The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture

By John C. Miller | Go to book overview

A Description of New England

Captain John Smith

A few weeks' sailing along the coast of New England was enough to transfer Smith's loyalty from Virginia to the more northern latitudes of America. But whether Englishmen turned their attention to the North or to the South, Smith urged them to act before the Spaniards--whose prowess as conquistadores he never underestimated--pre-empted all of North America. Smith's writings had one cardinal objective: to persuade Englishmen and the English government to join without delay in the westward march of empire.

In the month of April, 1614, with two Ships from London, belonging to a few Merchants, I chanced to arrive in New England, a part of America, at the Isle of Monahigan, in 431/2 of Northern latitude. Our plan was there to take Whales and make trials of a Mine of Gold and Copper. If those failed, Fish and Furs was then our refuge, to make our selves savers howsoever. We found this Whale-fishing a costly undertaking: we saw many, and spent much time in chasing them but could not kill any, they being a kind of Jubartes, and not the Whale that yields Fins and Oil as we expected. As for our Gold, it was rather the Master's device to get a voyage that projected it than any knowledge he had at all of any such matter. Fish and Furs was now our guard: and by our late arrival and long lingering about the Whales, the prime of both those seasons were past before we perceived it. We thought that their seasons served at all times but we found it otherwise for, by the midst of June, the fishing failed. Yet in July and August some was taken, but not sufficient to defray so great a charge as our stay required. Of dry fish we made about 4000, of Cod fish about 7000.

While the sailors fished, my self with eight or nine others of them that might best be spared, ranged the coast in a small boat. We got for trifles near 1100 Beaver skins, 100 Martin skins and nearly as many Otters, and most of them within the distance of twenty leagues.

____________________
Travels and Works of Captain John Smith. Edited by Edward Arber.

-66-

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The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 15
  • Part I - Arrivals 41
  • The Plymouth Plantation 43
  • A Description of New England 66
  • The New English Canaan 76
  • Letters 77
  • The Crossing to Pennsylvania! 83
  • Part II - Daily Life 99
  • Pirates in Plymouth 101
  • Thomas Morton of Merrymount 103
  • The Merrymount Colony 108
  • Edifying Incidents 113
  • An Exemplary Christian 115
  • Inoculation for Smallpox 118
  • Courtship 132
  • Marriage 141
  • On Taking a Mistress 154
  • The Speech of Polly Baker 156
  • Riding through Virginia 159
  • Part III - God and the Devil 167
  • Religious Tolerance 169
  • In Defence of Intolerance 175
  • Witchcraft in Salem 179
  • Witchcraft in Salem 185
  • Witchcraft in Salem 190
  • The Devil in the Shape of a Woman 193
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 207
  • Personal Narrative 212
  • Part IV - The Indians 221
  • The Indians in Virginia 223
  • Pocahontas 231
  • The Pequot War 239
  • The Pequot War 244
  • Indian Customs and Manners 248
  • Captured by Indians 257
  • Part V - The South 291
  • Virginia 293
  • History of the Dividing Line 310
  • Part VI - Literature 351
  • Anne Bradstreet 353
  • Michael Wigglesworth 357
  • Edward Taylor 367
  • Bacon's Epitaph 370
  • Ebenezer Cook 372
  • Benjamin Franklin 377
  • Part VII - Four Colonial Views 387
  • Itinerarium Dr. Alexander Hamilton 389
  • Autobiography 419
  • Journal 437
  • Letters from an American Farmer 479
  • Bibliography 499
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