen stood for her prerogative in this matter has been entailed upon Parliament; and the ecclesiastical Convocation has in vain struggled to assert independency of it. Elizabeth exhibited about an equal measure of zeal against Catholics and Puritans. She frankly gave out her resolution that if she should marry a Catholic prince, she should not allow him a private chapel in her palace. About two hundred Catholics suffered death in her reign.

An important episode in the development of Puritanism and Separatism in the English Church brings to our notice the share which different parties came to have in both those forms of dissent during a period of temporary exile on the Continent in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Mary, and afterward of Elizabeth. The results reached by the two classes of those exiles were manifested respectively in the colonization, first by Separatists, at Plymouth, and next by Nonconformists in the Massachusetts Bay, and by other New England colonists.

In the thirty-first year of Henry’s reign, 1539, while the monarch was[231] vacillating between the old religion and the new, was enacted what was called “The Bloody Statute.” This was of “six articles.” These articles enforced the dogmas of Transubstantiation, of Communion in One Element, of the Celibacy of the Clergy, of the Vows of Chastity, of Private Masses, and of Auricular Confession. An infraction of these articles in act or speech or writing was to be punished either by burning, as heresy, or by execution, as felony. The articles were to be publicly read by all the clergy quarterly. To escape the operation of this statute, many of the clergy went to Geneva. Returning on the accession of Edward, they had to exile themselves again when Mary came to the throne, to venture home once more under Elizabeth, in 1559. As early as 1528, there had been a small but earnest religious fellowship of devout scholars in Cambridge, meeting for exercises of prayer and reading. Three of its members—Bilney, Latimer, and Bradford—were burned under Mary. Afterward Travers and Cartwright, both of them men of eminent ability and religious fervor, had found refuge in Geneva; and to them, on their return, is to be ascribed the strength and prevalence of the spirit of Puritanism in Cambridge. The fact that so many men of parts and scholarship and distinguished position were thus principal agents in the first working of Puritanism, should qualify the common notion that Nonconformity in England had its rise through obscure and ordinary men. Some of the most eminent Puritans, and even Separatists, were noted university men and scholars,—like Cartwright, Perkins, Ames, Bradshaw, and Jacob, the last being of Oxford. Robinson, the pastor at Leyden, has been pronounced to have been among the first men of his time in learning and comprehensiveness of mind.[447] It was really in the churches of the English exiles in Holland that the ultimate principles of Independency and Congregationalism were wrought out, to be asserted and so manfully stood for both in Old and in New England. Indeed, the essential principles of largest toleration and of equality, save in civil functions, had been established in Holland in 1572, before the coming of the English exiles. Almost as real as ideal was the recognition there of the one all-comprehensive church represented by a multitude of independent elements. Greenwood and his fellow-student at Cambridge,—Barrow, a layman,—joined the Separatists in 1586. The Separatists in England might well, as they did, complain to King James that he did not allow the same liberty to them, his own subjects, as was enjoyed by the French and Walloon churches in London and elsewhere in England.

On the accession of Queen Mary, who was crowned in 1553, more than eight hundred of the English Reformers took refuge on the Continent. Among them were five bishops, five deans, four archdeacons, fifty doctors of divinity and famous preachers, with nobles, merchants, traders, mechanics, etc. Among the “sundrie godly men” who went to Frankfort, the Lutheran system gained much influence. Those who found a refuge[232] in Zurich and Geneva were more affected towards the Calvinistic. Soon after a flourishing and harmonious church, with the favor of the magistrates, had been established at Frankfort, dissension about matters of discipline and the use of the Prayer-book of King Edward VI., with or without a revision, was opened by some new-comers. The advice of Knox, Calvin, and others, which was asked, did not prevent an acrimonious strife, which ended in division.[448] Carrying back their differences to England, we find them contributing to deepen the alienation and the variances between Conformists, Nonconformists, and Separatists. The intimacy and sympathy with Reformers on the Continent naturally induced the exiles, even the English bishops who had been among them, to lay but little stress on the exclusive prerogatives of Episcopacy, including the theory of Apostolic Succession.

The English bishops who were most earnest in the early measures of reform,—such as Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer,—realizing that in the minds of the common people the strong ties of association connected with the emblems, forms, and vestments of the repudiated Church of Rome would encourage lingering superstitions in their continued use, would have had them wholly set aside. Especially would they have had substituted in the chancels of churches tables instead of altars, as the latter would always be identified with the Mass. The people also associated the validity of clerical administrations with priestly garments. The starting point of the Puritan agitation and protest as to these matters may well be found, therefore, in the refusal of Dr. Hooper to wear the clerical vestments for his consecration as Bishop of Gloucester in 1550. Having exiled himself at Zurich during the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII., Hooper had become more thoroughly imbued with Reforming principles, and withstood the compromising compliances which some of the Continental Reformers yielded. Even Ridley insisted upon his putting on the vestments for his consecration; and after being imprisoned for his recusancy, he was forced to a partial concession. This matter of habits, tippets, caps, etc., may be viewed either as a bugbear, or as representative of a very serious principle.

In an early stage of the Puritan movement as working in the progress of the Reformation in England, it thus appeared that what, as represented in men and principles, might be called a third party, was to assert itself. As the event proved, in the struggle for the years following, and in the accomplished result still triumphant, this third party was to hold the balance of power. There was a general accord in dispensing with the Pope, renouncing his sway, and retaining within the realm the exercise of all ecclesiastical[233] jurisdiction. A Romanizing party was still in strength, with its hopes temporarily reviving, its agencies, open and secret, on the alert, and its threats bold, if opportunity should favor the execution of them. This Romanizing faction may represent one extreme; the Puritans may represent another. A third, and for a considerable space of time weaker, as already stated, than either of them, intervened, to win at last the victory. In ridding themselves of Rome, the Puritans aimed to rid the Church of everything that had come into it from that source,—hierarchy, ceremonial, superstition, discipline, and assumption of ecclesiastical prerogative,—reducing the whole Church fabric to what they called gospel simplicity in rule and order; the apostolic model. This, as we have noticed, was to be sought full, sufficient, and authoritative in the Scriptures. But neither of the Reforming monarchs, nor the majority of the prelates successively exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction, were prepared for this reversion to so-called first principles. They would not allow the sufficiency nor the sole authority of the Scriptural model; nor would they admit that all that was wrought into the hierarchy, the ceremonial, the institution, and the discipline of the English Church came into it through Popery, and had the taint or blemish of Popery. The English Church now represents the principles then argued out, maintained, and adopted. It followed a principle of selection, sometimes called compromise, to some seeming arbitrary, to others reasonable and right. It proceeded upon the recognition of an interval between the close of the ministry of the apostles and the rise of the Papacy, with its superstitious innovations and impositions, during which certain principles and usages in the government and ceremonial of the Church came into observance. Though these might not have the express warrant of Scripture, they were in nowise inconsistent with Scripture. They might claim to have the real warrant and approval of the apostles, because they were “primitive,” and might even be regarded as essential, as Hooker so earnestly tried to show, to the good order, dignity, and efficiency of the Church of Christ. With exceeding ability did the Puritan and the Church parties deal with this vital issue. The Puritans brought to it no less of keen acumen, learning, and logic than did their opponents. They thoroughly comprehended what the controversy involved. When, fifty years ago, substantially the same issue was under vigorous discussion in the Oxford or Tractarian agitation, so far were the “Puseyites,” so-called, from bringing into it any new matter, that the old arsenal was drawn upon largely for fresh use.

The Puritans held loyally to the fundamental position asserted by their sturdy champion. Cartwright, in his Admonition, etc.,—“The discipline of Christ’s Church that is necessary for all time is delivered by Christ, and set down in the Holy Scripture.” The objection, fatal in the eyes of the Puritans, to receiving, as authoritative, customs and vouchers of the so-called “Primitive” Church and of the Fathers, was that it compelled to the practice[234] of a sort of eclecticism in choosing or rejecting, by individual preference or judgment, out of that mass of heterogeneous gathering which Milton scornfully described as “the drag-net of antiquity.” Though the pleaders on both sides of the controversy succeeded in showing that “patristic” authority, and the usages and institutions which might be traced out and verified in the dim past, were by no means in accord or harmony as to what was “primitive,” both parties seem to have consented to hide, gloss over, or palliate very much of the crudity, folly, superstition, conceit, and discordancy so abounding in the writings of the Fathers. Nothing could be more positive than the teaching of St. Augustine,—not drawn from the New Testament, in which the rite was for adults, but from the then universal practice of the Church,—that baptism was to be for infants, and by immersion. That Father taught that an unbaptized infant is forever lost; and that, besides baptism, the infant’s salvation depends upon its receiving the Eucharist. Yet this has not hindered but that the vast majority of Christians, Roman Catholic and Protestant, save a single sect, administer the rite by sprinkling infants. How, too, could the Prelatists approve a quotation from Tertullian:[449] “Where there are only three, and they laics, there is a church”?

In consistency with this their vital principle of the sole sufficiency of the Scripture institution and pattern for a church, the work of purification led its resolute asserters to press their protests and demands against not only such superstitions and innovations as could be traced directly to the Roman corruption and innovation, but to a more thorough expurgation. Incident to the rupture with the Papacy, and in the purpose to repel what seemed to be its vengeful and spiteful devices for recovering its sway, there was developed among the most impassioned of the Reformers an intense and scornful hate, a bitter heaping of invectives, objurgations, and all-wrathful epithets against the old Church as simply blasphemous,—the personification of Antichrist. So they were resolute to rid themselves of all “the marks of the Beast.” The scrapings, rags, tatters of Popery, and everything left of such remnants, especially provoked their contempt. Having adopted the conviction that the “Mass” was an idolatrous performance, all its paraphernalia, associated in the minds of the common people with it as a magical rite, the priestly and altar habits, the cap, the tippet, the rochet, etc., were denounced and condemned. The very word “priest,” with all the functionary and mediatorial offices going with it, was repudiated. The New Testament knew only of ministers, pastors, teachers. While, of course, recognizing that the apostles exercised special and peculiar prerogatives in planting the Church, the Puritans maintained that they had no successors in their full authority. The Christian Church assembly they found to be based upon and started from the Synagogue, with its free, popular methods, and not upon the Temple, with its altar, priests, and ritual. It is an interesting and significant fact, that while[235] the Reformation in its ferment was working as if all the elements of Church institution were perfectly free for new combinations, the edition of the English Bible called Cranmer’s, in 1539, translated the word ecclesia by “congregation,” not “church,”—thus providing for that Puritan principle of the province of the laity. Doctrine, discipline, and ritual, or ceremony, being the natural order in which ecclesiastical affairs should receive regard, there being at first an accord among the Reformers as to doctrine, the other essentials engrossed all minds. The equality of the ministers of religion, all of whom were brethren, with no longer a master upon earth, struck at the very roots of all hierarchical order. What would have been simply natural in the objections of the Puritans when they saw that Rome was to leave the prelatical element of its system fastened upon the realm, was intensified by the assumption of dangerous and, as they believed, unchristian and unscriptural power and sway by a class of the clergy of lordly rank exercising functions in Church and State, and taking titles from their baronial tenure of land. These lordly prelates had recently been filling some of the highest administrative and executive offices under the Crown, and holding places in diplomacy. In an early stage of the Reformation, the mitred abbots had been dropped out of the upper house of Parliament. While they were in it, they, with the twenty-one “Lord Bishops,” preponderated over the temporal peers. As their exclusion weakened the ecclesiastical power in the government, the prelates who remained seemed to believe and to act as if it fell to them to represent and exercise the full prerogative of sway which had belonged to the old hierarchy. Very marked is the new phase assumed by the spirit and course of the Nonconformists under this changed aspect of the controversy. The Puritans had begun by objecting and protesting against certain usages; they now set themselves resolutely against the authority of those who enforced such usages. To a great extent, the Roman Catholic prelates on those parts of the Continent where the Reformation established itself, deserted their sees. This left the way clear in those places for a church polity independent of prelacy. The retention of their sees and functions by the English bishops, and the addition to their number by the consecration of others as selected by the Crown, thus made the struggle which the Puritans maintained in England quite unlike that of their sympathizers on the Continent. The issue thus raised on the single question of the Divine right and the apostolic authority and succession of bishops was continuously in agitation through the whole contention maintained by Dissenters. In other elements of it, the controversy exhibited changing phases, as the process of the reform seemed at intervals to be advanced or impeded, while the kingdom, as we have noted, was pulsating between the old and the new régime,—as Henry VIII. and his three children, in their succession to his throne, sought to modify, to arrest, or to limit it. The distribution among the people of the Scriptures in the English tongue was favored and brought about by[236] Thomas Cromwell and Cranmer. The privilege, however, was soon revoked, as the people were thus helped to take the matter of religion into their own hands. The mother tongue was first used in worship with the translated litany in 1542, which was revised in 1549. The new prayer-book, canons, and homilies were brought into use. It was by royal authority, and not either by Convocation or Parliament, that the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion were imposed. On Elizabeth’s accession there were nine thousand four hundred priests in England. About two hundred of these abandoned their posts rather than comply with the conditions exacted by the stage in innovation already reached. The more pronounced champions of the Church of England are earnest in pleading that the rupture with Rome was not the act of the King, but of what might be called the Church itself. The as yet unreformed bishops, we are told, had in Convocation, in 1531, denied the Papal supremacy; then Parliament, the universities, the cathedral bodies, and the monastic societies had confirmed the denial. But on all these points there are still open and contested questions of fact and argument not requiring discussion here.

Another radical question concerned the rights and province of the laity in all that entered into the institutional part of religion, and the oversight and administration of discipline in religious assemblies. There certainly could be no complaint that lay or civil power as represented by the monarch had not exhibited sufficient potency in fettering the ecclesiastical or clerical usurpation. An already quoted Act in the twenty-sixth year of Henry’s reign affirmed that “whatsoever his Majesty should enjoin in matters of religion should be obeyed by all his subjects.” The Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity in the first year of Elizabeth made the Church subordinate to, and dependent upon, the civil power. Thus ecclesiastical authority was restrained by the prerogative of the Crown, while ceremonial and discipline, as approved by the monarch, were left at the dictation of Parliament.

But this substitution of the lay power as represented by King or Queen and the Houses of Parliament for the Papal sway, by no means satisfied the Puritan idea and conviction as to the rightful claims of the laity in their membership of the reconstructed Church. Barrow described in the following sharp sentence the summary way of proceeding so far as the laity were concerned: “All these people, with all their manners, were in one day, with the blast of Queen Elizabeth’s trumpet, of ignorant Papists and gross idolaters, made faithful Christians and true professors.” It was said that the people, divided and classed in local territorial parishes, were there treated like sheep in folds. Illiterate, debauched, incompetent, “dumb” ministers or priests assumed the pastorate in a most promiscuous way over these flocks. Membership in the Church came through infancy in baptism. The Puritans wished to sort out the draught of the Gospel net, which gathered of every kind. They claimed that the laity should themselves be parties[237] in the administration of religion, in testing and approving discipline. They believed, too, that ministers should be supported by their congregations, and that the tithes and the landed privileges of the clergy were bribes and lures to them, making them independent and autocratical. Church lands and endowments, they insisted, should be sequestered, as had been the abbeys, nunneries, and monasteries. As soon as Separatist assemblies were associated in England or among the exiles on the Continent, altercations and divisions occurred among them as to the functions and the powers of the eldership, the responsibility and the authority of pastor and covenanted members in discipline.

Our space will admit here of only a brief recognition, conformed however to its slight intrinsic importance, of an element entering into the Puritan agitation, which at the time introduced into it a glow of excitement and a marvellously effective engagement of popular sympathy. The controversy between the Puritans and the Prelatists had in the main been pursued, however passionately, yet in a most grave and serious spirit, with a profound sense of the dignity and solemnity of its themes and interests. But from the time and occasion when Aristophanes tossed the grotesque trifling of his Clouds around the sage and lofty Socrates, down to this day, when Mr. Punch finds a weekly condiment of mischief and fun for the people of England in their own doings and in their treatment by their governors, it would seem as if no subject of human interest, however exalted its moment, could escape the test of satire, sarcasm, and caricature. Experimental ventures of this sort are naturally ephemeral, but they concentrate their venom or their disdain upon their shrinking victims. Some of Ben Jonson’s plays and Butler’s Hudibras have now alone a currency, and that a by no means extended one, out of a vast mass of the printed ridicule which was turned upon the Puritans. But the matter now in hand is the skill and jollity with which one or more Puritans, with the gift of the comic in his stern make-up, plied that keen blade in his own cause. Erasmus, though he never broke from the communion of the Papal Church, engaged the most stinging power of satire and sarcasm, not only against mean and humble monks, but against all the ranks of the hierarchy, not sparing the loftiest. Helped out with Holbein’s cuts, Erasmus’s Encomium of Folly drew roars of mirth and glee from those who winced under its mocking exposures. Even the grave Beza, in Geneva, tried his hand in this trifling. But the venture of this sort which cunningly and adroitly intruded itself at a peculiarly critical phase of the Puritan agitation, was of the most daring and rasping character. Under the happily chosen pseudonym of “Martin Mar-Prelate,” there appeared in rapid succession, during seven months of the years 1588 and 1589, the same number of little, rudely printed tracts, the products of ambulatory presses, which engaged the full power of satire, caricature, and sarcasm, with fun and rollicking, invective and bitter reproach and exposure against the hierarchy, especially against four of the most odious of the bishops. The daring spirit of these productions was[238] well matched by the devices of caution and secrecy under which they were put in print, and in the sly methods by which they were circulated, to be caught up, concealed, and revelled over by thousands who would find keen enjoyment in them, as in the partaking of the sweets of stolen food and waters. They may be said to have stopped only at the very edge of ribaldry, indecency, and even blasphemy. But they were free and trenchant, coarse and virulent. As such, they testify to the smart under the provocation of which they were written, and to the scorn and contempt entertained for the men and measures to which were committed for the time the transcendent interests of religion and piety. The more dignified and serious of the Puritans, like Greenham and Cartwright, frowned upon and repudiated these weapons of bitter gibe and contumely. But there was a constituency from which they received the heartiest welcome, and, as is usual in such cases, their circulation and efficiency were vastly multiplied by equally bitter and malignant replies to them from the pens or from the instigation of bishops. The whole detective force of the kingdom was put on the search for the writers and the printers. So adroit and cunning was the secret of their authorship and production at the time, that up to this day it has not been positively disclosed. Never has the investigation been so keenly or intelligently pressed for clearing the mystery investing the Martin Mar-Prelate tracts as by the indefatigable researches and the sharpened inquisition of Dr. Dexter. In his Congregationalism he gives his readers an exhaustive sketch and summary, in detail and analysis, of all the facts and documents. His conclusion, which cannot be hopefully contested or invalidated, is that they were written by Barrow, a prisoner in the Fleet, and carried through the press by the agency of Penry. There is abundant evidence in the appearance, publication, and circulation of tracts known to have come from the hands of imprisoned Puritans, that the bars of jails and dungeons offered no sufficient barriers to prevent the secret intercourse and interchange of intelligence between those whom they enclosed and friends outside, who dared all risks in their zeal and fidelity.

We must now close this narration of the issues raised in the Puritan controversy, whether by Nonconformists in the Church or by Separatists withdrawing from it, that we may note the concentration of forces and witnesses which were drawn together in assemblies or fellowships prepared in Old England to transfer and establish their principles in New England. Many of the clergy whose views and sympathies were warmly engaged in the further work of reform and purification within the Church, and who at the same time were moderate and conciliatory in their spirit, contrived to remain in their parochial fields, perhaps in this way accomplishing the most for all that was reasonable and good in the cause which they had at heart. When occasionally molested or challenged, they might contrive to make their peace. But the crisis and its demands called—as has always been the[239] case in such intense agitations of religious passions—for patient, steadfast, and resolute witnesses in suffering, for those who should be hounded and tracked by judicial processes, who should be deprived of subsistence and liberty, and be ready not only for being hidden away in prisons or exiled beyond the seas, but for public execution as martyrs. The emergency of time and occasion found such as these; and it was of such as these that there were men and women in training for wilderness work on this soil. And the combination of materials and persons was precisely such as would meet the exactions of such an enterprise. There were university men, scholars, doctors in divinity, practised disputants in their cherished lore, and with gifts of zeal, fervor, and tender eloquence in discourse and prayer. There were gentry likewise,—men and women lifted in the social scale, with furnishings of mind and worldly goods. To these were joined, in a fellowship which equalized many distinctions, yeomen, small traders, artisans, and some of every place and grade, save the low or mean or reckless, in the make-up of the population of the realm. Governor Bradford says that the first Separatist or Independent Church in England was that of which John Rough, the minister, and Cuthbert Symson, the deacon, were burned alive by Bonner, in the reign of Queen Mary. The laborious and faithful pages of Dr. Dexter, in his Congregationalism, must be closely studied for the results of the marvellous diligence and keen research by which he has traced every vestige, memorial, and testimony that can throw light on the little assemblies of those outlawed Puritans. It is a curious and engaging occupation in our peaceful and lethargic times of religious ease, to scan the make-up, the spirit, and methods of those humble assemblies in their lurking-places, private houses, barns, or the open fields, frequently changing their appointments under risks from spies and tipstaves, with their secret code of signals for communicating intelligence. Their religious exercises were of the intensest earnestness, and above all things stimulating. Their conferences about order and discipline bristled with individualisms and scruples. Many of these assemblies might soon resolve themselves into constituencies of single members. There was scarce one of those assemblies, either in England or in exile on the Continent, that did not part into two or three. There was a stern necessity which compelled variance and dissension among the members. They had in hand the Bible, and each was trying what he could draw out of it, as an oracle and a rule. They had to devise, discuss, and if possible agree upon and enforce ways of church order and discipline, a form of worship, rules of initiation into church membership, of suspension, expulsion, and restoration. It was brain work, heart work, and soul work with them. It would be difficult to reduce to any exact statements the numbers of persons, or even of what may in a loose sense be called assemblies, of Nonconformists or Separatists who remained in England, or who were in refuge on the Continent at the period just preceding the colonization of New England. What was called the Millenary Petition, which was presented to James I.,[240] as he came in from Scotland, was claimed to represent at least eight hundred Nonconforming ministers.

The way is now open for connecting the principles and fortunes of the earnest and proscribed class of religious men, whose course has been thus traced in England and Holland, with the enterprise of colonization in New England. It is but reasonable to suppose that, dating from the time and the incident referred to in the opening of this chapter, such an enterprise was latent in conception or desire in the thoughts of many as a possible alternative for the near future. A resolve or purpose or effort of such a nature as this involves much brooding over by individuals, much private communing, balancing of circumstances, conditions, gains, and losses, and an estimate of means and resources, with an eye towards allowance by a governmental or noble patronage, or at least to security in the venture. We have but fragmentary and scattered information as to all these preliminaries to the emigration. We must trace them backward from the completion to the initiation of the enterprise.

And here is the point at which we should define to ourselves, as intelligently and fairly as we can from our abounding authentic sources of information, precisely what was the influence or agency of religion in the first emigration to New England. We are familiar with the oft-reiterated and positive statement, that the enterprise would neither have been undertaken, nor persisted in, nor led on to success, had not religion furnished its mainspring, its guiding motive, and the end aimed at, to be in degree realized.

We may safely commit ourselves to these assertions, that religion was the master-motive and object of the most earnest and ablest leaders of the emigration; that they felt this motive more deeply and with more of singleness of purpose than they always avowed, as their circumstances compelled them to take into view sublunary objects of trade and subsistence which would engage to them needful help and resources; and that some of these secondary objects very soon qualified and impaired the paramount importance of the primary one. I am led to make this allowance of exception as to the occasional reserve in the avowal of an exclusively religious motive, because of a fact which must impress the careful student of their history and fortunes for the first hundred years. That fact is, that in multitudes of occasional utterances, sermons, journals, and historical sketches, many of the descendants of the first comers laid more exclusive and emphatic stress upon the prime agency of religion in the enterprise than did the first movers in it. When ministers and magistrates in after years uttered their frequent and sombre laments over the degeneracy of the times, the decay of zeal and godliness, and the falling from the first love, the refrain always was found in extolling the one, single, supreme aim of the fathers as that of pure piety. The pages of Cotton Mather’s Magnalia and of his tracts of memorial, rebuke, and exhortation, and the Century Sermon of Foxcroft, minister of the First Church, are specimens of masses of such matter in our[241] old cabinets pitched in that tone. Nor need we conclude that, as a general rule, the most fervent of those laments or the most positive of those statements were exaggerated. Only what such writers and speakers recognized as the degeneracy of their own later times, must be traced to seeds and agencies which came in with the most select fellowship of the fathers themselves. We cannot go so far as to claim that the whole aim, the all-including purpose of every member, or of even of a majority of the colonists, was religion, after the pattern of that of the leaders, or of any style of religion. But we have to conclude that the smaller the number of those among whom we concentrate the religious fervor in its supreme sway, the more intensified must have been its power to have enabled them, as it did, to give direction to the whole enterprise. And this was not only true at the first, but proportionately so as the original centre of that enterprise for a long period sent off its radii successively to new settlements in the woods. There were always found men and women enough to copy the original pattern and to keep the motive force in action. Sir Henry Maine does not state the whole of the truth when he writes thus: “The earliest English emigrants to North America, who belonged principally to the class of yeomanry, organized themselves in village communities for purposes of cultivation.”[450]

The stream of exile to New England in the interest of religion was first parted into one small and one large rill, which, however, soon flowed together and assimilated, as it appeared that they started substantially from the same source, with similar elements, and found more that was congenial than discordant in their qualities. The company of exiles whom residence in Holland, with its attendant influences and results, had confirmed and stiffened in their original principles of rigid Separatism, had the start by nearly a decade of years in transferring themselves to Plymouth. Their fortunes are traced in the next chapter.

The colonists in Massachusetts Bay, and those who, in substantial accord with them, struck into several other settlements in the wilderness of New England, were mainly those who in the land of their birth had remained steadfast to their principles of Nonconformity, and who had borne the penalties of them when avowed and put in practice. They had not turned in disdain and temper from the institution which they called their “mother church.” Their divided relation to it they regarded as rather caused by such harsh conditions as excluded them from its privileges than by any wilfulness or hostility of their own. They professed that they still clung to its breast, and wished to be nourished from it. It was not strange, however, that partial alienation should, under favoring opportunities, widen and stiffen into seeming antagonism to it. They regarded themselves as having been subjected to pains and penalties because of their protest against objectionable and harmful, as well as unscriptural, exactions in its discipline and ceremonial. So they were[242] content to be known as Nonconformists, but repelled the charge of being Separatists. They kept alive a lingering tenderness, in a reminder of their early membership and later disturbed affiliation with it. Some few of the sterner spirits among them—and Roger Williams was such, as he appeared here in his youth—demanded a penitential avowal of sin from Winthrop’s company, on account of their having once been in fellowship with the English Church. An agitation also arose upon the question whether the members of the Boston Church, who on visits to the old home occasionally conformed, should not be put under discipline on their return here. Happily the dispute was disposed of by forbearance and charity.

Still, while there was a slight manifestation at first of an antipathy or a jealousy on the part of the Nonconformists at the Bay of being in any way confounded with the Separatists at Plymouth, there never was a breach or even a controversy, beyond that of a friendly discussion, between them; and there is something well-nigh amusing, as well as interesting, in following the quaint narration[451] of the establishment of immediate harmony and accord between their respective church ways. Endicott’s little company at Salem, heralding the great emigration to the Bay, “entered into church estate” in August, 1629, having sought what we should now call the advice, help, and sympathy of their Plymouth brethren. This fellowship was extended through Governor Bradford and other delegates, and the example was afterward followed in like recognition of other churches. The covenanted members of the Salem Church ordained their pastor and teacher, notwithstanding that they had previously been under the hands of a bishop. It soon appeared, however, that the church was to be emphatically Nonconformist. Two brothers Brown, at Salem, set up separate worship by the Common Prayer. On being “convented” before the Governor, his Council and the ministers, and accusing the church of Separatism, they were told that the members did not wish to be Separatists, but were simply Nonconformists with the corruptions of the Church; and that having suffered much for their principles, and being now in a free place, they were determined to be rid of Common Prayer and ceremonial.[452]

The First Boston Church, in 1630, was organized under its covenant, with its appointed and ordained teacher, ruling elder, and deacons. In ten years after the landing at Plymouth there were five churches after this pattern, and in twenty years thirty-five, in New England.

This instantaneous abandonment, as it may be called, of everything in the institution of a church, followed by an immediate disuse of everything in ceremonial and worship in the English usage which the Nonconformists had scrupled at home, is of itself very suggestive, even in the first aspect of it. Followed into detail, it presents some surprises and very rich instruction. In full result, it exhibits to us principles and institutions in the highest interests of religion, in civil, social, and domestic life, which had been repudiated[243] and put under severe penalties in England, crossing the ocean to plant themselves in a wilderness for the training and guidance of successive generations of men and women in freedom, virtue, piety, worldly thrift, and every form of prosperity. There must have been nobleness in those principles, as well as in the men and women who suffered for them, put them on trial, and led them to triumph.

The work of preference, of conviction and conscience, had been wrought in behalf of those principles, in old English homes and byways, in humble conventicles, in fireside and wayside musings and conferences. Enough persons had been brought to be of one mind, purpose, and resolve, in the spirit of a determined heroism, to make a beginning of such a sort that it would be more than half of the accomplished work. There may have been debates, warm variances, hesitations, and conciliatory methods used among those who entered into covenant as the First Church of Boston. If there were such, we know nothing of them. There is no surviving record or intimation of them. The pattern and model which the exiled colonists followed, needed no study or shaping on the wilderness soil. It was an old-home product. What might seem to be extemporized work was prepared work. It was as if they had brought over timbers cut in their native woods all framed and matched for setting up in their transferred home. Their initiated teachers had been ordained by Episcopal hands. But this was neither help nor hindrance. When they needed more and new ones, they had a method of qualifying them. Surplice, tippet, cap, rochet, and prayer-book are not missed or mourned over. Simply not a word is said about them. The fabric which they set up was of a new and peculiar style. No! They would not have owned it to be new; they regarded it as the oldest, because the original,—that which was established by the first generation of the disciples of Jesus Christ.

One hundred university men from the grand old nooks and shrines of consecrated learning in Old England were the medium for the “Gospel work” in New England, till it could supply its needs from its own well-provided resources. But there was not a prelate among them. English magistrates of various grades and authority, governors, judges, spies, collectors, and commissionaries were here to represent the mother country, till she became so stingy that we were forced to wean ourselves from her; but never did an English bishop as a functionary set foot on the soil of what is now the territory of the United States. And when after our Revolution the virtue which comes from episcopal hands was communicated to the possessors of it here, it had parted with what was most offensive or objectionable in its claim or efficacy to the Old and the New English Puritans. Town and rural parishes, colleges and schools, had the faithful services of that hundred of university men. For a long time, the books that were imported here were almost exclusively the Puritan literature of the old home, and had a perceptible influence in stiffening, rather than relaxing, the stern spirit of Dissent, and throwing new vitality into the hard work which it had to do in[244] the wilderness. One consideration of the highest practical weight is presented to us in the fact that the Puritanism of New England originated and fostered the free and radically working instrumentalities and forces which neutralized its own errors, restrained its own bigotry and severity, and compelled it to develop from its own best elements something better than itself. There were other plantations on this virgin soil, of which religion was in no sense the master-impulse, and others still in which the mother church sought to direct the movement. New England was never affected for evil or for good by them. But if over the whole land, in radiations or percolations of influence, the leaven of any one section of the country has wrought in the whole of it, it is that of the New England Puritanism.


THE original authorities and sources of information, in manuscript and print, relating to the agitations and controversies arising within the real or assumed membership of the Church of England after the Reformation, are to be distinguished into two great classes,—those of a public character, as records of the proceedings of government, of the courts, and of all bodies or individuals in office charged with authority; and those of a private nature, coming from voluntary bodies, or from single members of them, or from writers and authors whose works were published after the usual method, or sent forth and circulated surreptitiously. Both these classes of original authorities, constituting together an enormous mass of an infinitely varied elementary composition, are alike widely scattered, and, so far as they have not been gathered into local repositories, could be directly consulted only by one whose travel, investigation, and research were of the most extended comprehensiveness. England, Holland, and Switzerland have in keeping contemporary records and documents relating to minute and trivial, or to most important and vital, points in one or another stage, or concerning one or another prime party in the controversy. Perhaps, even after all the keen investigation and diligent toil of the most recent inquisitors, such original papers have not been exhaustively detected and examined. But one who is familiar with the stores already reported to us, unless his taste and interest in them run to morbidness, will hardly desire more of them. It is certain that whatever obscurity may still invest any incidental point in the controversy, the matter is of such comparatively slight importance, that the substance and details of any information as to persons or events which may be lacking to us would hardly qualify the general narratives of history.

The expense, diligence, and intelligent illustration which within the last thirty or forty years have been devoted to the collection and arrangement and calendaring of such masses of the State and other public papers of Great Britain, have aided as well as prompted the researches of those who have been zealous to trace out with fidelity and accuracy every stage, and the character and course of each one, lofty or obscure, as an actor in the larger and the lesser bearings of the struggle of Nonconformity and Dissent. As a general statement, it may be affirmed that the developments and the more full and minute information concerning the substance and phases of early Puritanism, as they have been studied in the mass of accumulated documents, have set forth the controversy in a dignity of interest and in a disclosure of its vital relations to all theories of civil government, church establishments,[245] and the institutional administration of religion, far more fully and in a much more comprehensive view than was recognized by contemporary actors.

There are two extensive and exceedingly rich collections of tracts, books, and manuscript documents of a most varied character well-preserved and easily accessible in London, which furnish well-nigh inexhaustible materials for the study of the Puritan, the Nonconformist, and the Separatist movements in all their phases. One of these is in the British Museum, the other in Dr. Williams’s Library. In the times with which we are now concerned, the motive, perhaps but vaguely comprehended by himself, which led George Thomason to gather his marvellous collection, now in the British Museum, would have been called a providential prompting. He was a modest man in private life, and, so far as we know, took no part in public agitations. As a Royalist bookseller, at “The Rose and Crown, in St. Paul’s Churchyard,” he had opportunities favoring him in the scheme which he undertook. It was in 1641 that he began a laborious enterprise, and one not without very serious risks to himself, which he continued to pursue till just before his death in 1666. This was to gather up, preserve, and bind in volumes,—though without any system or order of arrangement except chronological,—a copy of each of the publications in tract, or pamphlet, or fly-leaf form which appeared from the press, licensed or surreptitiously printed, during a period teeming with the issue, like the dropping of forest leaves, of a most extraordinary series of ephemeral works, quickened with all the vitality of those times. Though he began his collection in 1641, he anticipated that date by gathering similar publications previous to it. He copied during Cromwell’s time nearly a hundred manuscripts, mainly “on the King’s side, which no man durst venture to publish here without the danger of his ruin.” He took pains to write upon most of the publications the date of its appearance, and when anonymous, the name of its author if he could ascertain it. Besides the risks of fire and the burden of such a mass of materials filling his house from cellar to garret, this zealous collector exposed himself to severe penalties from the authorities on either side of the great civil and religious conflict. He was compelled once at least to remove his collection to a safe hiding-place. It fills now 2,220 volumes, and counts to 34,000 separate publications, from folio downward. It is difficult to say what may not be found there, and nearly as difficult to find exactly what one wishes. After various exposures through which the collection passed safely, it now rests in the British Museum, under the general title of the “King’s Pamphlets,” having been purchased and presented by King George III. in 1762, at a cost of £300. A mine of most curious matter is there ready for search on every subject, serious or comic, sacred or secular, illustrative of high and low life during the period. Probably the two most zealous delvers in that mine for its best uses have been Professor Masson, for the purpose of The Life of John Milton: narrated in connexion with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of his Time, in six volumes; and Dr. H. M. Dexter, in his Congregationalism of the Last Three Hundred Years, etc. Both authors have turned these pamphlets to the best account in clearing obscurities or filling gaps in the history or writings of men prominent in the cause of Nonconformity.

The other comprehensive and extensive collection of pamphlets, volumes, and original papers for illustrating the whole history of Puritanism and Dissent, is in what is known as Dr. Williams’s Library, in London. Dr. Daniel Williams, an eminent Presbyterian divine, possessed of means, had purchased the library of the famous Dr. William Bates. Adding to it from his own resources, he founded in 1716 the library which bears his name, committing it, with a sum of money for a building (to which additions were made by a subscription), to the hands of trustees in succession. The library edifice—long standing in Red-Cross Street, now removed to Grafton Street—has been ever since a favorite place for the assembling of meetings and committees in the Dissenting interest (of late years Presbyterians and Unitarians acceding to their trust), for the transaction of business, for preparing addresses to successive sovereigns, and managing their cause in Parliament. Those who in former years have sat in one of the ancient chairs of the library in Red-Cross[246] Street have hardly escaped feeling profoundly the influence of the place and of its associations,—the walls hung with the portraits of venerable divines and scholars learned in all ancient lore; the cabinets filled with laboriously wrought manuscripts, histories, diaries, and letters, some of them dating in the first half of the sixteenth century; the crowded shelves of folios and smaller tractates composed of brain-work and patient toil, without the facilities of modern research and study, and the many relics and memorials connected with the daily ministerial and domestic life of men of self-denying and honorable service. Harvard College holds and administers a fund of over sixteen thousand dollars, left by Dr. Williams in 1711, as a trust for the benefit of the aborigines.

Here is the fitting place for appropriate and most grateful mention of the results of a labor of devoted zeal and love given by the Rev. Henry Martyn Dexter, D.D., to the historic memorial of a cause of which he inherits the full spirit, and in the service of which he has spent his mature life. It may safely be said that not a single person, at least of those born on the soil of New England, of the lineage of the Fathers has so “magnified” their cause and work as he has done. Holding with such a rooted conviction, as is his, that the Congregational polity of the Christian Church has the warrant of Scripture and of the Primitive Church, and that it best serves the sacred interests of soul-freedom and of associated religion in its institutions, works, and influence, the earliest witnesses, confessors, and martyrs in its behalf have seemed to him worthy of the most lavish labor for their commemoration. Repeatedly has he crossed the seas and plied his most diligent scrutiny of tracing and searching, as he got the scent of some tract or record in its hiding-place of private cabinet or dim old parchment. With hardly eye or thought for the usual attractions of foreign travel, his valuable leisure has been spent in following any clew which promised him even the slightest aid to clearing an obscure point, or setting right a disputed fact, or completing our information on any serious matter relating to the early history of what is now represented by Congregationalism. The Introduction to his volume, The Congregationalism of the last Three Hundred Years, as seen in its Literature, with Special Reference to Certain Recondite, Neglected, or Disputed Passages,[453] tells in a vigorous and hearty tone what was his aim, his course, and its method.

The principal text of his volume disposes the treatment of his subject under twelve lectures, delivered by the author in the Theological Seminary at Andover, in 1876-1879. This text is elaborately illustrated by notes, with references and extracts, largely drawn from the recondite sources and the depositories already referred to. The author is careful to authenticate all his statements from prime authorities; and where obscurity or conflict of views or of evidence adduced makes it necessary, his patience and candor give weight to his judgment or decision. The extraordinary and unique element of his work is presented in his Collections towards a Bibliography of Congregationalism, which with the Index to its titles covers more than three hundred royal octavo pages, in close type. This contains an enumeration of 7,250 titles of publications, from folios down to a few leaves, dating between the years 1546 and 1879, which have even the slightest relation in contents, authorship, or purpose with the most comprehensive bearings of his subject in its historical development.

I have mentioned this elaborate work among the primary, instead of classing it with the secondary, sources of information on the history of Nonconformity, because it is something more than a link between the two. It takes its flavor from the past. Its abounding extracts from the quaint writings, and its portraitures and relations of the experiences, of the old-time worthies transfer us to their presence, make us sharers of their buffeted fortunes and listeners to their living speech. The work may be regarded as a summary of monumental memorials, more frank and true than are such generally on stone or brass of those who fought a good fight and trusted in promises.


The natural desire of a dispassionate reader of the original documents dealing with the heats of the Puritan controversy, or pursuing it in the pages of historians who may relate it either with a partisan or an impartial spirit, is that he might have before him the words and impressions of some contemporary or observer of profound wisdom and of well-balanced judgment, as he viewed this turmoil of affairs. The nearest approach made to the gratification of this wish is found in two brief but very comprehensive essays from the pen of the great Lord Bacon, as with an evident serenity and poise of spirit he studied the scenes before him, and the characters, aims, excesses, and shortcomings of the various actors, monarchs, prelates, zealots, enthusiasts, and earnest, however ill-judging, extremists on either side. The first of these essays in publication, whenever it may have been written, is entitled Certain Considerations touching the better Pacification and Edification of the Church of England. The date of its imprint is 1640. But in this reference is made, in the address to King James, to an earlier essay, which appeared anonymously with the imprint of 1641, under the title of An Advertisement touching the Controversies of the Church of England. This was evidently written in the time of Elizabeth. In it, Bacon sagaciously traces the origin of the controversy to four main springs,—namely, the offering and the accepting occasions for variance; the extending and multiplying them; passionate and unbrotherly proceedings on both parts, and the recourse on either side to a stiffer union among its members, heightening the distraction. His most severe stricture is upon the Church, for its harsh measures, as the strife advanced, in enforcing with penalties what had previously been allowed to be matters of indifference, thus driving some discontents into a banded sect. He regards it as a grave error that some of the English Church zealots had spoken contemptuously of foreign Protestant Churches. Though Bacon affirms that he is himself no party to the strife, and aims only for an impartial arbitration in it, his judgment and sympathy evidently incline him to the Puritan side as against the bishops. A fair-minded Puritan of the time might well have contented himself with this wise man’s statement of his side and cause. Of the second of these essays, it being addressed to King James on his accession, it may be said that it would be difficult to find any piece of writing of equal compass, on the themes with which it deals, more crowded with sound, solid good sense, better balanced in its allowances and limitations, more moderate, judicious, and practical in its principles, or more likely to harmonize all reasonable differences, and to repress and discountenance extreme and perverse individualisms. Bacon justifies innovations and reconstructions. He tells the King that the opening of his reign is the opportune time for making them. He protests against modelling all reformation after one pattern. Then he utters words of eminent wisdom about the government of bishops, about the liturgy, ceremonies, and subscription, about a preaching ministry, the abuse of excommunication, and about non-residence, pluralities, and the maintenance of the ministry. Here, again, moderate men of both parties might well have been content with the great philosopher’s judgment.

Documents in Foreign Repositories.—In connection with the exile of so many prelates, clergy, and other members of the English Church on the accession of Queen Mary in 1553, the relations established between them and many eminent Reformers on the Continent resulted in the production of a large number of documents of the highest historical authenticity and value, as throwing light upon the aims and methods of the Puritans in England during the whole period from 1553 to 1602. Several of these exiles settled at Zurich, and there formed intimate friendships with many magistrates and ministers of the Reformed religion. On the return of the exiles, on the accession of Elizabeth, many of them kept up a constant correspondence with their friends. The letters have been preserved in the archives of Zurich, and it has been only within the last forty years that the wealth of information in them has been revealed in England. There are nearly two hundred folio volumes of these letters. Strype and Burnet had obtained copies of some[248] of them, which they put to use in their histories.[454] A descendant of one of the Swiss correspondents had before 1788 copied eighteen thousand of the letters with his own hand, arranged chronologically. In 1845 and 1846, “The Parker Society” in England published,[455] in four octavo volumes, a large number of these “Zurich Letters,” translated and carefully edited, with annotations. The general titles are The Zurich Letters, comprising the Correspondence of Several English Bishops, and Others, with Some of the Helvetian Reformers, during the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Queens Mary and Elizabeth. In the collection are several letters to royal personages. One of these, by Rodolph Gualter, who in his youth had resided at Oxford, to Queen Elizabeth, dated Zurich, Jan. 16, 1559, is a long epistle, written in a dignified, courteous and earnest strain, counselling the Queen to have two things in her supreme regard: “First, that every reformation of the Church and of religion be conducted agreeably to the Word of God;” and second, that she restrain her counsellors from hindering or reversing the good work. Better than from the best-digested pages of history, one may learn from these fresh and admirable letters, down to the most minute detail and incident, the cross-workings, the entanglements, the progressive advance, the obstructions, the retrograde and opposing forces and influences connected with the oscillations of the reform in England. Nowhere else in our abounding literature on the subject are the Puritans and Nonconformists presented more faithfully and intelligently in their conscientious, scrupulous, and certainly well-meant efforts, within the Church itself, to have its institutions, ceremonial, and discipline disposed after a pattern which should have regard equally to discountenance the impositions and superstitions of the Papal system, which had been nominally renounced, and to make the purified Church a power to advance the best interests of true religion. The intelligent American visitor to Zurich, if his attention is drawn to this highly valued and admirably arranged collection in its library, can hardly fail of the impression that he has before him most sincere evidences of the depth of thought and the nobleness of spirit of men who were working out the principles of wisdom and righteousness.

Considering the influence exerted upon some of the English Puritans by their residence on the Continent, and their frequent reference afterward to the different ecclesiastical system and discipline adopted there, an interesting phase of the controversy is presented in the two following works. At the opening of the eighteenth century, Dr. William Nichols,—as he says, at the prompting of others, though, it was intimated, of his own motion,—wrote a Defence of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England, addressed especially to foreign divines and churches. This was replied to by James Peirce in his Vindication of the Dissenters; or, an Appeal to Foreign Divines, Professors, and all other Learned Men of the Reformed Religion. In this volume, originally written and published in Latin, afterward translated by the author and published in English, there is in the main a thorough and candid review of the rise and the conduct of the cause of Nonconformity, and a searching examination of the principles of the Church of England. Peirce quotes with care the original authorities, and puts them to a good use. He follows the history into the fortunes of those who had taken refuge and established their religion in New England, and while he says he differs with Mr. Cotton, of Boston, “in many of his opinions,” defends him and all the “Independents” from the charge of being “Brownists.”

The historians Bancroft and Motley and Dr. H. M. Dexter have, after diligent research in Holland, discovered many little scraps of curious information relating to the[249] residence, mode of life, social and domestic experiences, and way of conducting their religious affairs, of the earliest English exiles there associated in churches and assemblies. These slight memorials indicate that the Puritans and Separatists in refuge there, though their circumstances were modest, if not obscure, were respected for their characters and for the sincerity of their purposes. They found conveniences from the presses in Holland for putting into print their own fertile productions in the setting forth of their principles, while the busy commerce between the ports of Holland and those of England and Scotland furnished ready means for conveying these publications, as well as private letters, secretly and surreptitiously if it were necessary, to the safe hands of friends. Nor, if the occasion was urgent, would one of these refugees hesitate, taking in his hands the risk of his liberty or life, to pass the seas on some secret errand in his own behalf or in the interest of his fellows. Such scraps of information from Dutch repositories as the explorers above named have gathered have all been duly valued as filling gaps in our previous knowledge, or clearing up some obscure passages. The results have been so gratefully recognized and at once incorporated in the many modern rehearsals of the old history, that they need not be referred to more specifically here.[456]

English Authorities.—All such periods of intense controversy and struggle upon themes of the highest concern to man, as that of the internal commotions in England immediately following and consequent upon the Reformation, leave behind them some memorial in literature of so conspicuous and rare an excellence as to insure perpetual freshness, and to acquire interest and attractions even beyond that of the particular subject with which it deals. When the Press in such periods is pouring its outflow of ephemeral tracts and books, vigorous, intense, effective, as they may be for a temporary end or for the circle of a sect or party, genius or scholarly culture, or a philosophical and comprehensive spirit, penetrating below the surface and rising above the details of a controversy, will engage itself upon the product of what we call an immortal work. Such a work[457] is that which came from the pen of “the judicious Hooker,”—Richard by baptismal name. His eight books constitute one of the richest classics of the English tongue. It finds delighted readers among those who care little, if at all, for the mere issues of the questions under controversy. Its generally rich and stately style, its logic and rhetoric, its wealth of learning, and its occasional play of satire or contempt, engage the interest of many a reader who would turn listlessly from most pages of polemics. There is so much in it of a manly, free courage and self-asserting spirit, that at times it is difficult to believe that it was written by one who, according to the quaint biography of him by Isaack Walton, was so cowed and subjugated by his domestic partner, the mother of his children. English Churchmen may well boast themselves on this majestic work, dealing with the nucleus of the whole Puritan controversy, the question of Church authority. Of course, its argument in its whole sum and detail, in its array and estimate of original vouchers, has been traversed and brought under dispute by champions on the other side. But it will always hold its supreme place while the cause which it upholds shall need a classic.

Hallam[458] says that, “though the reasonings of Hooker won for him the surname of ‘the Judicious,’ they are not always safe or satisfactory, nor, perhaps, can they be reckoned wholly clear or consistent. His learning, though beyond that of most English writers in that age, is necessarily uncritical; and his fundamental theory, the mutability of ecclesiastical government, has as little pleased those for whom he wrote, as those whom he repelled by its means.” The same writer, in another work,[459] passes a high encomium upon Hooker’s Polity, as finding a basis for its argument in natural law.


The first four of the books of Hooker’s work were published in 1594, the fifth in 1597. As the other three had been left in manuscript, and did not appear in print till many years after his death in 1600, suspicions were raised that they might have been interpolated. As the Narrative of this chapter has given place to an exposition of Hooker’s fundamental position against the Nonconformists, it need not be repeated here.

For a long period, the well-known work[460] of Daniel Neal, in its successive editions, was the only one written from an historical point of view by an author not contemporary with its whole subject, which had appeared from the press, was widely circulated and generally accredited for its fidelity, its ability, and its trustworthiness. Mr. Neal, born in London in 1678, was a Dissenting minister in that city, and died in 1743. His history was published in portions between 1731 and 1738. The editions of it now in general circulation are those edited with valuable notes by Dr. Toulmin, the first of which appeared in London in 1793, and the last in 1837. The editor continued the history after the English Revolution. Mr. Neal made diligent research, in order to verify his statements from all the original sources which were open to him. He relied largely on the laborious Memorials gathered by the painstaking Strype, while owing much to Fuller and Burnet. Mosheim accepted Neal’s work as of the highest authority. Dr. Kippis commends it highly in the Biographia Britannica. After the publication of his first volume, Neal made public his answer to an anonymous work by Dr. Maddox, Bishop of St. Asaph, vindicating the Church of England “from the injurious reflections cast upon it in that volume.” Similar animadversions were cast upon the later volumes by Dr. Zachary Grey. Bishop Warburton, in some Notes to Mr. Neal’s history which he published in 1788, even brings in question the author’s veracity. Dr. Toulmin meets and answers such charges. Mr. Neal sought to give his pages authenticity by full quotations, citations, and references to his original authorities. In a few instances in which Burnet or others denied his fairness or accuracy, Dr. Toulmin has vindicated him against all aspersions, if not from all charges of error. The author wrote when the Dissenters were relieved by legislation of the severe impositions, fines, and inflictions of an earlier period, but were by no means brought into an equality in social and civil rights and privileges with the favored and patronized members of the Church Establishment. So Mr. Neal’s pages are free from the asperity and bitterness provoked into indulgence by his predecessors under the smart of humiliating wrongs. Still, he is loyal to the memory and steadfastness of those earlier sufferers. There was much on which the Dissenters of his time might pride themselves as won by the constancy of those who had fought for them the battles with lordly arrogance and hierarchical assumptions and prerogatives. There was a palmy age for Dissent in England which Lord Macaulay describes very felicitously, when, as he says, there were Dissenting ministers whose standing and condition in life compared favorably with those of all the clergy of the Establishment below those of the bishops. Among the Dissenting laity were men of wealth and of commercial consequence, as a high and honored social class, whose munificent endowments were bestowed on some of the noblest institutions of the realm.

Mr. Hallam devotes the second, third, and fourth chapters of his Constitutional History of England to the development of the history of Nonconformity, both among Roman Catholics and Protestants, during the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth. Among the many reviews and critical estimates of this history, that in the Edinburgh Review, vol. xlviii., is especially able and satisfactory. Mr. Hallam brought to the presentation of this part of his whole subject, not only his habitually thorough and conscientious fulness of research among authorities and documents, public and private, but also that spirit of candor, moderation, and equitable impartiality which, if not already[251] cherished in the purposes and motives of one intending the task of an historian, may or may not be acquired and exercised in dealing with themes engaging so much of temper, strife, and intenseness of polemical animosity. From his point of view, reading backwards along the line of historical development, he recognized that the early Nonconformists were dealing with fundamental principles in religious affairs which, though not at the time fully apprehended, would necessarily involve immunities and rights of a political character. It is because of this, now clearly exposed and certified to us, that such lofty tributes are rendered to the Puritans as the exponents and champions of English liberty.

The Inner Life[461] of Robert Barclay, not completely, though substantially, finished and supervised by its author, is an admirable example of the more wise, just, and considerate tone and method adopted in quite recent years for dealing with times and subjects of once embittered religious agitation and controversy. It is calm and judicial in its temper, inclusive and well-digested in its materials and contents. The author’s research was most wide and comprehensive. He spared no labor in the quest of original documents, in manuscript or print, all over England and on the Continent, of prime use and authority for his purpose, whether in public repositories or in private cabinets. For some very important matters which entered into the full treatment of his theme he has used for the first time many records that had been lying in undisturbed repose, and he has enlisted the valuable aid of many friends.

The author, after defining the idea and object of a visible church, makes an elaborate effort to trace to its sources and in its course the development of religious opinion in England previous to 1640. He marks the rise of Barrowism, Brownism, of the Johnsonists, the Separatists, the Presbyterians, the early Independents, the two parties of Baptists, and the Friends, or Quakers. Some of the views, habits, and principles adopted by these parties he traces in their connection with the Mennonites on the Continent. He distinguishes, as far as possible, the various shades of opinion, the introduction of new points of controversy or discussion, the individualisms, extravagancies, eccentricities, and erratic excesses of individuals or parties, and he keeps distinct the two main currents of the development, as they favored or rejected the connection of civil and ecclesiastical authority. He draws the line distinctly between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians, on the one side, as according in favoring a state church and a national establishment, and the original ideas gradually developed into positive principles of individuals and societies among the Separatists, which involved the complete separation of the administration of religion from the civil power.

The central subject of Mr. Barclay’s volume is the early history of the Friends, or Quakers. Two chief points are specially dealt with: First, many of the distinctive principles in their teaching and conduct which have been generally regarded as original with them are traced as in full recognition by other parties previous to the preaching of George Fox. Second, the author presents many facts, new, or in a new light, which disclose how earnest were the efforts of the early Friends for a very careful and even elaborate inner organization and discipline of their membership, after the manner of a visible Church,—the appointment and oversight of a qualified ministry, the sending out of authorized missionaries, and the inquisition into the private affairs, the home life, habits, and business of members, carried out into very minute and annoying details. He reveals to us the embarrassments met by them in deciding upon the question of “birthright membership.” Manuscript documents, records, minute-books, etc., preserved in many places where the early Friends had their meetings, are found very communicative.[462]

Mr. Skeats, in his Free Churches[463] has in view as his general purpose, to trace “the[252] part which English Dissent has played in the history of England.” Following this comprehensive design, he presents the various phases of Nonconformity and Separatism through denominational organizations among Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Independents, and Congregationalists, noting the attitude of opposition assumed towards them by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. He regards the Toleration Act, passed in 1689,—which even then excluded the Unitarians from its terms,—as drawing the line between the efforts which had been made up to that time to extinguish Dissent, and the leaving it simply under a stigma, as lacking social standing and Government recognition. Only the first chapter, covering a hundred of the six hundred pages of the volume, is concerned with the subject directly in our hands. The author is in full sympathy with the principles and the cause, the attitude and the persistency, of the resolute and buffeted men whose views he sets forth, as developed from the earliest stage of the Reformation in England. He cites and quotes original authorities to authenticate his statements and his judgments. In some instances, where they bear hard upon the conduct of the archbishops of Canterbury under Queen Elizabeth, Curteis, in his Bampton Lectures, challenges their fairness. More than four hundred Dissenting societies, Congregationalist and Baptist, are now existing in England, which date their origin before the passage of the Toleration Act under William.[464] To these are to be added many societies of Presbyterians and Quakers.

The Congregational Union of England and Wales is an organized body devoted to the interests of the fellowship to which it succeeds as representing the original single and associated Nonconformists from the date of the English Reformation. Its magazines, its annual reports, and various publications issued under its patronage, keep in living interest and advocacy the principles first stood for by faithful witnesses, sufferers, and martyrs. One of these publications, of especial importance, bears the following title: Historical Memorials relating to the Independents, or Congregationalists, from their Rise to the Restoration of the Monarchy, 1660, London, 1839. The distinctive value and authority of this work, which is in four octavo volumes, attach to its being almost exclusively composed of the original writings, of various kinds, from the pens of the first Nonconformists, and the answers or arguments brought against them. These have been gathered by keen and extended investigation, carefully authenticated, and, where it is necessary, annotated. The motive which inspired this undertaking was to remove the obscurity and contumely which had been threatening to settle over the memory and principles of men whose own writings prove them to have been equal in learning, acumen, argumentative power, and heroic constancy of purpose to defend a cause by them thought worthy of their devotion. Many important papers which elsewhere are found only in quotations, extracts, or fragments, are here given in full.

The Bi-Centennial commemoration of the ejectment of all Nonconforming ministers from the parish churches of England, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1662, was made the occasion, after modern usage for such observances, of the delivery of a multitude of addresses, and the preparation and publication of numerous pamphlets and volumes, of local or general interest, with historical retrospect and review of the origin and development of English Nonconformity. Curteis[465] has a very pregnant note on the “bicentenary rhetoric” connected with this occasion. He alleges that “incredible exaggerations” were exposed, as founded upon the lists given in Calamy’s famous Nonconformist Memorial (edited by Palmer) of the ejected ministers, as being in number two thousand. Curteis says it was proved that instead of there being 293 such in London parishes, there were by count only 127, and that from the whole alleged number of two thousand, there should be struck off no less than twelve hundred.[466]


There are three very admirable works[467] covering much of the matter of this chapter, from the pen of John Tulloch, D.D., Principal of St. Mary’s College in the University of St. Andrew’s.

Though these three works are from the pen of a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, they are written in a spirit of the most broad and comprehensive catholicity. They set forth with keen discernment and with generous appreciation the advances made by highly gifted individual minds in the several stages and phases of the development of a protracted controversy upon the principles involved in an attempted adjustment of the rights of conscience and free thought, in asserting themselves against traditional and ecclesiastical proscriptions. It required the contributions from many such minds and spirits, with their fragments of certified truth, to insure the substitution of reason for authority.

Church of England Authorities.—Among the recently published works, the authors of which have aimed with moderation and impartiality to treat a theme of embittered relations and rehearsals so as to present readers with information of facts and the means of judging fairly between violent contestants in their once angry issues, is one already referred to as Curteis’s Bampton Lectures.[468] Assuming that the English Church had an origin and existence independent of the ecclesiastical authority of the Pope, the author relates the process by which it reformed itself, by renouncing his interference and impositions, and establishing its own discipline and ritual. After this he regards and treats the Romanists as but one class of Dissenters, taking their place as such with the Independents, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Unitarians, and the Wesleyans. Of these divided elements of the common Christian fold, the author traces the rise, the leading principles, and the distinct institutions and methods which they adopted. His treatment of his large and tangled subject is as fair, considerate, and judicious as could be expected from an earnest and heartily loyal minister of the English Church. He makes many strong statements to commend and urge a national establishment of religion as far more dignified, consistent, and desirable than the scattering and fragmentary multiplication, indefinitely increasing under petty variances, of independent religious organizations. But he does not work out a practicable method for his suggested scheme when those concerned in it prefer their own ways. Mr. Curteis is very severe (p. 62) in his rebuke upon the harshness of terms in which Mr. Skeats[469] deals with Archbishop Parker, in the course pursued by him towards the Puritans. But the view presented by Mr. Skeats is more than justified by Hallam,[470] in his calm dealing with the original documents.

In the same connection may be mentioned The Church and Puritans,[471] a small and compact volume, written in the best spirit of moderation and candor. In but little more than two hundred open pages, the author traces the whole course of Dissent,—its rise, aims, principles, and methods, and its struggles, buffetings, and discomfitures, from its manifestations under Elizabeth to the failure of “a glorious opportunity of reconciling all moderate Dissenters to the communion of the Church of England, under William and Mary.” By the judicious restraint upon what might naturally be his promptings, as a clergyman of the Church of England, to criticise with some sharpness what has so generally been represented as the perversity and weak scrupulosity of the Puritans, he is eminently fair and considerate in presenting their side of the controversy, and in dealing[254] with their more conspicuous men. The abounding citation of original authorities on both sides in his notes authenticates, for nearly every sentence of the work, the statement made in it.

Two works of a remarkably liberal and scholarly character which have quite recently appeared from the pens of eminent divines of the English Church, would have been gratefully welcomed by the Nonconformists in the period of their sharpest conflict, on account of their generous spirit and their contents. They would have been especially noteworthy in the liberal concessions which they make upon all the points involved in the controversy, as to the simple authority and pattern of Scripture in the constitution and discipline of the Christian Church, as against the hierarchical claims based upon traditions and usages subsequent to the age of the apostles, and traceable in the so-called Primitive Church. These books are Mr. Edwin Hatch’s Organization of the Early Christian Churches,[472] and Dean Stanley’s Christian Institutions.[473]

Mr. Hatch has also published articles of a similar tenor to the contents of his Bampton Lectures, in the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. In these lectures, the author aims to trace the facts of ecclesiastical history in the same way as those of civil history are usually dealt with. His aim is to investigate the framework of the earliest Christian societies. He says these societies in their formation adjusted themselves to previously existing methods of association. The philanthropic element in them suggested the sort of officers needed, their provinces and functions. A president of the society and one or more distributors of alms were the requisite officers. Then as increasing numbers in a society, and of societies, made necessary a distribution of functions, with centralization and subordination of duty and authority, an ecclesiastical system was developed by like methods to those of a civil or political system. Convenience and adaptation thus originated the elements of a hierarchy, the regulation of which was watched over and disposed by a system of councils.

Dean Stanley’s volume is a collection of essays, previously published separately. They are liberal in tone and tenor, and by no means in harmony with, or even quite respectful toward, any high-church principles, or any demands of “divine right” for ecclesiastical authority. He adopts a rational point of view for marking the accumulation of sentiments and usages around the original substance of Christianity. He exhibits the entire unlikeness of conditions and needs between the early days of the religion and our own. He recognizes the vast superstructure of fable reared upon original simple verities, and, like Mr. Hatch, identifies the development of ecclesiastical with that of civil forms and usages.

An Essay on the Christian Ministry, by Bishop Lightfoot, treats after a like unconventional method, the themes which in the days of early Nonconformity were dealt with in so different a tone and method.

New England Authorities.[474]—The authorities concerning every detail in the institution and disposing of church affairs in New England are abundant and well-nigh exhaustive. They may be consulted as digested and set in order in the more recently published works to be here named by title, or they may be traced fragmentarily in chronological order in the writings of the Fathers themselves. The organization of the New England churches came to be best described under the term “Congregational.” It was in substance a modification of Barrowism. While there seems to have been but little discordancy here among those who followed the pattern, they were soon challenged by some of their brethren in England most nearly in sympathy with them, as to doubtful or debated principles and methods in their institution and discipline of churches. There were two chief points which came under discussion: first, the respective rights of all the[255] brethren composing a church fellowship in administering discipline, and those of the pastor, teacher, and elders. Should the whole church, or only its officers, be primarily and ultimately invested with executive and administrative power? The second point covered all the considerations which would come into prominence in deciding upon the relations of churches to each other,—whether each should maintain an absolute independency, or qualify it in any way by seeking sympathy, fellowship, and advice, and heeding remonstrances or interference from “sister churches,” through their teachers and elders.

Contemporary references to these matters as they presented themselves to the attention of those who here first entered into a “church estate,” are scattered over Governor Winthrop’s journal. John Cotton, minister of the First Church of Boston, diligently and earnestly, in successive writings and publications, set himself to answering all questioning and challenging friends abroad. He evidently had to work out clear and consistent views of his own on a subject which, besides being novel in many of its relations, was embarrassed by local difficulties, and by some conscientious or practical diversities of judgment among his associates. Richard Mather, of Dorchester, also contributed his help in the exposition of the Congregational polity, which was to be defended alike from extreme Barrowism and from Presbyterianism, which was soon found to have some sympathizers in the colony. By a sort of general consent, recourse was had to a succession of “synods,” or councils of the representatives of the churches, first those of the Bay Colony alone, then with some of the other New England colonies. These synods resulted in the formation of a “Platform,” which laid out in form and detail the system of the Congregational polity.

It is not necessary here to indicate the titles, contents, and authors of the several publications, preserved in our cabinets of relics, which contributed either to the dissension or to the pacification of the sometimes eccentric and heated, and of the always scrupulous, earnest, and independent parties in this work of ecclesiastical reconstruction. They have been so faithfully, admirably, and impartially digested by Dr. Dexter in the eighth of the lectures in his Congregationalism, as to present to the reader a full and intelligent view of the whole subject in its development and its results, while relieving him of what save to the fewest possible of historical students would be a repelling task. If, however, zeal or curiosity should dispose any one to peer through those dried and withered relics of the old polemics of a generation that drew its honey from the rocks, he will find much occasion to respect the acuteness and the persistency of men who, having taken the interests of their creed and piety into their own hands, determined to build on what was to them the only sure foundation. That foundation was “the Word.” If the Scriptures, as their prelatical foes insisted, were not intended to afford, and would not afford, a complete pattern of a method of institution and government of a Christian Church, the reader of those patiently wrought tractates will often be amazed as he notes how rich and fertile, how apt and facile, the contents of the sacred books were found to be, in furnishing the requisite material for argument and authority.

A controversial discussion was opened in 1861 by Hon. D. A. White, of Salem, by the publication of his New England Congregationalism in its Origin and Purity, illustrated by the Foundation and Early Records of the First Church in Salem, and Various Discussions pertaining to the Subject. To this work Rev. J. B. Felt, in the same year, made an answer: Reply to the New England Congregationalism of Hon. D. A. White. The principal interest of the matter of these two publications consists in their arguments upon the question whether Congregationalism as a system of polity in the constitution and government of churches carries with it, as an essential organic part, the doctrinal creed held by those who first adopted it. Dr. Dexter offers some suggestions on this point, arguing that the creed of the first Congregationalists belongs continuously to their system of polity. Of course, only constructive and inferential arguments can be brought to bear on this point. As we have seen, from the first manifestations of Nonconformity and Dissent in England, doctrinal themes did not at all enter into the controversy, it being taken[256] for granted that there was accord upon them. But there certainly is no absolute, vital connection between a form of polity and a doctrinal system. There have come to be very many organizations and fellowships among Protestants which are substantially Congregational in their order, while widely diverse in their creeds.

In 1862, Mr. Felt published The Ecclesiastical History of New England.

Very full and curiously interesting information about the principles, persons, and events connecting the Puritan controversy in the Old World with the settlement of New England, may be found in the now well-nigh innumerable volumes containing the history of our oldest towns and churches. In their earlier pages or chapters these histories find the town and the church a common theme. Grateful occasions have been found in commemorations of bi-centennial or longer periods, from the settlement of municipalities or the foundation of parishes, to review the past, and to trace in the old land the men who brought here in their exile, for free and successful enjoyment, principles for which they had there suffered. The history of the Reformation and of Nonconformity might indeed be largely written from the pamphlets and the volumes called out by these local commemorations, so numerous during the last decade of years. Traces of matter of a similar character may also be found in the personal and historical references, in text or note, of the first volume of the Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Harvard University, by John Langdon Sibley. In connection with the public and formal observance of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the First Church of Boston,—in the fifth in order of the edifices in which it had worshipped,—a son of the present pastor (the seventeenth in the line of succession) prepared and published a work with the following title: History of the First Church in Boston. 1630-1880. By Arthur B. Ellis. With an Introduction by George E. Ellis. Illustrated. Boston, 1881. Pages lxxxviii + 356.





Professor of American History in Yale College.

THE preceding chapter has outlined the growth of Separatism in England, and prepared the way for the story of the fortunes of that remarkable congregation which has given a new significance to the name “Pilgrim.”

Elizabeth’s policy of Uniformity, so sternly pursued by her last Archbishop of Canterbury, Whitgift (1583-1604), was ostentatiously adopted by her successor, James I., at the Hampton Court Conference held in his presence by learned men of the Puritan and High Church parties in the first year of his reign; and when this conference was quickly followed by the elevation of Bancroft, a more arbitrary Whitgift, to Whitgift’s vacant place, those who were earnest in the opposite opinions were forced to choose between persecution and exile.


[This cut follows an engraving in Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers, p. 40, representing the scene about thirty years ago. Raine, Parish of Blyth, p. 129, referring to the time of Edwin Sandys, raised to the archiepiscopal throne of York in 1576, says: “Under him a family of the name of Brewster occupied the manor-house, which had gradually and insensibly dwindled down from a large mansion to a moderately sized farmhouse;” and Raine gives for a frontispiece a view of the remaining fragment, which is copied by Dr. Dexter in Sabbath at Home, 1867, p. 135. Mr. Deane says of it, “It may have been originally connected with the manor-house, which has long since passed away.” (Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. xi. 404.) Dr. Dexter gives a plan of the neighborhood.—Ed.]


There were doubtless other neighborhoods where the Separatists maintained thriving congregations for a longer or shorter time after the King’s policy became known; but by far the most zealous company of which accounts remain was one formed by residents “of sundry towns and villages, some in Nottinghamshire, some of Lincolnshire, and some of Yorkshire, where they border nearest together.” In 1602, or thereabout, these people, from places at least eight or ten miles apart, gathered themselves into a church,—probably at Gainsborough, a market-town in Lincolnshire, on the Trent; at least we know that when the original congregation divided, in 1605 or 1606, into two,—perhaps for greater security, as well as for local convenience,—it was at Gainsborough that one branch remained, which soon chose John Smyth, a Cambridge graduate, who had been some time with them, to be its pastor, and that with him many of this portion of the parent stock migrated in 1606 to Amsterdam.

The western division of the original company appears to have been formed into a distinct church in the summer of 1606, and, according to the testimony of Governor Bradford, in his notice of Elder Brewster, “they[258] ordinarily met at his [Brewster’s] house on the Lord’s day (which was a manor [i. e. manor-house] of the Bishop’s), and with great love he entertained them when they came, making provision for them, to his great charge.”


[No wholly authenticated signature of Robinson is known. Dr. Dexter, in his Congregationalism as seen in its Literature, pp. xx, 359, gives the upper of these two, as from a book in the British Museum, “believed by the experts of that institution to have belonged to him.” It is evidently by the same hand as the lower of the two, which, with another very like it, is upon the title of Sir Edwin Sandys’s Relation of the State of Religion, London, 1605, belonging to Charles Deane, Esq., of Cambridge. Hunter, Founders of New Plymouth, p. 155, has pointed out how parts of this book show its author to have been “much in advance of his time,” and that there is “a correspondency in some parts with the celebrated Farewell Address of Robinson.” It is easy to suppose, therefore, that Robinson once owned the little treatise. Hunter errs in assigning 1687 as the date of its first edition. That of 1605 is called in the 1629 edition a surreptitious one, and there is a copy in the Boston Athenæum, with MS. annotations said to be by the author. Dr. Dexter points out 1629 as the year of the first authorized edition, and there were others in 1632, 1633, 1638, and 1673. (Congregationalism, App. nos. 299, 568; Palfrey, New England, i. 191.)—Ed.]

William Brewster, the chief layman of this congregation, was postmaster, or “post,” as the usual term was, at Scrooby, a small village in the northern part of Nottinghamshire, ten miles west of Gainsborough. Though Scrooby was a mere hamlet, its station on the London and Edinburgh post-road gave Brewster full occupation, especially after the two capitals were united under one king, as it was his duty to provide food and lodging for all travellers by post on Government business, as well as relays of horses for them and for the conveyance of Government despatches. He was a native of the village, and had matriculated in 1580 at the University of Cambridge, where he came under Puritan influence; he soon, however, quitted his books to enter the service of William Davison, Elizabeth’s upright and Puritan Secretary of State, whose promising career was sacrificed to her duplicity in the matter of the execution of Mary Stuart. Under Davison, Brewster had experience both at court and in foreign embassies; he remained with his[259] master for a year or two after the fall of the latter in 1587, and then retired to his native village. There he assisted his father, who was then postmaster, until the latter’s death in 1590; and after a brief interval the son, then about twenty-three years of age,[475] succeeded to the father’s place through the intercession of his old patron, Davison.[476]

In 1603 his annual stipend from the Government was raised from £30 to £36, the two sums corresponding in present values to perhaps six and seven hundred dollars respectively. The manor-house of Scrooby, built originally as a hunting-seat for the Archbishops of York, though in Brewster’s time “much decayed,”[477] had been occupied for many years by his father as bailiff for the archbishops, and as representative of their vested interests in the surrounding property, which was leased to Sir Samuel Sandys, of London.

The clerical leaders of the church, meeting in the great hall or chapel under Brewster’s roof, were Richard Clyfton and John Robinson. The former had been instituted in 1586, at the age of thirty-three, rector of Babworth, a village six or seven miles southeast of Scrooby, and had continued there until the undisguised Puritanism of his teachings caused his removal, probably in connection with Archbishop Bancroft’s summary proceedings against Nonconformist ministers at the end of 1604. His associate, Robinson, apparently a native of the neighborhood, had entered Cambridge University in 1592, and after gaining a Fellowship had spent some years in the ministry in or near Norwich; but about 1604 he threw up his cure on conscientious[260] grounds, and returning to the North, allied himself with Separatists in Gainsborough. He was, by the testimony of an opponent (Robert Baillie), “the most learned, polished, and modest spirit among the Brownists.”


[This cut follows a photograph owned by Mr. Charles Deane, who also furnished a photograph, after which the accompanying fac-simile of the registry of the baptism of Bradford, preserved in this church, is made; see Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. x. 39. The view of the church given in the title of Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers is the one followed by Dexter in Sabbath at Home, 1867, p. 131, and in Harper’s Magazine, 1877, p. 183. Raine, in his Parish of Blyth, Westminster, 1860, gives a larger view; and Bartlett, p. 36, gives the old Norman door within the porch.—Ed.]

The other members of the Scrooby congregation were of humble station, and have left little trace even of their names; most notable to us is young William Bradford, born in 1590 in Austerfield, a hamlet two and a half miles to the northward, within the limits of Yorkshire.

After they had covenanted together in church relations, “they could not long continue in any peaceable condition, but were hunted and persecuted on every side.... For some were taken and clapped up in prison; others[261] had their houses beset and watched night and day, and hardly escaped their hands; and the most were fain to fly and leave their houses and habitations. ... Seeing themselves thus molested, and that there was no hope of their continuance there, by a joint consent they resolved to go into the Low Countries, where they heard was freedom of religion for all men.”

The remedy of exile was not new to a generation that could remember the emigration of Robert Browne’s followers from Norwich to Zealand in 1581, and had witnessed the transfer of their Gainsborough neighbors to Holland shortly after their own organization. “So, after they had continued together about a year, and kept their meetings every Sabbath in one place or other, ... seeing they could no longer continue in that condition, they resolved to get over into Holland as they could.” A large number attempted, in the latter part of the year 1607, to embark at Boston in Lincolnshire, the most convenient seaport for them, though fifty miles distant from Scrooby. But emigration, except with a license, was in general prohibited by an early statute (A. D. 1389), and the ship’s captain, who had engaged to take them, found it to his interest to betray them in the act of embarking; so that the only result for most of them was a month’s detention in Boston jail, and the confiscation of their goods, while seven of the leaders, including Brewster, were kept in prison still longer. In a new attempt the following spring, an unfrequented strip of sea-coast in northeastern Lincolnshire, above Great Grimsby, was selected, and a bargain made with a Dutch captain to convey the party thence to Holland; then, perhaps, taking advantage of the Idle, a sluggish stream flowing near their doors, tributary to the Trent, and so to the Humber, the women and children, with all the household goods, were in that case despatched by water, while the men marched some forty miles across country to the rendezvous. But after a part of the men (who arrived first) had embarked, on the appearance of armed representatives of the law the captain took alarm and departed; some of those left on shore fled, and reached their destination by other means; but the women and children, with a few of the men and all their valuables, were captured. Another season of suspense followed; but at length the absurdity of detaining such a helpless group began to be felt, the magistrates were glad to be rid of them, and by August, 1608, the last of the straggling unfortunates got safely over to Amsterdam.

They found there the church of English Separatists transplanted under Francis Johnson upwards of twenty years before, as well as that of John Smyth and his Gainsborough people; but the church from Scrooby appears to have kept its separate organization, and their experience is calmly recounted by their historian, Bradford, as follows: “When they had lived at Amsterdam about a year, Mr. Robinson, their pastor, and some others of best discerning, seeing how Mr. John Smyth and his company was already fallen into contention with the church that was[262] there before them, and no means they could use would do any good to cure the same; and also that the flames of contention were like to break out in the ancient church itself (as afterwards lamentably came to pass),—which things they prudently foreseeing, thought it was best to remove, before they were anyway engaged with the same; though they well knew it would be much to the prejudice of their outward estates, both at present and in likelihood in the future,—as, indeed, it proved to be.”

For these, with other reasons, in the winter after their arrival they asked the authorities of Leyden, an inland city, twenty miles or more southwest from Amsterdam, and the next in size to it in the province, to allow their congregation, of about one hundred English men and women, to remove thither by May 1, 1609.[478] The application was granted, and the removal to that beautiful city was accomplished, probably in May; but their senior pastor, Clyfton, being oppressed with premature infirmity, preferred to remain in Amsterdam.


[This little cut is a fac-simile of one given by Mr. Murphy in the Historical Magazine, iii. 332, following a bird’s-eye map of the city, dated 1670, when this part of the town was unchanged from its condition in the Pilgrims’ time. More of the same plan is given by Dr. Dexter in Hours at Home, i. 198. No. 1 is the bell turret, no longer standing, of the cathedral which stood at 2, and beneath which Robinson was buried. No. 10 is the house in which Robinson lived, with a garden on the hither side, the front being at the other end of the building, on the Klog-steeg, or Clock-alley, marked 5; a building now on the spot, bearing the date 1683 as that of its erection, has also borne since 1866 another tablet, placed there by the care of Dr. Dexter, which reads: “On this spot lived, taught, and died John Robinson, 1611-1625.” See Dexter in Hours at Home i. 201-2, and in Congregationalism as seen in its Literature, p. 387.—Ed.]

In Leyden they were forced to adapt themselves, as they had begun to do hitherto, to conditions of life very unlike those to which they had been trained in their own country; and so far as we can trace them, a majority of the flock seem to have found employment in the manufacture of the woollen goods for which the city was famous. Upon the public records the church appears as an organized body early in 1611, when Robinson with three others purchased for 8,000 guilders (corresponding in our currency to perhaps $10,000 or $12,000) a valuable estate in the centre of the city, including a spacious house for the pastor, used also for Sunday worship, and at the back of the garden an area large enough for the subsequent erection of twenty-one small residences for church members.

Among additional reasons which had led the studious Robinson to favor the removal to Leyden, may be counted the fact that it was the site of a university already famous, and so furnished ample opportunities of intercourse with learned men and of access to valuable libraries. The sharp[263] controversy between the occupants of the chair of theology, Gomarus and Arminius, involving no personal risk to the English spectators, was an added attraction; and before long Robinson himself appeared as a disputant on the Calvinist side in the public discussions, and so successfully that by Bradford’s testimony “the Arminians stood more in fear of him than [of] any of the University.” This perhaps opened the way for his admission to membership of the University, which took place in September, 1615, and secured him valuable civil as well as literary privileges. Such an honor was justified also by the activity of his pen while in exile. Between 1610 and 1615 he published four controversial pieces, of nearly seven hundred quarto pages, the most important being a popularly written Justification of Separation from the Church of England. In the same field of argument were the other treatises; while in 1619, when public attention was absorbed with the Synod of Dort, he brought out in Latin a brief but telling Apologia, or Defence of the views of the Separatists, in distinction from those of the Dutch churches.


[This follows a plan given by Bartlett in his Pilgrim Fathers, p. 79. No. 1 is Saint Peter’s Church, where Robinson was buried in 1625. Bartlett also gives, p. 88, a view of the interior. No. 2 is Saint Pancras church. No. 3 is the Town Hall. Bartlett also gives a view, p. 83. from the tower of this building.—Ed.]

These outside discussions, in which their pastor took such interest, left undisturbed the steady growth of the Pilgrim church, in the government of which Brewster, as ruling elder, was associated with Robinson, after the removal to Leyden. In these years “many came unto them from divers parts of England, so as they grew a great congregation,” numbering at times nearly three hundred communicants. Among these new-comers were some who ranked thenceforth among their principal men: John Carver, an early deacon of the church, and leader of the first migrating colony; Robert Cushman, Carver’s adjutant in effecting that migration; Miles Standish, the soldier of the company; and Edward Winslow, a young man probably of higher social position than the rest, who shared with Bradford, after Carver’s death, the main burden of sustaining the infant colony.


But though some recruits were attracted by Robinson’s gifts and by a prospect of freedom from prelatical oppression, yet the condition of the Leyden people was in general one of struggling poverty, with little hope of amendment. It were vain to expect that their language or their peculiarities of religious order could gain a secure foothold on Dutch soil, or that a Government on friendly terms with England could show active good-will to a nest of outcasts which England was anxious to break up. The increase of numbers had come in spite of the hardships attending the struggle for a livelihood in a foreign city; but as the conditions of the struggle were better understood, the numbers fell off. Time was also bringing a new danger with the approaching expiration of the twelve years’ truce (April, 1609-April, 1621) between Spain and the Netherlands.

As years passed, the older generation among the exiles who clung loyally to the English name and tongue began to realize that a great part of their aims would be frustrated if their children should, by intermarriage with the Dutch and other outside influences, wander from their fathers’ principles, and be absorbed in the Dutch people. These dangers being recognized, and the major part of the company being agreed that it was best to avoid them by a removal, it became necessary to select a new asylum, where Englishmen might preserve their nationality undisturbed. To the new continent of America, which best satisfied the conditions, all thoughts turned as early as the summer of 1617; and the respective claims were weighed of tropical Guiana on the one hand, which Raleigh had described in 1595 as the true Eldorado, and Virginia on the other, conspicuous as the seat of the first successful English colony. A little consideration excluded Guiana, with its supposed wealth of gold tempting the jealousy of the Spaniard; and so the choice was limited to the territory somewhat vaguely known as Virginia, within the bounds assigned to the two companies chartered by King James in 1606. The objection was duly weighed “that if they lived among the English which were there planted [i.e. on the James River], or so near them as to be under their government, they should be in as great danger to be troubled or persecuted for the cause of religion as if they lived in England; and it might be worse. And if they lived too far off, they should neither have succor nor defence from them.”

There were risks either way; but they decided, under the advice of some persons of rank and quality at home,—friends, perhaps, of Brewster’s when at court, or of Winslow’s,—to dare the dangers from wild beasts and savages in the unsettled parts of Virginia, rather than the dangers from their own bigoted countrymen, and to ask the King boldly for leave to continue as they were in church matters.

Their first care was for the regular sanction of the Virginia Company in London to the settlement of the proposed colony on their territory; and with this object Carver and Cushman were despatched to England as agents, apparently in September, 1617. They took with them, for use in conciliating the sentiments which any petition from a community with their[265] history would awaken at court, a memorable declaration in seven articles, signed by the pastor and elder, which professed their full assent to the doctrines of the Church of England, as well as their acknowledgment of the King’s supremacy and of the obedience due to him, “either active, if the thing commanded be not against God’s Word, or passive [i.e. undergoing the appointed penalties], if it be.” The same articles, in carefully guarded language, recognized as lawful the existing relations of Church and State in England, and disavowed the notion of authority inhering in any assembly of ecclesiastical officers, except as conferred by the civil magistrate. In any estimate of the Pilgrims, it is necessary to give full weight to this deliberate record of their readiness to tolerate other opinions.

The two messengers found the Virginia Company in general well disposed, and gained an active friend in Sir Edwin Sandys (a prominent member of the Company and brother of Sir Samuel Sandys, the lessee of Scrooby Manor), who, though no Puritan, was a firm advocate of toleration; but as he was also a leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, his friendship was a doubtful recommendation to royal favor. Their report, on their return in November, was so encouraging that Carver and another were sent over the next month for further negotiations with the Virginia Company and with the King. But the former business still halted, because of the prejudice in official minds against their independent practices in church government. Sir Edwin Sandys, Sir Robert Naunton (one of the Secretaries of State), and other friends labored early in 1618 with the King for a guarantee of liberty of religion; but the ecclesiastical authorities were strong in their opposition, there was a suspicion abroad that the design was “to make a free popular State there,”[479] and the delegates returned to Leyden to propose that a patent be taken on the indirect assurance of the King “that he would connive at them and not molest them, provided they carried themselves peaceably.” It seemed wisest to proceed, and Brewster (now fifty-two years of age, one of the oldest and most experienced of the congregation) and Cushman were commissioned in the spring of 1619 to procure a patent from the Virginia Company, and to complete an arrangement with some London merchants who had partially agreed to advance funds for the undertaking. The business was delayed by a crisis in the Virginia Company’s affairs, connected with the excited canvass attending the election (April 28 [May 8], 1619) of Sir Edwin Sandys as Governor; but at length the patent was granted (June 9/19, 1619), being taken by the advice of friends, not in their own names, but in that of Mr. John Wincob (or Whincop), described by Bradford as “a religious gentleman then belonging to the Countess of Lincoln, who intended to go with them.”[480]


When the patent was secured, Brewster appears to have returned to Leyden at once, leaving Cushman for a time to negotiate with the merchants; but so little was done or perhaps hoped for in this direction, that an entirely new project was started the next winter under Robinson’s auspices. Certain Amsterdam merchants, already interested in the rich fur-trade on and near the Hudson River, presented a memorial to the States-General, Feb. 2/12, 1620, from which it appears that Robinson had signified his readiness to lead a colony of over four hundred English families to settle under the Dutch in New Netherland, if assured of protection. The memorial asked for assurances on this last head, and for the immediate despatch of two ships of war to take formal possession of the lands to be reserved for such a colony.

While this memorial was awaiting its (unfavorable) answer, Thomas Weston, one of those London merchants with whom there had already been consultations, came to Leyden as their agent, to propose a new arrangement for a settlement in North Virginia. For some reason, not now clear, the Pilgrims showed peculiar deference to his advice; and accordingly the negotiations with the Dutch were broken off and articles of agreement with the London merchants drawn up, embodying the conditions propounded by Weston. By these conditions a common stock was formed, with shares of ten pounds each, which might be taken up either by a deposit of money or of goods necessary for the undertaking; and Carver and Cushman were sent to England to collect subscriptions and to make purchases and preparations for the voyage. In this service, while Carver was busy with the ship in Southampton, Cushman took the responsibility of conceding certain alterations in the agreement, to please the “merchant adventurers,” as they were styled, whose part in the scheme was indispensable. The original plan was for a seven years’ partnership, during which all the colonists’ labor—except for two days a week—was to be for the common benefit; and at the end of the time, when the resulting profits were divided, the houses and improved lands in the colony were to go to the planters: but the changes sanctioned by Cushman did away with the reservation of two days in the week for each man’s private use, and arranged for an equal division, after seven years, of houses, lands, and goods between the “merchant adventurers” and the planters. Dr. Palfrey has well observed that “the hardship of the terms to which the Pilgrims were reduced shows at once the slenderness of their means and the constancy of their purpose.” About seventy merchants joined in the enterprise, of whom only three—William Collier, Timothy Hatherly, and William Thomas—became sufficiently interested to settle in the colony.

Notwithstanding discouragements, the removal was pressed forward, but the means at command provided only for sending a portion of the company; and “those that stayed, being the greater number, required the pastor to stay with them,” while Elder Brewster accompanied, in the pastor’s stead, the almost as numerous minority who were to constitute[267] a church by themselves; and in every church, by Robinson’s theories, the “governing elder,” next in rank to the pastor and the teacher, must be “apt to teach.”

A small ship,—the “Speedwell,”—of some sixty tons burden, was bought and fitted out in Holland, and early in July those who were ready for the formidable voyage, being “the youngest and strongest part,” left Leyden for embarkation at Delft-Haven, nearly twenty miles to the southward,—sad at the parting, “but,” says Bradford, “they knew that they were pilgrims.” About the middle of the second week of the month the vessel sailed for Southampton, England. On the arrival there, they found the “Mayflower,” a ship of about one hundred and eighty tons burden, which had been hired in London, awaiting them with their fellow-passengers,—partly laborers employed by the merchants, partly Englishmen like-minded with themselves, who were disposed to join the colony. Mr. Weston, also, was there, to represent the merchants; but when discussion arose about the terms of the contract, he went off in anger, leaving the contract unsigned and the arrangements so incomplete that the Pilgrims were forced to dispose of sixty pounds’ worth of their not abundant stock of provisions to meet absolutely necessary charges.

The ships, with perhaps one hundred and twenty passengers, put to sea about August 5/15, with hopes of the colony being well settled before winter; but the “Speedwell” was soon pronounced too leaky to proceed without being overhauled, and so both ships put in at Dartmouth, after eight days’ sail. Repairs were made, and before the end of another week they started again; but when above a hundred leagues beyond Land’s End, Reynolds, the master of the “Speedwell,” declared her in imminent danger of sinking, so that both ships again put about. On reaching Plymouth Harbor it was decided to abandon the smaller vessel, and thus to send back those of the company whom such a succession of mishaps had disheartened. Those who withdrew were chiefly such as from their own weakness or from the weakness of their families were likely to be least useful in the hard labor of colonization; the most conspicuous desertion was that of Cushman, smarting under criticism and despairing of success. The unexpected parting between those who disembarked and those who crowded into the “Mayflower” was sad enough. It was not known till later that the alarm over the “Speedwell’s” condition was owing to deception practised by the master and crew, who repented of their bargain to remain a year with the colony, and took this means of dissolving it.

At length, on Wednesday, September 6/16, the “Mayflower” left Plymouth, and nine weeks from the following day, on November 9/19, sighted the eastern coast of the flat, but at that time well-wooded, shores of Cape Cod. She took from Plymouth one hundred and two passengers, besides the master and crew; on the voyage one man-servant died and one child was born making 102 (73 males and 29 females) who reached their destination. Of these, the colony proper consisted of 34 adult males, 18 of them accompanied by their wives and 14 by minor children (20 boys and 8 girls); besides these, there were 3 maid-servants and 19 men-servants, sailors, and craftsmen,—5 of them only half-grown boys,—who were hired for temporary service.



It is thought that the autographs of all who came in the “Mayflower,” whose signatures are known, are included in this group, except that of Dorothy May, who at this time was the wife of William Bradford, and whose maiden signature Dr. Dexter found in Holland, as well as the earliest one known of Bradford, attached to his marriage application at Amsterdam, in 1613, when he was twenty-four years old.

(See Dexter’s Congregationalism, p. 381.) Resolved White was then but a child, and his brother Peregrine was not born till the ship had reached Cape Cod Harbor.

John Cooke, son of Francis Cooke, was the last male survivor of the “Mayflower” passengers.—Ed.]

Of the thirty-four men who were the nucleus of the colony, more than half are known to have come from Leyden; in fact, but four of the thirty-four are certainly known to be of the Southampton accessions. The ruling motive of the majority was, therefore, that which had impelled the church in Leyden to this step, modified, perhaps, to some small extent by their knowledge of the chief reason, as Bradford alleges, in the minds of Weston and the others who had advanced them money, “for[269] the hope of present profit to be made by the fishing that was found in that country” whither they were bound.

And whither were they bound? As we have seen, a patent was secured in 1619 in Mr. Wincob’s name; but “God so disposed as he never went nor they ever made use of this patent,” says Bradford,—not however making it clear when the intention of colonizing under this instrument was abandoned. The “merchant adventurers” while negotiating at Leyden seem to have taken out another patent from the Virginia Company, in February, 1620, in the names of John Peirce and of his associates; and this was more probably the authority under which the “Mayflower” voyage was undertaken. As the Pilgrims had known before leaving Holland of an intended grant of the northern parts of Virginia to a new company,—the Council for New England,—when they found themselves off Cape Cod, “the patent they had being for Virginia and not for New England, which belonged to another Government, with which the Virginia Company had nothing to do,” they changed the ship’s course, with intent, says Bradford, “to find some place about Hudson’s River for their habitation,” and so fulfil the conditions of their patent; but difficulties of navigation and opposition from the master and crew caused the exiles, after half a day’s voyage, to retrace their course and seek a resting-place on the nearest shore. Near half a century after, a charge of treachery was brought against Mr. Jones, the master of the “Mayflower,” for bringing the vessel so far out of her course; but the alleged cause, collusion with the Dutch, who desired to keep the English away from the neighborhood of New Netherland, is incredible.

But their radical change of destination exposed the colonists to a new danger. As soon as it was known, some of the hired laborers threatened to break loose (upon landing) from their engagements, and to enjoy full license, as a result of the loss of the authority delegated in the Virginia Company’s patent.

The necessity of some mode of civil government had been enjoined on the Pilgrims in the farewell letter from their pastor, and was now availed of to restrain these insurgents and to unite visibly the well-affected. A compact, which has often been eulogized as the first written constitution in the world, was drawn up, as follows:—

“In the name of God, amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord King James, by the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and[270] obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.”


[This is a reduction of part of a map, which is given by Dr. H. M. Dexter in his edition of Mourt’s Relation. He has carefully studied the topography of the region in connection with the record, and he possessed certain advantages in such study over Dr. Young, who has similarly investigated the matter in his Chronicles of the Pilgrims. There were three expeditions from the ship, and Dr. Dexter’s interpretation is followed. The women were set ashore to wash at a, and while the carpenter was repairing their shallop, Standish and sixteen men started on the 15th November (O. S.) on the first expedition. At b they saw some Indians and a dog, who disappeared in the woods at c, and later ran up the hill at d. The explorers encamped for the night at e, and the next day, where they turned the head of the creek, they drank their first New England water. Then at g they built a fire as a signal to those on the ship. At h they spent their second night; at j they found plain ground fit to plough; at k they opened a grave; at l dug up some corn; at Pamet River they found an old palisade and saw two canoes. They then retraced their steps, and at i Bradford was caught in a deer-trap. They reached the ship on the 17th. When the shallop was ready, ten days later, a party of thirty-four started in her with Jones, the captain of the “Mayflower,” as leader, and the expedition, called the second on the map, lasted from the 27th to the 30th November. The third expedition, likewise in the shallop, started on the 6th of December. Farther south than the map carries the dotted line, they landed at the modern Eastham, and had their first encounter with the natives on the 8th, and the same day reached Plymouth Harbor in the evening, as narrated in the text. On the 12th the shallop, sailing directly east across the bay, returned to the “Mayflower,” which on Saturday, the 16th, reached the anchorage depicted on the map on the following page.—Ed.]


Of the forty-one signers to this compact, thirty-four were the adults called above the nucleus of the colony, and seven were servants or hired workmen; the seven remaining adult males of the latter sort were perhaps too ill to sign with the rest (all of them soon died), or the list of signers may be imperfect.[481]

This needful preliminary step was taken on Saturday, November 11/21, by which time the “Mayflower” had rounded the Cape and found shelter in the quiet harbor on which now lies the village of Provincetown; and probably on the same day they “chose, or rather confirmed,” as Bradford has it (as though the choice were the foregone conclusion of long previous deliberation), Mr. John Carver governor for the ensuing year. On the same day an armed delegation visited the neighboring shore, finding no inhabitants. There were no attractions, however, for a permanent settlement, nor even accommodations for a comfortable encampment while such a place was being sought. After briefer explorations, an expedition started on Wednesday, December 6/16, to circumnavigate Cape Cod Bay in search of a good harbor, and by Friday night was safely landed on Clark’s Island (so called from the ship’s mate, who was of the party), just within what is since known as Plymouth Bay. On Saturday they explored the island, on the Sabbath day they rested, and on Monday, the 11th,[482] they sounded the harbor and “marched also into the land, and found divers cornfields and little running brooks, a place very good for situation.”[483]



[This is reduced from a map given in Dr. Dexter’s edition of Mourt’s Relation. The Common House of the first comers was situated on Leyden Street, which left the shore just south of the rock and ran to the top of Burial Hill, and it is the lots on the south side of this street that Bradford marked out in the fac-simile of the first page of the record given on another page. The “highway” as marked on that plan led to the south to the Town Brook. The Common House, if it had been designated on that draft, would have been put next “Peter Brown;” on the plan here given it would be on the north side of the brook, about where the meridian crosses it, though the engraver has put the designation on the opposite side of the water. It was not till about 1630, or ten years after their landing, that the Plymouth settlers began to spread around the bay, beyond the circuit of mutual protection. Still for a year or two they scattered merely for summer sojourns, to work lands which had been granted them. About 1632 Duxbury began to receive as permanent residents several of the “Mayflower” people. Standish settled on the shore southeast of Captain’s Hill, thus attaching his military title to the neighboring eminence, and though his grave is not known, it is probable that he was buried, in 1656, on his farm. His house stood, it is supposed, nearly ten years longer, and was probably enlarged by his son, Alexander Standish, who was, there is some reason to believe, a trader, and he may have been the town clerk of Duxbury. Its records begin in 1666, and the tradition that connects the destruction of the earlier records with that of this house derives some color from the traces of fire which have been discovered about its site. (Sabbath at Home, May, 1867.) The house now known as the Standish house was built afterwards by Alexander, the son. Elder Brewster became Standish’s neighbor a little later, and lived east of the hill.

Alden settled near the arm of the sea just west of Powder Point, and George Soule on the Point itself; Peter Brown also settled in Duxbury. Still farther to the north, beyond the scope of the map, Edward Winslow established his estate of Careswell, where in our day Daniel Webster lived and died, in Marshfield. John Howland found a home at Rocky Nook. Isaac Allerton removed to New Haven, and Governor Bradford during his last years was almost the only one of those who came in the first ship who still lived in the village about the rock. (Cf. Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. xi. 478.)—Ed.]

Prepared to report favorably, the explorers returned to the ship, which by the end of the week was safely anchored in the chosen haven. The selection of a site and the preparation of materials, in uncertain weather, delayed till Monday, the[273] 25th, the beginning of “the first house, for common use, to receive them and their goods.” Before the new year, house-lots were assigned to families, and by the middle of January most of the company had left the ship for a home on land. But the exposures incident to founding a colony in the dead of a New England winter (though later experience showed that this was a comparatively mild one) told severely on all; and before summer came one half of the number, most of them adult males, had fallen by the way.[484] Yet when the “Mayflower” sailed homewards in April, not one of the colonists went in her, so sweet was the taste of freedom, even under the shadow of death.

An avowed motive of the emigration was the hope of converting the natives; but more than three months elapsed before any intercourse with the Indians began. Traces of their propinquity had been numerous, and at length, on March 16/26, a savage visited the settlement, announcing himself in broken English as Samoset, a native of “the eastern parts,” or the coast of Maine, where contact with English fishermen had led to some knowledge of their language. From Samoset the colonists learned that the Indian name of their settlement was Patuxet, and that about four years before a kind of plague had destroyed most of the inhabitants of that region, so that there were now none to hinder their taking possession or to assert a claim to the territory. They learned also that their nearest neighbors[274] were the Wampanoags, the headquarters of whose chief sachem, Massasoit, were some thirty miles to the southwestward, near the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay. The next week Samoset brought in Squanto, formerly of Patuxet, who had been taken to England in 1614 by Hunt, and who was now willing to act as interpreter in a visit from Massasoit; the latter followed an hour later and contracted unhesitatingly a treaty of peace and alliance, which was observed for fifty-four years.


[This group is preserved in the cabinet of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and all but two of the swords are associated with Plymouth history. The middle sword is that of Governor Carver. On the left, descending, are those of General John Winslow, Captain Miles Standish, and Governor Brooks of Massachusetts. On the right are those, in a like descending order, of Sir William Pepperrell, Elder Brewster, and Colonel Benjamin Church, the Plymouth hero of Philip’s War. Another Standish sword is preserved in Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth, and is figured in the group of Pilgrim relics on another page, as well as in Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers, p. 177. Concerning those above represented, see Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., i. 88, 114.—Ed.]

With the beginning of a new civil year (March 25) Carver was re-elected governor, and some simple necessary laws were established; on Carver’s sudden death the following month, Bradford was chosen his successor, under whose mild and wise direction the colony went on as before. As Bradford[275] was then enfeebled by illness, Isaac Allerton was at the same time appointed Assistant to the Governor.

After a summer and autumn of prosperous labor and harvest, they were cheered, November 11/21, by the arrival of the “Fortune” from London, bringing as a visitor Robert Cushman, their former associate, and thirty-five additions to their feeble number, twenty-five of them adult males,—the majority, however, not from Leyden. The ship brought also a patent, granted June 1/11,[485] by the President and Council of New England—within whose territory the new settlement lay—to the same John Peirce and his associates in whose names the merchants fathering this venture had secured a patent the year before from the Virginia Company for the use of the “Mayflower” colonists. Without fixing territorial limits, the new grant allowed a hundred acres to be taken up for every emigrant, with fifteen hundred acres for public buildings, and empowered the grantees to make laws and set up a government.


By the delivery of this patent a sufficient show of authority was conferred for immediate need and for eight and a half years to come. It is true that in April, 1622, Peirce obtained surreptitiously for his private use a new grant with additional privileges, to be valid in place of the grant just described; but the trick was soon discovered, and the associates were reinstated by the Plymouth Company in their rights.

Taking these eight and a half years under the first patent as a separate period, the progress made in them may be briefly stated.


The settlement is first called “New Plymouth” in a letter sent back to England by the “Fortune” in December, 1621, and printed in the second edition of Captain John Smith’s New England’s Trials, in 1622. That it was so called may have been suggested as much by the name Plymouth on Smith’s map of this region (1614) as by the departure of the “Mayflower” from Plymouth, England, or by the knowledge that the colony was the first within the limits of the newly incorporated Plymouth Company. Later, the town was called simply Plymouth, while the colony retained the name New Plymouth.

In numbers they increased from less than fifty at the arrival of the “Fortune,” to near three hundred on the reception of the second charter in May, 1630. The most important accessions were in July, 1623,—about sixty persons, a few of them from Leyden; and about as many more—all from Leyden—in 1629-30.

In the second year at New Plymouth, because of threats from the Narragansett tribe of Indians about Narragansett Bay, the town was enclosed with a strong palisade, and a substantial fort (used also on Sundays as a meeting-house) was erected on the hill which formed so conspicuous a feature of the enclosure. The mode of life which John Smith described in his Generall Historie in 1624,—that “the most of them live together as one family or household, yet every man followeth his trade and profession both by sea and land, and all for a general stock, out of which they have all their maintenance,”—was modified the same year, to the great advantage of all, by the assignment to each head of a family of an acre of ground for planting, to be held as his own till the division of profits with the London merchants. While this taste of proprietorship tended to increase the restlessness of the planters, the vanishing prospect of large returns was simultaneously disheartening the “merchant adventurers,” so that many withdrew, and the remainder agreed to a termination of the partnership, in consideration of the payment of £1,800, in nine equal annual instalments, beginning in 1628. This arrangement was effected in London in November, 1626, through Isaac Allerton, one of the younger of the original Leyden emigrants, who had been commissioned for the purpose; and to meet the new financial situation, the resident adult males (except a few thought unworthy of confidence) were constituted stockholders, each one being allowed shares up to the number of his family. Then followed an allotment of land to each shareholder, the settlement of the title of each to the house he occupied, and a distribution of the few cattle on hand among groups of families,—all these possessions having hitherto been the joint, undivided stock of the “merchant adventurers” and the planters. At the same time eight leading planters (Bradford, Standish, Allerton, Winslow, Brewster, Howland, Alden, and Prince), with the help of four London friends, undertook to meet the outstanding obligations of the colony and the first six annual payments on the new basis, obtaining in return a monopoly of the foreign trade.



[This is the only authentic likeness of any of the “Mayflower” Pilgrims. It was painted in England in 1651, when Winslow was fifty-six. It has been several times engraved before, as may be seen in the Winslow Memorial, in Young’s Chronicles, in Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers, and in Morton’s Memorial, Boston edition, 1855. The original, once the property of Isaac Winslow, Esq., is now deposited in the gallery of the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth. (Cf. 3 Mass. Hist. Coll., vii. 286, and Proc., x. 36.) Various relics of the Governor are also preserved in Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth. There are biographies of him in Belknap’s American Biography, and in J. B. Moore’s American Governors. A record of Governor Winslow’s descendants will be found in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1850, 297 (by Lemuel Shattuck); 1863, p. 159 (by J. H. Sheppard). Of the descendants of his brother Kenelm, see L. R. Paige’s account in the Register, 1871, p. 355, and 1872, p. 69. An extensive Winslow Memorial has been begun by David P. Holton, 1877, the first volume of which is given to all descendants (of all names) of Kenelm. See Register, 1877, p. 454; 1878, p. 94, by W. S. Appleton, who in the Register, 1867, p. 209, has a note on the English ancestry; and Colonel Chester has a similar note in 1870, p. 329. There is in Harvard College Library a manuscript on Careswell and the Winslows by the late Dr. James Thacher.—Ed.]

In these arrangements, which proved eminently wise for the public interests, one object was to facilitate further emigration from Leyden. The management of the London merchants had been unfavorable to this end, and it was a special grief that during this period of delay the beloved pastor, Robinson, had ended his life in Leyden,—Feb. 19 (March 1), 1625. The heavy expenses of transporting and providing for such as came over in 1629-30 were cheerfully borne by the new management.

The same temper in the London merchants which had hindered Robinson’s coming,—a conviction that the religious peculiarities of the Pilgrims interfered with the attractiveness and financial success of the colony,—led them to send over in 1624 a minister of their own choosing (John Lyford), who was not merely not in sympathy with the wants of the Plymouth men, but even tried to serve his patrons by false accusations and by attempting to set up the Church of England form of worship. He was expelled from the colony within a year from his arrival, and the church continued under Elder Brewster’s teaching. In 1628 Mr. Allerton on a voyage from England,[278] without direction from the church, brought over another minister, but mental derangement quickly ended his career.

The colony began within these first years to enlarge its outlook. In 1627, to further their maritime interests, an outpost was established on Buzzard’s Bay, twenty miles to the southward; in the same year relations of friendly commerce were entered into with the Dutch of New Amsterdam, and as soon as the nearer plantations of the Massachusetts Company were begun, Plymouth was prompt to aid and counsel as occasion offered. In 1628 the attempt was made to establish more firmly the existing trade with the Eastern Indians, by obtaining a patent for a parcel of land on the River Kennebec.


[Of John Carver, the first governor, no signature is known. This group shows the autographs of all his successors, who held the office for the years annexed to their names:—

William Bradford, 1621-32, 1635, 1637, 1639-43, 1645-56.
Edward Winslow, 1633, 1636, 1644.
Thomas Prince, 1634, 1638, 1657-72.
Josiah Winslow, 1673-80.
Thomas Hinckley, 1681 to the union, except during the Andros interregnum.—Ed.]

These outside experiences were all in the way of encouragements: the most serious annoyances came, not directly from the savages, but from neighbors of their own blood. Thus in 1623 the wretched colonists sent out the year before by Thomas Weston to Weymouth, twenty miles northwest from Plymouth, had to be protected from their own mismanagement and the hostility of the natives, by which means came about the first shedding of Indian blood by the Pilgrims; and thus again, five years later, the unruly nest of Morton’s followers at Merry Mount, just beyond Weymouth, had to be broken up by force.

Of the progress of civil government in this first period we have scanty memorials. Few laws and few officials answered the simple needs of the colony. Bradford was annually elected governor, and in 1624, at his desire, a board of five Assistants was substituted for the single Assistant who had hitherto shared the executive responsibility. The people met from time to time in General Court for the transaction of public business, and in 1623 a book of laws was begun; but three pages sufficed to contain the half-dozen simple enactments of the next half-dozen years.


The next period of the colony history extends from Jan. 13/23, 1629-30, when the Council for New England granted to Bradford, his heirs, associates, and assigns, a useful enlargement of the patent for Plymouth and Kennebec, to March 2/12, 1640-41, when Bradford in the name of the grantees conveyed the rights thus bestowed to the freemen of New Plymouth in their corporate capacity.


[The chest of drawers is an ancient one, which there is some reason to believe belonged to Peregrine White. (N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg. 1873, p. 398.) The sword and vessels belonged to Standish. The cradle belonged to Dr. Samuel Fuller, the physician of the Pilgrims. (Russell’s Pilgrim Memorials, p. 55; Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers, p. 201.) Chair No. 1 belonged to Governor Carver; No. 2 was Elder Brewster’s; No. 3 is said to have been Governor Edward Winslow’s; and this with a table, which was until recently in the hall of the Massachusetts Historical Society, has lately been reclaimed by its owner, Mr. Isaac Winslow. (See 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. v. 293.; Proceedings, ii. 1, 284; iv. 142; xix. 124; Young’s Chronicles, p. 238; Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers, p. 197.) There are other groupings of Pilgrim relics in Dr. Dexter’s papers; C. W. Elliott’s “Good Old Times at Plymouth” in Harper’s Monthly, 1877, p. 180; Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers.—Ed.]

The most striking feature of this period was the growth from a single plantation to a province of eight towns, seven of them stretching for fifty miles along the shore of Cape Cod Bay, from Scituate to Yarmouth, and Taunton lying twenty-five miles inland,—in all containing about twenty-five hundred souls. With this growth there was also some extension of trade on the Kennebec and Penobscot, and in 1632 a beginning[280] of exploration, and in 1633 of settlement, in the Connecticut Valley; but the appearance of numerous emigrants from Massachusetts Bay defeated the contemplated removal of the entire colony to the last-named location.

The establishment of towns led necessarily to a more elaborate system of civil government, and in 1636 it was found expedient to revise and codify the previous enactments of the General Court, and to prescribe the duties of the various public officers. In 1638 the inconveniences of governing by mass-meeting led to the introduction of the representative system already familiar to Massachusetts Bay. The number of Assistants had been increased in 1633 from five to seven.

In 1629 an acceptable minister of the gospel—Ralph Smith, a Cambridge graduate—for the first time took charge of the church in Plymouth; and by 1641 the eight towns of the colony were all (except Marshfield, which was but just settled) supplied with educated clergy, of whom perhaps the most influential was Ralph Partridge, of Duxbury.

The half-century (1641-91) which completed the separate existence of Plymouth Colony, witnessed no radical changes, but a steady development under the existing patent, though repeated but unsuccessful attempts were made to obtain a charter direct from the English Government. At the outset (in 1641), by a purchase of the remaining interests of the English partners of 1627, the last trace of dependence on foreign capital was wiped out.

Notwithstanding the discontinuance of English emigration after 1640, and the enormous devastation of Philip’s war in 1675-76, the population of the colony increased to about eight thousand in these fifty years, being distributed through twenty towns, of which Scituate had probably the largest numbers and certainly the most wealth, the town of Plymouth having lost, even as early as 1643, its former prominence. That this growth was no greater, and that expansion beyond the strict colony limits was completely checked, resulted inevitably from the more favorable situation of the neighboring colony of the Bay.

The civil administration continued as before, the Governor’s Assistants and the Deputies sitting in General Court as one body. Deputies were elected in each town by the resident freemen, the freemen being the original signers of the compact on board the “Mayflower,” with such persons as had been added to their number by a majority vote of the general court. Public sentiment was so trustworthy that no qualifications were named for the estate of freemen until 1656, when it was merely provided that a candidate must have been approved by the freemen of his own town. Two years later, when the colony was overrun by Quaker propagandists, persons of that faith, as well as all others who similarly opposed the laws and the established worship, were distinctly excluded from the privileges of freemen, and in the new revision of the laws in 1671 freemen were obliged to be at least twenty-one years of age, “of sober and peaceable conversation,[281] orthodox in the fundamentals of religion,” and possessed of at least £20 worth of ratable estate in the colony. By the Code of 1671 a Court of Assistants was created to exercise the judicial functions hitherto retained by the General Court; but in 1685, with the constitution of three counties, most of these duties were transferred to county courts.

Two interdependent circumstances conspired with the poverty of the settlers and the unattractiveness of the soil,—even as compared with Massachusetts Bay,—to retard seriously the progress of the colony; and these were, their inability to keep up a learned ministry, and the enforced delay in providing for public education. The first of these facts was so patent as to call forth public rebukes from Massachusetts, and it may be enough to recall that in 1641 seven of the eight townships constituting the colony were served by ministers of English education; but in the next half-century these same pulpits stood vacant on the average upwards of ten years each, and the new towns which were formed in the colony had no larger amount of ministerial service. As to the other point, it is sufficient to note that neither from tradition nor from public records is there evidence of any opportunity or provision for education before 1670,—except, of course, in the private family. Their poverty no doubt chiefly occasioned this.

Yet while the resources of Plymouth and the education of her public men were distinctly inferior to those of the Bay, she bore herself in her relations with the other colonies with a certain simple dignity and straightforward reasonableness which won respect; and in matters of general interest she was content to share the sentiments of her comrades without controlling them. She joined in the New England Confederation of 1643; and though the idea sprang from another quarter, it is probable that the form was influenced by suggestions from the Plymouth men, derived from their experience in the United Netherlands.

Plymouth’s treatment of the Quakers, in 1656 and the following years, illustrated in part the contrast with Massachusetts Bay. At the outset public sentiment was much the same in the two colonies, in view of the extravagances and indecencies of these intruders; but the greater mildness of administration in Plymouth bore its appropriate fruit in lessening the evil characteristics which developed by opposition, and gradually the dreaded sectaries gained a foothold, until finally their principles were widely adopted in certain localities with only good results.

Plymouth’s treatment of the Royal Commissioners in 1665 indicated fairly her consistent attitude towards the mother country; in receiving the King’s mandates with respect, and in promising conformity, she held the course which had produced the seven articles at Leyden in 1617.

The most serious misfortune to visit the colony was the Indian war which broke out early in 1675. Up to that time the Plymouth men had been careful to acquire by bonâ fide purchase a title to all new lands as they were occupied; they had endeavored also (with fair success, as compared with like efforts in Massachusetts Bay) to spread the knowledge of Christianity; and in 1675 there were perhaps six or seven hundred “praying Indians” within the colony bounds.



[This canvas is likewise the property of Isaac Winslow, Esq., and is now in the Pilgrim Hall, at Plymouth. This portrait, and that of the father, the elder Governor Winslow, are the only likenesses of the Plymouth governors extant; and Josiah Winslow was the first governor of native birth, having been born in Marshfield in 1629; dying there in 1680.—Ed.]

But Wamsutta and Metacomet (otherwise Alexander and Philip), the sons and successors of the sachem Massasoit, were hostile to the whites and unaffected by Christian influences; and after Alexander’s death, in 1662, the colonists found that only by constant watchfulness could they prevent a breach with the savages. Finally under Philip’s lead they rose and began a war of extermination. The exciting cause and the earliest operations were within the territory claimed by Plymouth; on her fell successively the heaviest blows (in proportion to her population) and the most pressing responsibilities for defence. When the war ended with Philip’s death, in August, 1676, more than half her towns had been partially or wholly destroyed, and the colony’s share (about £15,000) of the expense incurred by the New England Confederacy in suppressing the Indians was a very serious burden on a feeble agricultural community. Before the slow process of recovery from these desolations could be accomplished, the ancient customs of self-government were invaded by James II.; and when the arbitrary exactions under Andros, as Governor of all New England, were ended in the Revolution of 1689, the return to the old conditions of freedom was but temporary; the new monarchs followed James’s policy of consolidation, and Plymouth found herself fated to be included either in the charter of New York or in that of Massachusetts. Better a known than an unknown evil; and accordingly the London agent of Plymouth was authorized to express a preference for union with Boston, and the provincial charter of Massachusetts in October, 1691, put an end to the separate existence of the colony of New Plymouth. Of the original “Mayflower” company but two[283] members survived,—John Cooke, of Dartmouth, who died in 1695, and Mary (Allerton) Cushman, of Plymouth, who died in 1699. The younger generation were accustomed to the leadership of Massachusetts Bay, and accepted the union as a natural and fitting step.


THE earliest printed volume treating of the origin of Plymouth Colony was New England’s Memorial; ... with special Reference to the first Colony thereof, published by Nathaniel Morton in 1669. As he states in his “Epistle Dedicatory,” the most of his intelligence concerning the beginnings of the settlement came from manuscripts left by his “much-honored uncle, Mr. William Bradford.” Morton’s parents had emigrated in 1623, when he was a boy of ten, from Leyden to Plymouth, with a younger sister of Mrs. Morton, who had been sent for to become the wife of Governor Bradford. This connection and his own position as secretary of the General Court of the Colony from 1645, gave peculiar opportunities for gathering information; but his book preserves nothing on the earliest portion of the Pilgrim history, beyond the date (1602) and the place (“the North of England”) of their entering into a church covenant together.

The manuscripts of Governor Bradford passed at his death (1657) to his eldest son, Major William Bradford, of Plymouth, and while in his possession a few particulars were extracted for Cotton Mather’s use in his Magnalia (1702), especially in the “Life of Bradford” (book ii. chap. i.). A minute, but very efficient typographical error, however (Ansterfield for Austerfield), kept students for the next century and a half out of the knowledge of Governor Bradford’s birthplace, and of the exact neighborhood whence came the Leyden migration. From Major William Bradford, who died in 1704, the manuscripts descended to his son, Major John, of Kingston (originally a part of Plymouth), by whom the most precious were lent or given, in 1728, to the Rev. Thomas Prince, of Boston.[486] Prince made a careful use of this material in the first volume of his Annals (1736), fixing the locality whence the Pilgrims came as “near the joining borders of Nottinghamshire, Linconshire, and Yorkshire,” and lodged the originals in the library which he bequeathed, in 1758, to the Old South Church in Boston. Governor Thomas Hutchinson, while writing his History of Massachusetts Bay, found these manuscripts in the Prince Library, and printed in the Appendix to his second volume (1767) a valuable extract describing the exodus to Holland. In the troublous times which followed, the Bradford papers disappeared.

Another extract from Bradford, however, soon after came to light in the records of the First Church in Plymouth, where Secretary Morton had transcribed, in 1680, most of his uncle’s account of the transatlantic history of the Pilgrims. This was printed, in part and somewhat inaccurately, by Ebenezer Hazard, in vol. i. of his Historical Collections (1792), and in full by the Rev. Alexander Young, in his Chronicles of the Pilgrims (1841).

The clews furnished by Mather and Prince to the Pilgrim cradle-land attracted no special attention until 1842, when the Hon. James Savage, during a visit to England,[487] submitted the problem to the Rev. Joseph Hunter, author of a history of South Yorkshire,[284] of which region he was also a native. Mr. Hunter, though the evidence was incomplete, suggested that Austerfield was the place wanted; and the attention of this accomplished antiquary being thus enlisted, the result appeared in a tract, published by him in 1849, entitled Collections concerning the Founders of New Plymouth, which identified the meeting-place of the Separatist Church before their removal to Holland. This tract was reissued, in 1852, in the Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. xxxi., and again in London, in an enlarged form, in 1854.[488] The author’s careful examination of local records made plain the position of the Brewsters in Scrooby, and of the Bradfords in Austerfield (with the entry of Governor Bradford’s baptism), and traced their families, as well as the families of other early members of the Scrooby flock, in the neighboring parishes. The importance of Mr. Hunter’s labors may be seen in the fact, that, besides Brewster and Bradford, none of the “Mayflower” passengers (except the two Winslows) have even yet been surely traced to an English birthplace.[489]

Mr. Hunter’s success soon attracted the attention of other investigators. The earliest visit to Scrooby which has received notice in print was one made in July, 1851, by the Rev. Henry M. Dexter, of Boston, described by him in The Congregationalist of Aug. 8, 1851. Mr. W. H. Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers, p. 35, published in 1853, added nothing to Hunter’s researches, except some interesting engravings of the church in which Bradford was baptized, and of Scrooby village. In his enlarged edition of 1854, Hunter gave a better view of the remains of the palace inhabited by Brewster. Mr. Palfrey visited the neighborhood in 1856, and records his impressions in a note on p. 134 of vol. i. (1858) of his History of New England. In 1860 the Rev. John Raine, vicar of the parish of Blyth, in[285] which these hamlets were formerly included, printed a valuable account of that parish’s history and antiquities.[490]

In January, 1862, the Rev. H. M. Dexter published, in the Congregational Quarterly, an article on “Recent Discoveries concerning the Plymouth Pilgrims,” summarizing conveniently what had been learned regarding the place where, and the time when, the church was gathered. In March, 1867, he contributed to the Sabbath at Home magazine an illustrated article on the “Footprints of the Pilgrims in England,” which is still the most vivid and the fullest description extant of the Scrooby neighborhood. With this should be compared, for additional facts, a letter from Dr. Dexter in the Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. (xii. 129) for July, 1871; the early pages of the chapter on Robinson, in the same author’s Congregationalism as seen in its Literature (1880); and the record of a visit in 1860, in Professor James M. Hoppin’s Old England. The Scrooby episode is also told, more or less fully, in the Rev. Ashbel Steele’s Life of Elder Brewster (1857), in Dr. John Waddington’s Track of the Hidden Church (1863), and in chap. vi. of the second volume of his Congregational History (1874), in the Rev. George Punchard’s History of Congregationalism, vol. iii. chap. xi. (1867), in chap. vii. of vol. ii. of S. R. Gardiner’s Prince Charles and the Spanish Marriage (1869), and in chap. x. of Dr. Leonard Bacon’s Genesis of the New England Churches (1874).[491]

Scrooby village is about one hundred and forty miles N.N.W. from London, and eighty miles due east from Liverpool. It lies on the Great Northern Railway; but as its population numbers only some two hundred, it is practically a mere suburb of Bawtry, a small market-town a mile and a quarter to the north, of perhaps a thousand inhabitants. Austerfield, a little larger than Scrooby, and at about the same distance from Bawtry in a northeasterly direction, is included, as well as much of the other two localities, in the patrimony of Lord Houghton (Richard Monckton Milnes), whose family have held it since 1779.

Of the life in Holland and the preparations for removal to America, the first connected account in print was that appended by Edward Winslow (who had joined the company at Leyden in 1617, at the age of twenty-two) to his Hypocrisy Unmasked, in 1646, which was reprinted in 1841, in Dr. Young’s Chronicles of the Pilgrims. Winslow’s object in this brief appendix was to refute an unjust charge of schism in the Leyden church, and to explain the reasons for the removal and the course of the accompanying negotiations; he also reviewed Robinson’s doctrinal position, and incidentally preserved the substance of the pastor’s farewell address to the departing portion of his flock.[492] Morton’s Memorial, in 1669, gave from Bradford’s manuscripts a fuller account of the events in question; and Mather’s Magnalia (1702), and Prince’s Annals (1736), added a few touches to the picture. Prince has also the distinction of being the first of those who have retraced the steps of the Pilgrims on Dutch soil, his Annals (vol. i. p. 160) recording his visit to[286] Leyden in 1714, and his supposed identification of the church which Robinson’s congregation used, and in which he was buried.[493]

The extracts from Bradford published by Hazard in 1792, with those included in the notes to Judge John Davis’s edition of Morton’s Memorial in 1826, all of which were reprinted by Dr. Young in 1841, set forth in a more orderly way the story of the removal. But there was no inquiry in Holland until Leyden was visited by Mr. George Sumner, a younger brother of Senator Sumner, who communicated the results of his researches to the Massachusetts Historical Society, in 1843, in a paper which was published separately at Cambridge in 1845, and in the Society’s Collections, vol. xxix. (1846). Mr. Sumner threw much light on the actual condition of the Pilgrims in Holland, while investigating Prince’s report of a church lent them by the city, and Winslow’s account of the respect paid Robinson at his funeral. He showed that Prince had confused this congregation with one founded contemporaneously by English Presbyterians in Leyden, for whose use a chapel was granted, while Robinson’s company received no such favor. He also printed the record of Robinson’s admission to the University,—a fact not before recovered,—and the entry of his burial in St. Peter’s cathedral, just across the way from his house.[494]

In 1848 another item of interest,—the application of Robinson and his people for leave to come to Leyden,—was printed for the first time in a Memoir of Robinson, by Professor Kist, in vol. viii. of the Nederlandsch Archief voor Kerkelijke Geschiedenis.[495] A fuller memoir, prefixed to a collected edition of his writings, was published in London three years later (1851), by the Rev. Robert Ashton, and reprinted in the Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xli. (1852).

Next in chronological order comes the publication of the most important of all known sources of information respecting the Pilgrims from 1608 to 1646,—the History of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford, second governor of the colony. We have seen that this history was used, in manuscript, by various writers, but disappeared after 1767. In 1844 a History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, by the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Samuel Wilberforce), was published in London, in which quotations embodying new information were made from an otherwise unknown “Manuscript History of the Plantation of Plymouth, etc., in the Fulham Library.” The Bishop’s volume passed to a second edition in 1846, and was reprinted in New York in 1849; while in 1848 there appeared in London the Rev. J. S. M. Anderson’s History of the Colonial Church, in which reference was distinctly made to “Bradford’s MS. History of Plymouth Colony ... now in the possession of the Bishop of London.” But the significance of these allusions was ignored by American students, until February, 1855, when Mr. John Wingate Thornton, of Boston, called the attention of the Rev. John S. Barry, who was then engaged on the first volume of his History of Massachusetts, to the Bishop of Oxford’s book. Taking up the clew thus given, Mr. Barry conferred with Mr. Charles Deane, who sent at once to London for information, and by the replies received, was enabled to announce at the meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society, April 12, 1855, that the complete manuscript of Governor Bradford’s history had been found in the Library of the Bishop of London’s Palace at Fulham, and that an accurate copy had been ordered for the Society’s use. This transcript reached Boston in August, and was issued, under Mr. Deane’s able editorship,[287] in the spring of 1856, both as a separate publication and as volume xxxiii. of the Society’s Collections.[496]

How the manuscript came to be in the Fulham Library is uncertain; most probably it was taken from the Prince Library, upon the evacuation of Boston by the British in March, 1776, and was preserved and finally deposited in a public collection by those who perceived it to be of value. The desirability of its return to America has been repeatedly suggested; but as an individual bishop has no power to alienate the property of his See, nothing has yet been accomplished.

The next special contribution to the history of the Pilgrims in Holland was the publication of the “Seven Articles which the church of Leyden sent [in September, 1617] to the Council of England, to be considered of in respect of their judgments occasioned about their going to Virginia, anno 1618.” A contemporary transcript of this paper was found in the British State-Paper Office by the Hon. George Bancroft, and communicated by him, with an introductory letter, to the New York Historical Society, in October, 1856. It was included, in 1857, in vol. iii. of the second series of their Collections.[497]

In 1859-60 the Hon. Henry C. Murphy, of Brooklyn, N. Y., United States Minister at the Hague from 1857 to 1861, published in the Hist. Mag. (iii. 261, 335, 357; iv. 4) a series of four “Contributions to the History of the Pilgrim Fathers, from the Records at Leyden.” These valuable papers presented much new information (derived especially from the marriage records) as to the full names, ages, occupations, and English homes of Robinson’s congregation; they determined also the site and dimensions of his house, and the details of its purchase. Another fact, which was already known, that Elder Brewster during the last three years of his stay in Leyden was a printer and publisher, especially of books on ecclesiastical matters, both in Latin and English,[498] which it would not have been safe to print at home, received new illustration from Mr. Murphy.


The labors of Sumner and Murphy in Holland have been supplemented by the diligent researches of Dr. H. M. Dexter, whose work at Scrooby was mentioned above. In the Congregational Quarterly for January, 1862 (vol. iv.), he gave an account of the recent additions to our knowledge; and in the notes to his invaluable addition of Mourt’s Relation, in 1865, he traced the personal history of the Pilgrims, so far as an exhaustive examination of the Leyden records made that possible. In 1866, in company with Professor George E. Day, of Yale College, who had shared in the previous investigations, Dr. Dexter superintended the erection of a marble tablet, with appropriate inscription, on the front of the Home for Aged Walloons, which now occupies the site of Robinson’s house. In the Sabbath at Home for April, 1867, he published a graphic account of the “Footprints of the Pilgrims in Holland,” and in the Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. for January, 1872 (xii. 184), suggested some valuable corrections of Mr. Sumner’s Memoirs, respecting Robinson’s death and burial. The Leyden pastor’s influence and doctrinal position may be best studied in Dr. Dexter’s Congregationalism as seen in its Literature (1880), and in vol. iii. of the Rev. George Punchard’s History of Congregationalism (2d ed. 1867).[499]

For various contributions to fuller knowledge than Bradford affords of the negotiations in London, after removal to America had been decided on, great credit is due to the researches of the Rev. Edward D. Neill, especially in his History of the Virginia Company (1869) and his English Colonization of America (1871). Cf. Hist. Mag., xiii. 278. The same writer has investigated the personal history of Captain Thomas Jones, master of the “Mayflower,” in the Historical Magazine (January, 1869), xv. 31-33, and in the N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg. (1874), xxviii. 314-17. The charge that Jones was bribed by the Dutch in 1620, is considered by Mr. William Brigham in the volume of lectures published by the Massachusetts Historical Society on the Early History of Massachusetts, and in the Society’s Proceedings for December, 1868.[500]


For the colony’s affairs from the sailing of the “Mayflower” to 1646, the prime source of knowledge is Bradford’s History. At the time of emigrating, the author was in his thirty-first year, and his book was written at various dates, from 1630 to 1650, when he was from forty to sixty years of age. Less than four months after landing he became Governor, and for the remaining quarter-century covered by his History he held the same office, except during five years, when excused at his own urgent request. The foremost man in the colony for this long period, nature and opportunity equally fitted him to be its chronicler from the beginning. No one could speak with more authority than he of the inner motives and guiding policy of the original colonists,—fortunately, also, no one could exemplify more clearly in written words the ideal Pilgrim than does Bradford, with his grave, homely, earnest style, not unsuggestive of the English of the Bible. Between his style and that of Winthrop, the contemporary historian of the Bay, there is something of the same difference that existed between the two emigrations; and yet Bradford’s simple story, standing as it does as the earliest piece of American historical composition, possesses a peculiar charm which the broader, more philosophic page of Winthrop cannot rival.[501]


The special contributions by others to the history of Bradford’s period began in 1622 with the publication of Mourt’s Relation, a[290] daily journal of the first twelve months (Sept. 1620, to Dec. 11, 1621), so called from the name, “G. Mourt,” subscribed to the preface, but doubtless written by Bradford and Winslow. The standard edition is that of 1865, with notes by Dr. H. M. Dexter.[502] A few facts may also be gleaned from a Sermon (by Robert Cushman) preached at Plymouth, Dec. 9, 1621,[503] and from the second edition of Captain John Smith’s New England’s[291] Trials,—both published in London in 1622. Winslow’s Good News from New England appeared in 1624, continuing the narrative of events from November, 1621, to September 10, 1623.[504] Next came, after a long interval, New England’s Memorial, by Nathaniel Morton, printed at Cambridge in 1669, which professed to give the annals of New England to 1668; beyond the part supplied from Bradford and Winslow, however, there was little of value. Judge John Davis’s[505] edition of 1826 is still the best.[506]

To these materials the next sensible addition was in the “Summary of the Affairs of the Colony of New-Plimouth,” appended, in 1767, to vol. ii. of Governor Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts Bay, and containing some personal items not before collected. In 1794 a fragment of a letter-book, preserving copies of important letters written and received by Governor Bradford from 1624 to 1630, having lately been found in Nova Scotia, was printed in the Massachusetts Historical Collections, vol. iii.[507] In 1798 Dr. Jeremy Belknap included in vol. ii. of his American Biography sketches of the leading Pilgrims (Robinson, Carver, Bradford, Brewster, Cushman, Winslow, and Standish), which put in admirable form all then known of early Plymouth history.

The next quarter of a century added nothing to the existing stock of knowledge, unless by the publication in 1815 of the General History of New England to 1680, by the Rev. William Hubbard (born 1621, died 1704), which, so far as Plymouth was concerned, was little more than a compilation from sources already named. But with the issue, in 1826, of a new edition of Morton, and in 1830 of An Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth, by the Hon. Francis Baylies,[508] and in 1832 of a History of the Town of Plymouth, by Dr. James Thacher, was introduced the new era of modern research.[509]



[This is in the handwriting of Governor Bradford; it is also in Hazard, i. 100, and in the State edition, xii. 2. It is not clear when the entry was made. Pulsifer, Records, xii. p. iv., holds it was written in 1620; Shurtleff, Ibid., i. Introd., says that all entries dated before 1627 were made in this last year. Beside the account of the records in this introduction, there is another in 3 Mass. Hist. Coll., ii. Also see N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1858, p. 358. The State edition is in twelve volumes, usually bound in ten; and was originally sold for $75, but is now obtainable at a much less price.

The patents under which the colony governed itself have been defined in the preceding narrative, and in a note the first one is traced. (Cf. also Neill’s notes on it in N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1876, p. 413, and Poor’s Vindication of Gorges.) The second patent, of April 20, 1622, is not extant. The third, of Jan. 13, 1629-30, is at Plymouth in the Registry of Deeds, and is printed in Brigham’s edition of the Laws, Hazard’s Collections, etc. Cf. Mass. Archives, Miscellanies, i. 123.—Ed.]

The Legislature of Massachusetts gave fresh impulse to this spirit of investigation by publishing in 1836, under the editorship of Mr. William Brigham, the Laws passed in Plymouth Colony from 1623 to 1691, with a selection of other permanent documents. In 1841 the Rev. Alexander Young[510] collected, under the title of Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers from 1602 to 1625, the principal writings of that period, and, enriching them with a body of useful notes, made a volume which still retains a distinct value. In 1846 and 1851 a local antiquary, Mr. William S. Russell,[511] brought out two small volumes,—A Guide to Plymouth and Pilgrim Memorials,—which are not yet superseded; Mr. William H. Bartlett’s Pilgrim Fathers[512] (1853) added something to these local touches. Between 1855 and 1861 the Records of the Colony of New Plymouth were printed in extenso, by order[293] of the State Legislature, under the editorship of Dr. N. B. Shurtleff[513] and Mr. David Pulsifer.

The year 1856 was made memorable by the printing of Bradford’s manuscript, and two years later appeared the initial volume of Dr. John G. Palfrey’s History of New England, which comprehends by far the best of modern narratives of the complete career of Plymouth Colony. Only in subsidiary literature have the more recent years added anything. Valuable bibliographical notes on Pilgrim history, by the editor of the present volume, were printed in the Harvard College Library Bulletin for 1878, nos. 7 and 8; and the “Collections toward a Bibliography of Congregationalism,” appended to Dr. H. M. Dexter’s Congregationalism as seen in its Literature (1880), are indispensable to future students. In 1881 General E. W. Peirce published a useful volume of Civil, Military, and Professional Lists of Plymouth and Rhode Island Colonies to 1700.

Apart from strictly historical composition, the theme has inspired some of the greatest oratorical efforts of the sons of New England in the present century,—especially in connection with the stated annual celebrations of the Pilgrim Society,[514] formed at Plymouth in 1820 (a successor of the earlier Old Colony Club,[515] founded in 1769). Most deservedly conspicuous in this series are the orations delivered in 1820 by Daniel Webster, in 1824 by Edward Everett, and in 1870 by Robert C. Winthrop; of similar note are several of the orations before the New England Society of New York, founded in 1805. The Pilgrim Society has also fostered local sentiment by erecting (in 1824) Pilgrim Hall in the town of Plymouth, and by gathering within it a valuable collection of memorials of the early settlers and of portraits of historical interest.[516]

A portrait of Edward Winslow (engraved on a previous page) is in Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth, and is the only undoubted portrait of any of the Pilgrims now existing.[517] Of the many attempts to depict on canvas signal events of Pilgrim history, the most important is a painting by Robert W. Weir of the embarkation at Delft Haven, executed in 1846, and occupying one of the panels in the Rotunda of the Capitol at Washington.[518] The most imposing works of architecture and sculpture in commemoration of the same events are the canopy recently erected over the rock in Plymouth on which the Pilgrims are believed to have landed, and the monument on a neighboring hill-top.[519]


In poetical literature the most serious and sustained effort to represent the Pilgrim spirit is in Longfellow’s “Courtship of Miles Standish” (1859);[520] while in briefer compass Old England, through Lord Houghton (Prefatory Stanzas to Hunter’s Founders of New Plymouth) and Mrs. Hemans (“Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers”), and New England through Pierpont (“The Pilgrim Fathers”) and Lowell (“Interview with Miles Standish”), have vied in celebrating the character and deeds of the exiles of 1620.[521]





Vice-President of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The Council for New England.—This body was incorporated in the eighteenth year of the reign of James I., on the 3d of November, 1620, under the name of the “Council established at Plymouth, in the County of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering, and governing of New England, in America.” The corporation consisted of forty patentees, the most of whom were persons of distinction: thirteen were peers, some of the highest rank. The patentees were empowered to hold territory in America extending from the fortieth to the forty-eighth degree of north latitude, and westward from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and they were authorized to settle and govern the same. This charter is the foundation of most of the grants which were afterward made of the territory of New England.

This Company was substantially a reincorporation of the adventurers or associates of the Northern Colony of Virginia, with additional privileges, placing them on a footing with their rivals of the Southern Colony, whose franchise had been twice enlarged since the issuing of the original charter of April 10, 1606, which incorporated both companies. A notice of this earlier enterprise will but briefly detain us.

While the Southern Colony had attracted the wealth and influence of leading adventurers who represented the more liberal party in the government, and were enabled to prosecute their plans of colonization with vigor to a good degree of success, the Northern Colony had signally failed from the beginning. The former had established at Jamestown, in 1607, the first permanent English Colony in America. The latter produced no greater results than the abortive settlement at Sabino, known as the Popham Colony.[522] The discouragement following upon its abandonment prompted the withdrawal of many of the adventurers, though the organization of the patentees still survived; but of their meetings and records we have no trace. Sir Ferdinando Gorges himself would not despair, but engaged his[296] private fortune in fishing, trading, and exploring expeditions, and in making attempts at settlement. Many of these enterprises he speaks of as private ventures, while the Council for New England, in their Briefe Relation, of 1622, which I have sometimes thought was written by Gorges himself, speaks of them in the name of the Company. The probability is that Gorges was the principal person who kept alive the cherished scheme of settling the country, and by his influence a few other persons were engaged, and the name of the Council covered many of these enterprises.

Gorges now conceived the scheme of a great monopoly. King James had reigned since 1614 without a parliament, and during the following years down to the meeting of the next parliament, in January, 1620/21, a large part of the business of the country had been monopolized by individuals or by associations that had secured special privileges from the Crown. Gorges was a friend of the King and of the “prerogative.” Under the plea of desiring a new incorporation of the adventurers of the Northern Colony, in order to place them on an equality of privileges with the Southern Colony, Gorges had devised the plan of securing a monoply of the fishing in the waters of New England for the patentees of the new corporation, and for those who held or purchased license from them. He had the adroitness to enlist in his favor a large number of the principal noblemen and gentlemen. Relative to his proceedings, Gorges himself says: “Of this, my resolution, I was bold to offer the sounder considerations to divers of his Majesty’s honorable Privy Council, who had so good liking thereunto as they willingly became interested themselves therein as patentees and councillors for the managing of the business, by whose favors I had the easier passage in the obtaining his Majesty’s royal charter to be granted us according to his warrant to the then solicitor-general,” etc. The petition for the new charter was dated March 3, 1619/20; the warrant for its preparation, July 23; and it passed the seals Nov. 3, 1620.

An inspection of the several patents granted by King James will show that, in those of 1606 and 1609, among the privileges conferred is that of “fishings.” But the word is there used in connection with other privileges appertaining to and within the precincts conveyed, such as “mines, minerals, marshes,” etc., and probably meant “fishings” in rivers and ponds, and not in the seas. In the patent of Nov. 3, 1620, a similar clause ends, “and seas adjoining,” which may be intended to cover the alleged privilege. In this patent, as in the others, there is no clause forbidding free fishing within the seas of New England; but all persons without license first obtained from the Council are, in the patent of Nov. 3, 1620, forbidden to visit the coast, and the clause of forfeiture of vessel and cargo is inserted. This prevented fishermen from landing and procuring wood for constructing stages to dry their fish.

A few days after the petition of Gorges and his associates had been presented to the King for a new charter, with minutes indicating the nature of[297] the privileges asked for, the Southern Colony took the alarm, and the subject was brought before its members by the treasurer, Sir Edwin Sandys, at a meeting on the 15th of March, 1619/20, at which a committee was appointed to appear before the Privy Council the next day, to protest against the fishing monopoly asked for by the Northern Colony. The result of the conference, at which Gorges was present, was a reference to two members of the Council,—the Duke of Lenox and the Earl of Arundell, both patentees in the new patent; and they decided or recommended that each colony should fish within the bounds of the other, with this limitation,—“that it be only for the sustentation of the people of the colonies there, and for the transportation of people into either colony.” This order gave satisfaction to neither party. The Southern Colony protested against being deprived of privileges which they had always enjoyed. Gorges contended that the Northern Colony had been excluded from the limits of the rival company, and he only desired the same privilege of excluding them in turn. The matter came again before the Privy Council on the 21st of July following, and that board confirmed the recommendation of the 16th of March. Two days later, on the 23d of July, the warrant to the solicitor-general for the preparation of the patent was issued, and it passed the seals, as already stated, on the 3d of November.

On the following day, November 4, Sir Edwin Sandys announced at a meeting of the Southern Colony, or what was now known as the Virginia Company, that the patent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, containing certain words which contradicted a former order of the Lords of the Council, had passed the seals, and that the adventurers of the Northern Colony by this grant had utterly excluded the Southern Colony from fishing on that coast without their leave and license first sought and obtained. By a general consent it was resolved to supplicate his Majesty for redress, and Sir Thomas Roe was desired to present the petition which had been drawn.

On the 13th Sir Thomas Roe reported that he had attended to that duty, and that the King had said that if anything was passed in the New England patent prejudicial to the Southern Colony, it was surreptitiously done, and without his knowledge, and that he had been abused thereby by those who pretended otherwise unto him. This was confirmed by the Earl of Southampton, who further said that the King gave command to the Lord Chamberlain, then present, that if this new patent were not sealed, to forbear the seal; and if it were sealed and not delivered, to keep it in hand till they were better informed. His Lordship further signified that on Saturday last they had been with the Lord Chancellor about it, when were present the Duke of Lenox, the Earl of Arundell, and others, who, after hearing the allegations on both sides, ordered that the patent should be delivered to be perused by some of the Southern Colony, who were to report what exceptions they found thereunto against the next meeting. Two days later it was announced through the Earl of Southampton that, at a recent[298] conference with Gorges, it was agreed that for the present “the patent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges should be sequestered and deposited in my Lord Chancellor’s hands according to his Majesty’s express command.”

The Council for New England, in their Briefe Relation (1622) of these proceedings, recounting the opposition of the Virginia Company, say that “lastly, the patent being passed the seal, it was stopped, upon new suggestions to the King, and by his Majesty referred to the Council to be settled, by whom the former orders were confirmed, the difference cleared, and we ordered to have our patent delivered us.”

The modifications suggested or directed by the Privy Council appear not to have been embodied in the instrument itself as it passed the seals. Gorges’ friends were very strong in the council board, some of the members being patentees in the grant, and they carried matters with a high hand. But before the order came for the final delivery of the patent, Gorges and his patentees were called to encounter a still more formidable opposition. Gorges himself tells us that his rivals had plainly told him that “howsoever I had sped before the Lords, I should hear more of it the next Parliament;” and that this body was no sooner assembled than he found it too true wherewith he had been formerly threatened.

The Parliament met Jan. 16, 1620/21, it being the first time for more than seven years, and at once adjourned to the 30th of that month. On its assembling, the House of Commons immediately proceeded to present the public grievances of the kingdom, prominent among which were the monopolies that had sprung up like hydras during the last few years under the royal prerogative. On the 17th of April “An Act for the freer liberty of fishing voyages, to be made and performed on the sea-coast and places of Newfoundland, Virginia, New England, and other the sea-coasts and parts of America,” was introduced. On the 25th this was repeated, and a debate followed, opened by Sir Edwin Sandys, who called attention to the new grant obtained for what had now come to be called New England, with a sole privilege of fishing; also to the fact that the King, who had been made acquainted with it, had stayed the patent; that the Virginia Company desired no appropriation of this fishing to them; that it was worth one hundred thousand pounds per annum in coin; that the English “little frequent this, in respect of this prohibition, but the Dutch and French.” He therefore moved for “a free liberty for all the King’s subjects for fishing there,” saying it was pitiful that any of the King’s subjects should be prohibited, since the French and Dutch were at liberty to come and fish there notwithstanding the colony.

The debate was continued. Secretary Calvert “doubteth the fishermen the hinderers of the plantation; that they burn great store of woods, and choke the havens;” that he “never will strain the King’s prerogative against the good of the commonwealth;” and that it was “not fit to make any laws here for those countries which not as yet annexed to the Crown.”

The bill was committed to Sir Edwin Sandys, and a full hearing advertized[299] to all burgesses of London, York, and the port towns, who might wish to testify, that day seven-night, in the Exchequer Chamber.

On the 4th of June Parliament adjourned to the 14th of November, and in the intermission Sir Edwin Sandys was arrested and thrown into prison. It is significant that, notwithstanding this opposition in the House of Commons, the Privy Council, on the 18th, ordered that the sequestered patent be delivered to Gorges, in terms which provided that each colony (the Northern and the Southern) should have the additional freedom of the shore for the drying of their nets and the taking and saving of their fish, and to have wood for their necessary uses, etc.; also that the patent of the Northern plantation be renewed according to the premises, while those of the Southern plantation were to have a sight thereof before it be engrossed, and that the former patent be delivered to the patentees.

I have already remarked that the orders of the Privy Council early directed certain modifications to be made in the proposed patent which were not embodied in it when first drawn; nor were they ultimately included, although Gorges himself admitted, when afterward summoned before the Committee of the House of Commons, that the patent yet remained in the Crown office, “where it was left since the last Parliament” (he meant, since the last session of Parliament), “for that it was resolved to be renewed for the amendment of some faults contained therein.”

No doubt the intention was that a new patent should be drawn, and that the delivery of the existing parchment was provisional only.[523] The patent, however, never was renewed, though a scheme for a renewal of a most radical character was seriously contemplated all through the year following the dissolution of the Parliament in 1622; and Sir Henry Spelman and John Selden were consulted in regard to land tenures, the rights of the Crown, and the like, in reference thereto.

On the reassembling of Parliament in November, the subject was once again approached in the Commons. It was charged that since the recess Gorges had executed a patent. One had been issued, dated June 1, 1621, to John Peirce for the Plymouth people. He had also, by patent or by verbal agreement, by the King’s request, released to Sir William Alexander all the land east of St. Croix, known as Nova Scotia, confirmed to him by a royal charter September 10 of this year.[524] It was also charged that Gorges was threatening to use force in restricting the right to fish; and accordingly on the 20th an order was passed directing his patent to be brought in to the Committee on Grievances.[525]


The result was that on the 21st of December an Act for freer liberty of fishing passed the Commons, while previously, on the 18th, “Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Sir Jo. Bowcer, the patentees for fishing in and about New England, to be warned to appear here the first day of next Access, and to bring their patent, or a copy thereof.” Parliament then adjourned to the 8th of February; but it was subsequently prorogued and dissolved. Before the adjournment, in the afternoon, the Commons, foreseeing their dissolution, entered on their records a protestation in vindication of their rights and privileges; but the record is here mutilated by having the obnoxious passage torn out by the hands of the King, who sent for the Journal of the House and placed this mark of his tyranny upon it. Gorges himself, at this session of the Parliament, twice appeared before the Committee of the House, and had a preliminary examination without his counsel. He was questioned by Sir Edward Coke about his patent, which Coke called a grievance of the commonwealth, and complained of as “a monopoly, and the color of planting a colony put upon it for particular ends and private gain.” Gorges says he was treated with great courtesy, but was told that “the Public was to be respected before all particulars,” and that the patent must be brought into the House. Gorges replied by defending the plan of the adventurers, which he said was undertaken for the advancement of religion, the enlargement of the bounds of the nation, the increase of trade, and the employment of many thousands of people. He rehearsed what had already been done in the discovery and seizure of the coast, told of the failures and discouragements encountered, and explained the present scheme of regulating the affairs of the intended plantation for the public good. As for the delivery of the patent, he had not the power to do it himself, as he was but a particular person, and inferior to many. Besides, the patent still remained, for aught he knew, in the Crown Office, where it was left for amendment. He was then told to be prepared to attend further at a future day, and with counsel. In the end, also, the breaking up of Parliament prevented the bill for free fishing, which had passed the Commons, from becoming a law.

Of course, the opposition encountered—first from the Virginia Company and then from the House of Commons, the latter representing largely the popular sentiment—was a serious hindrance to the operations of the Council[301] for New England. The disputes with the former, the Council themselves say, “held them almost two years, so as all men were afraid to join with them.”

The records of the Council, so far as they are extant, begin on “Saturday, the last of May, 1622,” at “Whitehall,” at which there were seven persons present, “the Lord Duke of Lenox” heading the list. Some business was transacted before this date, as the first day’s record here refers to it. The record of the organization of the Council is wanting; and two persons named as present at this meeting—Captain Samuel Argall and Dr. Barnabe Goche—were not included in the list of the forty patentees. They must have been elected since, in the place of others who had resigned. Goche was now elected treasurer in the place of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. I think that the Duke of Lenox was the first president of the Council. In the patent granted to John Peirce, mentioned above as taken out on behalf of the Pilgrims, dated June 1, 1621,—which, I may add, was nearly a year before the date of any known record of the Council,—purporting to be signed by “the President and Counsell,” who have “set their seals” to the same, were the names of Lenox, Hamilton, Ro. Warwick, Sheffield, Ferd. Gorges, in the order here given, and one other name indistinct, with their separate seals.[526]

It is not improbable, therefore, that the business transactions of the Council, in this inchoate and uncertain period of its existence, were so few that they were preserved only in loose minutes, or files of papers, which were never recorded, and are now lost.

After they had freed their patent, they first considered how they should raise the means to advance the plantation, and two methods were suggested. One contemplated a voluntary contribution by the patentees; and the other, the ransoming the freedoms of those who were willing to partake of present profits arising by the trade or fishing on the coast. The patentees, in the one case, agreed to pay one hundred pounds apiece (the records say £110); in the other, inducements were offered to the western cities and towns to form joint-stock associations for trade and fishing, from which a revenue in the shape of royalty might be derived to the Council: and, in order to further this latter project, letters were to be issued to those cities, by the Privy Council, prohibiting any not free of that business from visiting the coast, upon pain of confiscation of ship and goods. This last scheme was not favorably received. The letters produced an effect contrary to what was expected, since the restraining of the liberty of free fishing gave alarm; and, as the Parliament of 1621 was about to meet, every possible influence was brought to bear against this great monopoly, with what effect we have already seen.

While the plan of voluntary associations failed, the business of exacting a tax from individual fishermen was prosecuted with vigor, and probably; in some instances with success. A proclamation against disorderly trading,[302] or visiting the coasts of New England without a license from the Council, was issued. A grand scheme for settling the coast of New England by a local government was marked out, and the Platform of the Government was put into print.[527]

The project of laying out a county on the Kennebec River; forty miles square, for general purposes, and building a great city at the junction of the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers, was part of the great plan. A ship and pinnace had been built at Whitby, a seaport in Yorkshire, at large expense, for use in the colony; and others were contemplated. They were to lie on the coast for the defence of the merchants and fishermen, and to convoy the fleets as they went to and from their markets. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who had been treasurer of the Council, was now chosen governor, and was destined for New England; but the Company were seriously embarrassed for funds, and finally were obliged to mortgage the ship to some of their individual members. The assessments of £110 each were not all paid in, and patentees who did not intend to pay were asked to resign, so that others might take their places. Constant complaints were made of merchants who were violating the privileges of the Company by sending out vessels for fishing and trading on the coast; and orders were passed for applying remedies. The plan for the new patent is constantly referred to in the records, and the present patentees are to be warned that they will have no place in it, unless they pay up their past dues. The inducement to be held out is, that all who actually pay £110 may have a place in the new grant, provided they “be persons of honor or gentlemen of blood, except only six merchants to be admitted by us for the service, and especial employments of the said Council in the course of trade and commerce,” etc. But their schemes were not realized.

In the Council’s prospectus already cited, issued in the summer of 1622, they say, “We have settled, at this present, several plantations along the coast, and have granted patents to many more that are in preparation to be gone with all conveniency.” The bare fact, however, is that the Pilgrims at Plymouth were the only actual settlers, and they had landed within the[303] patent limits by the merest chance. There may have been some other bodies of men, in small numbers, living on the coast, such as Gorges used to hire, at large expense, to spend the winter there. His servant, Richard Vines, a highly respectable man, was sent out to the coast for trade and discovery, and spent some time in the country; and he is supposed to have passed one winter during a great plague among the Indians,—perhaps that of 1616-17,—at the mouth of the Saco River.[528] Vines and John Oldham afterward had a patent of Biddeford, on that river. Several scattering plantations were begun in the following year.


The complaints to the Council of abuses committed by fishermen and other interlopers, who without license visited the coast, and by their conduct caused the overthrow of the trade and the dishonor of the government, led to the selection of Robert Gorges, the younger son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and who was recently returned from the Venetian wars, to be sent to New England for the correction of these abuses. He was commissioned as lieutenant-general, and there were appointed for his council and assistants Captain Francis West as admiral, Christopher Levett, and the governor of Plymouth for the time being. Robert Gorges had but recently become[304] a shareholder in the grand patent, and he had also a personal grant of a tract of land on the northeast side of Massachusetts Bay, ten miles along the coast, and extending thirty miles into the interior. This was made to him partly in consideration of his father’s services to the Company.

West was commissioned in November, 1622; and his arrival at Plymouth, in New England, is noticed by Bradford “as about the latter end of June.” He had probably been for some time on the Eastern coast as he related his experiences to Bradford, who says he “had a commission to be admiral of New England, to restrain interlopers and such fishing ships as came to fish and trade without a license from the Council of New England, for which they should pay a round sum of money. But he could do no good of them, for they were too strong for him, and he found the fishermen to be stubborn fellows.... So they went from hence to Virginia.” West returned from Virginia in August, and probably joined Captain Gorges, who made his appearance in the Bay of Massachusetts in August or September of this year, having “sundry passengers and families, intending there to begin a plantation, and pitched upon the place Mr. Weston’s people had forsaken,” at Wessagusset. By his commission he and his council had full power “to do and execute what to them should seem good, in all cases, capital, criminal, and civil.”

This sending out of young Gorges with authority was probably a temporary expedient for the present emergency, preparatory to the great scheme of government set forth, a few months before he sailed, in the Council’s Briefe Relation. Captain Gorges had a private enterprise to look after while charged with these public duties. The patent which he brought over, issued to himself personally, provided for a government to be administered “acording to the great charter of England, and such Lawes as shall be hereafter established by public authority of the State assembled in Parliament in New England,” all decisions being subject to appeal to the Council for New England, “and to the court of Parliament hereafter to be in New England aforesaid.”

Gorges remained here but a short time,—probably not quite a year,—having during his stay a sharp conflict with the notorious Thomas Weston, whom Governor Bradford, in pity to the man, attempted to shield from punishment. In speaking of Gorges’ return to England, Bradford says that he “scarcely saluted the country in his government, not finding the state of things here to answer his quality and condition.” His people dispersed: some went to England, and some to Virginia. Sir Ferdinando Gorges himself assigns another reason for his son’s speedy abandoning the country. He says that Robert was sent out by Lord Gorges and himself,—meaning, I suppose, that he came at their personal charge,—and that he was disappointed in not receiving supplies from “divers his familiar friends who had promised as much; but they, hearing how I sped in the House of Parliament, withdrew themselves, and myself and friends were wholly disabled to do anything to purpose.” The report of these[305] proceedings coming to his son’s ears, he was advised to return home till better occasion should serve.

The records of the Council show that for the space of one year their business was pursued with considerable vigor by the few members who were interested.[529] Sir Ferdinando Gorges, of course, was the mainstay of the enterprise. The principal business was to prepare to put their plans into operation. The money did not come in, and a large number of the patentees fell off. Much time was spent in inducing new members to engage, and pay in their money; and the efforts to bring the merchant fishermen to acknowledge the claims of the Council, and to take out licenses for traffic and fishing, were untiring.

Finally, in the summer of 1623, the Council resolved to divide the whole territory of New England among the patentees, “in the plot remaining with Dr. Goche,” the treasurer. The reasons given for this step are, “For that some of the adventurers excuse their non-payment in of their adventures because they know not their shares for which they are to pay, which much prejudiceth the proceedings, it is thought fit that the land of New England be divided in this manner; viz., by 20 lots, and each lot to contain 2 shares. And for that there are not full 40 and above 20 adventurers, that only 20 shall draw those lots.” Provision was accordingly made that each person drawing two shares should part with one share to some member who might not have drawn, or some one else who shall thereafter become an adventurer, to the end that the full “number of forty may be complete.” The meeting for the drawing was held on Sunday, June 29, 1623, at Greenwich, at which the King was present.[530]

The “plot” of New England, on which this division is shown, with the names set down according as the lots were drawn, was published the next year in Sir William Alexander’s Encouragement to Colonies; and on page 31 of his book the writer speaks of hearing that “out of a generous desire by his example to encourage others for the advancement of so brave an enterprise he [Sir Ferdinando Gorges] is resolved shortly to go himself in person, and to carry with him a great number well fitted for such a purpose; and many noblemen in England (whose names and proportions as they were marshalled by lot may appear upon the map), having interested themselves in that bounds, are to send several colonies, who may quickly make this to exceed all other plantations.”

Alexander must have been well informed of the intentions of the Company,[306] certainly familiar with those of Gorges himself; and it must have been with their knowledge and approbation that the act above recorded was thus published.


[This is a fac-simile of a part of the map, as reproduced in Purchas’s Pilgrims.—Ed.]

The meeting at which the division was made is the[307] last of which we have any record for a number of years, and the history of the Company during these years must be gathered from other sources. The grand colonial scheme intended to be put in operation never went into effect; and at a late period the Council say, concerning this division, that hitherto they have never been confirmed in the lands so allotted.

A new Parliament was summoned to meet February 12, 1623/24, and on the 24th we find this minute: “Mr. Neale delivereth in the bill for free liberty of fishing upon the coasts of America.” “Five ships of Plymouth under arrest, and two of Dartmouth, because they went to fish in New England. This done by warrant from the Admiralty. To have these suits staid till this bill have had its passage. This done by Sir Ferdinando Gorges his Patent. Ordered, that this patent be brought into the Committee of Grievances upon Friday next.” March 15, 1623/24, an Act for freer liberty of fishing, as previously introduced, was committed to a large committee, of which Sir Edward Coke was chairman. On the 17th, Sir Edward reported from this committee that they had condemned one grievance, namely, “Sir Ferdinand Gorges his patent for a plantation in New England. Their council heard, the exceptions being first delivered them. Resolved by consent, that, notwithstanding the clause in the patent dated 3d November, 18th Jac., that no subject of England shall visit the coast upon pain of forfeiture of ship and goods, the patentees have yielded that the Englishmen shall visit, and that they will not interrupt any fisherman to fish there.” Finally it was enacted by the House that the clause of forfeiture, being only by patent and not by act of Parliament, was void.

Gorges himself gives a graphic picture of the scene when he, with his counsel, was before the Committee of the House, and he spoke so unavailingly in defence of his patent. This patent was the first presented from the Committee of Grievances. “This their public declaration of the Houses ... shook off all my adventurers for plantation, and made many of the patentees to quit their interest;” so that in all likelihood he would have fallen under the weight of so heavy a burden, had he not been supported by the King, who would not be drawn to overthrow the corporation he so much approved of, and Gorges was advised to persevere. Still he thought it better to forbear for the present, though the bill did not become a law of the realm. Soon afterward the French ambassador made a challenge of all those territories as belonging of right to the King of France, and Gorges was called to make answer to him; and his reply was so full that “no more was heard of that their claim.”

Being unable to enforce the claim whence was to come the principal source of its income, and the larger part of the patentees having abandoned the enterprise, the Great Council for New England, whose patent had been denounced by the House of Commons as a monopoly and opposed to the public policy and the general good, became a dead body. In the following year, 1625, we hear of Gorges as commander of one of the vessels in the squadron ordered by Buckingham to Dieppe for the service of the[308] King of France. Finding on his arrival that the vessels were destined to serve against Rochelle, which was then sustaining a siege, Gorges broke through the squadron, and returned to England with his ship.

In the summer of 1625 the Plymouth people were in great trouble by reason of their unhappy relations to the Adventurers in London, and Captain Standish was sent over to seek some accommodation with them. At the same time he bore a letter from Governor Bradford to the Council of New England, urging their intervention in behalf of the colony “under your government.” But Bradford says that, by reason of the plague which that year raged in London, Standish could do nothing with the Council for New England, for there were no courts kept or scarce any commerce held.

Two years later, in the summer of 1627, Governor Bradford again wrote to the Council for New England, under whose government he acknowledged themselves to be, and also to Sir Ferdinando Gorges himself, advising them of the encroachments of the Dutch, and also making complaints of the disorderly fishermen and interlopers, who, with no intent to plant, and with no license, foraged the country and were off again, to the great annoyance of the Plymouth settlers.

After a patent to Christopher Levett, of May 5, 1623, the Council appear to have made no grants of land till, in 1628, two patents were issued,—one to the Plymouth people of land on the Kennebec River, and one to Rosewell, Young, Endicott, and others, patentees of Massachusetts. These were followed by a grant to John Mason, of Nov. 7, 1629, the Laconia grant of Nov. 17, 1629, that to Plymouth Colony of Jan. 13, 1629/30, and sundry grants of territory in the present States of Maine and New Hampshire.

The records of the Council, of which there is a hiatus of over eight years in the parts now extant (and the latter portion is a transcript with probably many omissions), begin on the 4th of November, 1631, with the Earl of Warwick as president, and contain entries of sundry patents granted, and of the final transactions of the Company during its existence. Precisely when the Earl of Warwick was chosen president we do not know. His name appears in the Plymouth patent of Jan. 13, 1629/30, as holding that office, and it is quite likely that he was president when the Massachusetts patent was issued, he being chiefly instrumental in passing that grant. The Council seem now to have revived their hopes as they did their activity. As late as Nov. 6, 1634, divers matters of moment were propounded: “First, that the number of the Council be with all convenient speed filled. [It appears by a previous meeting that there were now but twenty-one members in all, whereas the patent called for no less than forty.] Second, that a new patent from his Majesty be obtained.” Also, that no ships, passengers, nor goods be permitted to go to New England without license from the President and Council; and that fishermen should not be allowed to trade with savages, nor with the servants of planters, nor to cut timber for stages, without license. This, surely, is a revival of[309] the old odious policy. We do not know if any of these orders were adopted.

There seems at this time to have arisen a serious misunderstanding or quarrel between the Council and their President, the Earl of Warwick. It first appears at a meeting held June 29, 1632. The President was not present at this meeting, though it was held, as the meetings had been held for some years past, at “Warwick House.” An order was adopted “that the Earl of Warwick should be entreated to direct a course for finding out what patents have been granted for New England.” At the same meeting the clerk was sent to the Earl for the Council’s great seal, which was in his lordship’s keeping; and word came back that he would send it when his man came in. It was also ordered that the future meetings of the Council be held at the house of Captain Mason, in Fenchurch Street. But the seal was not sent, and two more formal requests were made for it during the next six months. Captain John Mason was chosen vice-president Nov. 26, 1632. The records for 1633 and 1634 are wanting. Early in 1635 the Council resolved to resign their patent into the hands of the King; preparatory to which they made a new partition of the territory of New England, dividing it among themselves, or, according to the records, among eight of their number. Of what precise number the Council consisted at this time we have no means of knowing. The division was made at a meeting held Feb. 3, 1634/35, and to the description of each particular grant the members on the 14th of April affixed their signatures, each person withholding his signature to his own share. In making this division it was ordered that every one who had lawful grants of land, or lawfully settled plantations, should enjoy the same, laying down his jura regalia to the proprietor of this division, and paying him some small acknowledgment. A memorandum is also made that “the 22d day of April several deeds of feoffment were made unto the several proprietors.”

The act of surrender passed June 7, 1635. Lord Gorges had been chosen president April 18. The Company seem to have been kept alive till some years later, as there is an entry as late as Nov. 1, 1638, at which it was agreed to augment the grants of the Earl of Sterling and Lord Gorges and Sir F. Gorges, the two latter to have “sixty miles more added to their proportions further up into the main land.” Of course, in making this division the whole patent of Nov. 3, 1620, was not divided, for that ran from sea to sea. It was a division on the New England coast, running back generally sixty miles inland. It was part of the plan to procure from the King, under the great seal of England, a confirmation of these several grants. Lord Sterling’s grant included also Long Island, near Hudson’s River.

The intention in this division was to ride over the Massachusetts patent of 1628, which had been confirmed the following year by a charter of incorporation from the King, and legal proceedings were soon afterward instituted by a writ of quo warranto for vacating their franchises. The notorious Thomas Morton was retained as a solicitor to prosecute this suit.[310] The grants issued in this division to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and to John Mason are the only ones with which subsequent history largely deals.[531]

The King, in accepting the resignation of the Grand Patent, resolved to take the management of the affairs of New England into his own hands, and to appoint as his general governor Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who himself, or by deputy, was to reside in the country. But “the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley.” The attempt to vacate the charter of Massachusetts Bay, a fundamental thing to be done, was not accomplished. The patentees to whom several of the divisions of the territory of New England were assigned appear to have wholly neglected their interest, and, except in the case of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, before referred to, royal charters were granted to none.

Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut were settled under grants, or alleged grants, from the Council for New England. The grant of the territory of Massachusetts Bay of March 19, 1627/28, was in the following year confirmed by the Crown, with powers of government. The grant to Sir Ferdinando Gorges in the general division of February, 1634/35, with an additional sixty miles into the interior subsequently added, was confirmed by the Crown April 3, 1639, with a charter constituting him Lord Proprietor of the Province of Maine, and giving him extraordinary powers of government. The territory issued to John Mason at the general division, which was to be called New Hampshire, the parchment bearing date April 22, 1635, was never confirmed by the King, nor were any powers of government granted. The first settlements in Connecticut,—namely, those of the three towns on the river of that name, in 1635 and 1636,—were made under the protection of Massachusetts, as though the territory had been part of that colony. But the inhabitants subsequently acquired a quasi claim to this territory, under what is known as the “old patent of Connecticut,” impliedly proceeding from the Council for New England, through the Earl of Warwick, to Lord Say and Sele and his associates. The settlers of Quinnipiack, afterward called New Haven, in 1638 and 1639, had no patent for lands, but made a number of purchases from the Indians. Plymouth Colony, of which an account is given here by another hand, received a roving patent from the Council, dated June 1, 1621, with no boundaries; and another patent, dated Jan. 13, 1629/30, defining their limits, but with no powers of government. The territory of Rhode Island was not a grant from the Council to the settlers.

Massachusetts.—There were scattered settlements in Massachusetts Bay prior to the emigration under the patent of 1627/28. Thomas Weston[311] began a settlement at what is now Weymouth Fore-River, in the summer of 1622, which lasted scarcely one year. Robert Gorges, as we have seen, took possession of the same place, in September, 1623, for his experimental government, but the colony broke up the next spring, leaving, it is thought, a few remnants behind, which proved a seed for a continuous settlement. Persons are found temporarily at Nantasket in 1625, and perhaps earlier; at Mount Wollaston the same year, and at Thompson’s Island in 1626. The solitary William Blaxton, clerk, is traced to Shawmut, (Boston) in 1625 or 1626, and the equally solitary Samuel Maverick, at Noddles’ Island, about the same time; while Walford, the blacksmith, is found at Charlestown in 1629. The last three named are reasonably conjectured to have formed part of Robert Gorges’ company at Weymouth, in 1623/24.

The Dorchester Fishing Company, in England, of which the Rev. John White, a zealous Puritan minister of that town, was a member, resolved to make the experiment of planting a small colony somewhere upon the coast, so that the fishing vessels might leave behind in the country all the spare men not required to navigate their vessels home, who might in the mean time employ themselves in planting, building, etc., and be ready to join the ships again on their return to the coast at the next fishing season. Cape Ann was selected as the site of this experiment, and in the autumn of 1623 fourteen men were left there to pass the winter. In the latter part of the year 1625 Roger Conant, who had been living at Plymouth and at Nantasket, was invited to join this community as its superintendent, and he remained there one year. The scheme proving a financial failure, the settlement broke up in the autumn of 1626, most of the men returning home; but Conant and a few others removed to Naumkeag (Salem), where they were found by Endicott, who, under the authority of the Massachusetts patentees, arrived there Sept. 6, 1628. These old settlers joined the new community.

Endicott was sent out as agent or superintendent of a large land company, of which he was one of the proprietors, colonization being, of course, a prominent feature in their plans. In the following year, March 4, 1628-29, the patentees and their associates received a charter of incorporation, with powers of government, and with authority to establish a subordinate government on the soil, and appoint officers of the same. This local government, entitled “London’s Plantation in Massachusetts Bay in New England,” was accordingly established, and Endicott was appointed the first resident governor. The charter evidently contemplated that the government of the Company should be administered in England. In a few[312] months, however, the Company resolved to transfer the charter and government from London to Massachusetts Bay; and Matthew Cradock, who had been the first charter governor, resigned his place, and John Winthrop, who had resolved to emigrate to the colony, was chosen governor of the Company in his stead. On the transfer of the Company to Massachusetts by the arrival of Winthrop, the subordinate government, of which Endicott was the head, was silently abolished, and its duties were assumed by its principal, the corporation itself, which took immediate direction of affairs. As the successor of Cradock, Winthrop was the second governor of the Massachusetts Company, yet he was the first who exercised his functions in New England.

The Massachusetts charter was not adapted for the constitution of a commonwealth; therefore, as the colony grew in numbers it became necessary for it to assume powers not granted in that instrument. Between the years 1630 and 1640 about twenty thousand persons arrived in the colony, after which, for many years, it is supposed that more went back to England than came thence hither. Previous to the year last named the colony had furnished emigrants to settle the colonies of Connecticut, New Haven, and Rhode Island.

The charter gave power to the freemen to elect annually a governor, deputy-governor, and eighteen assistants, who should make laws for their own benefit and for the government of the colony; and provision was made for general courts and courts of assistants, which exercised judicial as well as legislative powers. But at the first meeting of the general court in Boston, in October, 1630, it was ordered that the governor and deputy-governor should be chosen by the assistants out of their own number. This rule was of short duration, as in May, 1632, the freemen resumed the right of election, and the basis of a second house of legislature was laid.

The colonists, though Puritans, were Church of England men, and were fearful of rigid separation; but Winthrop and his party,—among whom was John Wilson, a graduate of King’s College, Cambridge, and destined to become their first minister,—found on their arrival a church already established at Salem on the basis of separation. Thenceforward, following that example, the Massachusetts colony became a colony of congregational churches. It has been a favorite saying with eulogists of Massachusetts, that the pious founders of the colony came over to this wilderness to establish here the principle of civil and religious liberty, and to transmit the same inviolate to their remotest posterity. Probably nothing was further from their purpose, which was simply to find a place where they themselves, and all who agreed with them, could enjoy such liberty. This was a desirable object to attain, and they made many sacrifices for it, and felt that they had a right to enjoy it.

The banishment of Roger Williams, and of Mrs. Hutchinson and her[313] sympathizers, was no doubt largely due to the feeling that the peace of the community was endangered by their presence. In the unhappy episode of the Quakers, at a later period, the colonial authorities were wrought into a frenzy by these “persistent intruders.” It seemed to be a struggle on both sides for victory; but though four Quakers were hanged on Boston Common, the Quakers finally conquered. In the second year of the settlement, in order to keep the government in their own hands, or, in the language of the Act, “to the end the body of the commons may be preserved of honest and good men,” the Court ordered that thenceforward no one should be elected a freeman unless he was a member of one of the churches of the colony. Probably there were as good men outside the churches as there were inside, and by and by a clamor was raised by those who felt aggrieved at being denied the rights of freemen; but the rule was not modified till after the Restoration.

[This portrait of the first minister of Boston hangs in the gallery of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Its authenticity has been in turn questioned and maintained. Cf. Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. September, 1867, and December, 1880.—Ed.]

A few unsavory persons whom Winthrop and his company found here and speedily sent away, on their arrival home failed not to make representations injurious to the Puritan settlement, and they were seconded by the influence of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason. Attempts were made in 1632 to vacate the colony’s charter; but these attempts proved unsuccessful. A more serious effort was made a few years later, when the Council for New England resigned its franchises into the hands of the King; but owing to the trouble which environed the government in England, and to other causes not fully explained, the colony then escaped, as it also escaped at the same time the impending infliction of a general governor for New England.


In 1640 some of the colony’s friends in England wrote to the authorities here advising them to send some one to England to solicit favors of the Parliament. “But, consulting about it,” says Winthrop, “we declined the motion, for this consideration,—that if we should put ourselves under the protection of Parliament, we must then be subject to all such laws as they should make, or at least such as they might impose upon us; in which course, though they should intend our good, yet it might prove very prejudicial to us.” From 1640 to 1660 the colony was substantially an independent commonwealth, and during this period they completed a system of laws and government which, taken as a whole, was well adapted to their wants. Their “Body of Liberties” was established in 1641, and three editions of Laws were published by authority, and put in print in 1649, in 1660, and in 1672. The first law establishing public schools was passed in October, 1647. Harvard College had already, in 1637, been established at Cambridge.


[This group gives the names of some of the victims of the judicial extremities practised in Boston. See Bowden’s Friends in America, and the Memorial History of Boston. Cf. the note on the treatment of the early Quakers in New England, in chapter xii.—Ed.]

The ecclesiastical polity of the churches, embodied in the “Cambridge Platform,” was drawn up in 1648, and printed in the following year, and was finally approved by the General Court in 1651.

The community was obliged to feel its way, and adapt its legislation rather to its exigencies than to its charter. The aristocratical element in the society early cropped out in the institution of a Council for life, which[315] may have had its origin in suggestions from England; but it met with little favor.

The confederation of the United Colonies, first proposed by Connecticut, was an act of great wisdom, foreshadowing the more celebrated political unions of the English race on this continent, for they all have recognized the common maxim, that “Union is strength.” The colonists were surrounded by “people of several nations and strange language,” and the existence of the Indian tribes within the boundaries of the New England settlements was the source of ceaseless anxiety and alarm. The Pequot War had but recently ended, and it had left its warning. It would have been an act of grace to admit the Maine and Narragansett settlements to this union, but it was probably impracticable.


[This portrait of a leading physician of the colony hangs in the gallery of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and is inscribed “Ætatis suæ 66 ann. suo,” and purports to be a Dr. John Clark, and is probably the physician of that name of Newbury and Boston, who died in 1664. His son John, likewise a physician, was also a prominent public man in Boston, and died in 1690. That it is the former is believed by Dr. Thacher in his American Medical Biography, and by Coffin in his History of Newbury, both of whom give lithographs of the picture. Dr. Appleton, who printed an account of the Society’s portrait in its Proceedings, September, 1867, also took this view; while the Rev. Dr. Harris, in the Society’s Collections, third series, vii. 287, finds the year 1675 in the inscription, which is not there, and identifies the subject of the picture with another Dr. John Clark, who was prominent in Rhode Island history. There was still a third Dr. John Clark, son of John, and of Boston, who died in 1728. It is not probably determinable beyond doubt which of the earlier two this is; and Savage, in his Genealogical Dictionary, gives twenty-five John Clarks as belonging to New England before the end of the first century; but of these only four are physicians, as above named. Cf. Massachusetts Historical Society’s Proceedings, July, 1844, p. 287.—Ed.]

The conversion of the Indian tribes to Christianity was a subject which the colony had much at heart, and a number of its ministers had fitted themselves for the work: the special labors of the Apostle Eliot need only be mentioned. Through the instrumentality of Edward Winslow, a society for propagating the gospel[316] among the Indians was incorporated in England in 1649, and the Commissioners of the United Colonies were made the agents of its corporation as long as the union of the colonies lasted.

The Massachusetts colonists were at first seriously tasked for the means of subsistence; but these anxieties soon passed away. Industry took the most natural forms. Agriculture gave back good returns. To the invaluable Indian maize were added all kinds of English grain, as well as vegetables and fruits. Some were indigenous to the soil. English seeds of hay and of grain returned bountiful crops. All animals with which New England farms are now stocked then well repaid in increase the care bestowed upon them. The manufacture of clothing was of slower growth. Thread and yarn were spun and knit by the women at home; but in a few years weaving and fulling mills were set up, and became remunerative. The manufacture of salt, saltpetre, gunpowder, and glassware gave employment to many, while the brickmaker, the mason, the carpenter, and indeed all kindred trades found occupation. The forests were a source of income. Boards, clapboards, shingles, staves, and, at a later period, masts had a ready sale. Furs and peltry, received in barter from the Indians, became features of an export trade. The fisheries should be specially enumerated as a source of wealth, and this industry led to the building of ships, which were the medium of commerce with the neighboring colonies, the West Indies, and even with Spain.[532]

After the coin brought over by the settlers had gone back to England to pay for supplies, the colony was greatly embarrassed for a circulating medium, and Indian corn and beaver-skins were early used as currency, while wampum was employed in trade with the Indians. The colony, however, in 1652 established a mint, where was coined, from the Spanish silver which had been introduced from the West Indies, and from whatever bullion and plate might be sent in from any quarter, the New England money so well known in our histories of American coinage.[533] The relation of the colony to the surrounding New England plantations is noticed further on in the brief accounts given of those settlements.

Events in England moved rapidly onward. The execution of King Charles occurred about two months before the death of Winthrop, which happened on the 26th of March, 1648/49, and it is certain that the latter never heard of the tragic end of his old master. The colonists prudently acknowledged their subjection to the Parliament, and afterward to Cromwell, so far as was necessary to keep upon terms with both. Hutchinson says that he had nowhere met with any marks of disrespect to the memory of the late king, and that there was no room to suppose they bore any disaffection to his son; and if they feared his restoration, it was because they expected a change in religion, and that a persecution of all Nonconformists would follow. Charles II. was tardily proclaimed in the colony, owing, perhaps, to a lack of definite information as to the state of politics in England, and to rumors that the people there were in an unsettled condition.


[See note on this portrait in the Memorial History of Boston, i. 309.—Ed.]

A loyal address was finally agreed upon and sent; but he was not proclaimed till August of the following year, 1661. The Restoration brought trouble to the colony. Among those who laid their grievances before the King in Council were Mason and Gorges, each a grandson and heir of a more distinguished proprietor of lands in New England. They alleged that the colony had, in violation of the rights of the petitioners, extended its jurisdiction over the provinces of New Hampshire and Maine. The Quakers[318] and some of the Eastern people also had their complaints to make against the colony.

To the humble address made to the King a benignant answer was received; but an order soon afterward came that persons be sent over authorized to make answer for the colony to all complaints alleged against it. These agents on their return brought a letter from the King to the colony, in which he promised to preserve its patent and privileges; but he also required of the colony that its laws should be reviewed, and such as were against the King’s authority repealed; that the oath of allegiance and the forms of justice be administered in the King’s name; that no one who desired to use the book of Common Prayer should be prejudiced thereby as to the baptism of his children or admission to the sacrament or to civil privilege.

These requirements were grievous to the people of Massachusetts; but worse was to come. In the spring of 1664 intelligence was brought that several men-of-war were coming from England with some gentlemen of distinction on board, and preparations were made to receive them. At the next meeting of the General Court a day of fasting and prayer was appointed, and their patent and its duplicate were brought into Court and committed to the charge of four trusty men for safe-keeping. The ships arrived in July, with four commissioners having authority for reducing the Dutch at Manhados, and for visiting the several New England colonies, and hearing and determining all matters of complaint, and settling the peace and security of the country. Proceeding on their errand to the Manhados, the Dutch surrendered on articles.[534] In the mean time an address was agreed upon by the Court to be sent to the King, in which was recounted the sacrifices and early struggles of the colonists, while they prayed for the preservation of their liberties. Colonel Nichols remaining in New York, the other commissioners returned to New England, and, having despatched their business elswhere, came to Boston in May, 1665, after they had been joined by Colonel Nichols. Governor Endicott had died the preceding March, and Mr. Bellingham, the deputy-governor, stood in his place. The commissioners laid their claim before the Court, and demanded an answer. There was skirmishing on both sides. It is a long story, filling many pages of the colony records. The envoys asked to have their commission acknowledged by the government; but this would have overridden the charter of the colony, and placed the inhabitants at the mercy of their enemies. In short, the authorities refused to yield, and the commissioners, after being defeated in other attempts to effect their purpose, were called home. Several letters and addresses followed. Thus ended for a time the contest with the Crown. For nearly ten years there was an almost entire suspension of political relations between New England and the mother country. But the projects of the Home Government were not given over. Gorges and Mason persisted in their claims. In the mean time New England was ravaged by an Indian war, known as Philip’s War. The distress was great, and the loss of life fearful. During its progress Edward Randolph, the evil genius of New England, appeared on the scene, prepared for mischief.



[This is considered the oldest meeting-house in present use in New England. It was erected in 1681. Cf. The Commemorative Services of the First Parish in Hingham on the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Building of its Meeting-House, Aug. 8, 1881 (Hingham, 1882), with another view of the building,—a photograph; also E. A. Horton’s Discourse, Jan. 8, 1882. A meeting-house of similar type, erected in Lynn in 1682, is represented in Lynn, Her First Two Hundred and Fifty Years, p. 117.

The annexed autographs, taken from a document in the Trumbull Manuscripts, in the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Cabinet, and dated 1690, represent some of the leading ministers of the colony at the close of the colonial period. Morton was of Charlestown; Allen of Boston; Wigglesworth, the author of the Day of Doom, a sulphurous poem greatly famous in its day, was of Malden; Moodey was of Portsmouth; Willard and Mather of Boston; and Walter of Roxbury.—Ed.]

He arrived in July, 1676, with a letter from the King and with complaints from Mason and Gorges, and armed with a royal order for agents to be sent to England to[320] make answer. This was but the beginning of the end. The legal authorities in England, before whom the case was brought, decided that neither Maine nor New Hampshire was within the chartered limits of Massachusetts, and that the title of the former was in the grandson of the original proprietor. Whereupon the agent of Massachusetts bought the patent of Maine from its proprietor for £1,250, and stood in his shoes as lord paramount.

This greatly displeased the King, and the hostility to the colony continued. Additional charges, such as illegal coining of money, violations of the laws of trade and navigation, and legislative provisions repugnant to the laws of England and contrary to the power of the charter, were now alleged against the colony. The agents of the colony and the emissaries of the Crown crossed and recrossed the ocean with apologies on the one hand and requisitions[321] on the other; but nothing would satisfy the Crown but the subjugation of the colony. A quo warranto against the Governor and Company was issued in 1683; and finally, by a new suit of scire facias brought in the Court of Chancery, judgment against the Company was entered up Oct. 23, 1684. Intelligence of this was not officially received till the following summer. Meantime the new king, James II., was proclaimed, April 20, 1685. The government of the colony was expiring. The “Rose” frigate arrived in Boston May 14, 1686, bringing a commission for Joseph Dudley as President of the Council for Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Maine, and the Narraganset country, or King’s Province. There was no House of Deputies to oppose him. Dudley was succeeded by Sir Edmund Andros on the 19th of December, who had arrived in the frigate “Kingfisher,” with a commission for the government of New England. He was detested by the colony, and the people only needed a rumor of the revolution in England, which reached Boston in the spring of 1689, to provoke a rising, and he was thrown into prison.[535] A provisional government, with the old charter-officers, was instituted, and continued till the new charter of 1691 was inaugurated.

Maine.—There were many settlements on the coast of Maine prior to the grant to Gorges from the Council in 1635, and consequently before his subsequent charter from the King. Indeed, very little was done by Gorges as Lord Proprietor of Maine. The patents from the Council to the year 1633 had embraced the whole territory from Piscataqua to Penobscot, thus including the territory on both sides the Kennebec, which was claimed by the Pilgrims of Plymouth under their patent of Jan. 13, 1629/30. In various places settlements had already been begun. In the royal charter to Gorges, whose grant extended from Piscataqua to Sagadahoc, the rights of previous grantees were reserved to them, they relinquishing or laying down their jura regalia.

The earliest permanent settlement in this State, on the mainland, would seem to have been made at Pemaquid. One John Brown, of New Harbor, bought land in that quarter of the Indians as early as July 15, 1625, the acknowledgment of the deed being taken by Abraham Shurt, of Pemaquid, in the same month in the following year, if there is no error in Shurt’s deposition. Shurt says that he came over as the agent of the subsequent proprietors, Aldsworth and Elbridge, who had a grant of Pemaquid from the Council, issued Feb. 29, 1631/32, and that he bought for them the Island of Monhegan, on which a fishing settlement, temporarily broken up in 1626, was made three years before.

The settlement at the mouth of the Saco River must have begun soon[322] after Richard Vines took possession of his grant there in 1630. During the same year Cleeves and Tucker settled near the mouth of the Spurwink; but in two years they removed to the neck of land on which Portland now stands, and laid the foundation of that city. In applications to the Council for grants of land made respectively to Walter Bagnall and John Stratton, Dec. 2, 1631, the former represents himself to have lived in New Engl