Sir George Calvert, Lord Baltimore; 19 August, 1629
Letter to King Charles I
Great Britain, PRO, Colonial Office,
CO 1/5 (27), 75.
MHA 16-B-2-011. Transcribed by P.E. Pope.
Most gratious and dread Sovereign,
Small benefits and favours can speak and give thanks, but such as are high and invaluable cause astonishment and silence. I am obliged unto your Majesty for the latter in such a measure as reflecting upon my weakness and want of merit, I know not what to say. God Almighty knows, who is the searcher of hearts, how mine yearns to sacrifice myself for your Majesty's service, if I did but know how to employ my endeavours worthy of that great goodness and benignity which your Majesty is pleased to extend towards me upon all occasions - not only by reaching your gracious and royal hand to my assistance in lending me a fair ship (for which upon my knees I render your Majesty most humble thanks) but by protecting me also against calumny and malice, which hath already sought to make seem foul in your Majesty's eyes. Whereas I am so much the more confident of God's blessing upon my labours in these plantations (notwithstanding the many crosses and disasters I have found hitherto), in that a prince so eminently virtuous hath vouchsafed to take it into the arms of his protection, and that those who go about to supplant and destroy me are persons notoriously lewd and wicked. Such a one is that audacious man [Erasmus Stourton], who being banished the Colony for his misdeeds did the last winter (as I understand) raise a false and slanderous report of me at Plymouth, which coming from thence to your Majesty's knowledge, you were pleased to refer to some of my Lords of the Council [Privy Council], by whose honourable hands (for avoiding the ill manners of drawing this letter to too much length) I have presumed to retune my just and true apology to your Majesty.
But as those rubs have been laid to stumble me there (which discourage me not because I am confident of your Majesty's singular judgments and justice), so have I met with greater difficulties and encumbrances here, which in this place are no longer to be resisted but enforce me presently to quit my residence and to shift to some other warmer climate of this New World, where the winters be shorter and less rigorous. For here, your Majesty may please to understand, that I have found by too dear bought experience, which other men for their private interests always concealed from me, that from the middest of October to the middest of May there is a sad face of winter upon all this land, both sea and land so frozen for the greatest part of the time as they are not penetrable, no plant or vegetable thing appearing out of the earth until it be about the beginning of May, nor fish in the sea, besides the air so intolerable cold as it is hardly to be endured. By means whereof, and of much salt meat, my house [the Mansion House] hath been an hospital all this winter. Of 100 persons 50 sick at a time, myself being one and nine or ten of them dyed. Hereupon I have had strong temptations to leave all proceeding in plantations and, being much decayed in my strength, to retire myself to my former quiet. But, my inclination carrying me naturally to these kind of works and not knowing how better to employ the poor remainder of my days than with other good subjectes to further, the best I may, the enlarging your Majesty's empire in this part of the world, I am determined to commit this place to fishermen, that are able to encounter storms and hard weather, and to remove myself with some 40 persons to your Majesty's Dominion of Virginia, where if your Majesty will please to grant me a precinct of land with such privileges as the King, your father, my gracious Master [in James I], was pleased to gaunt me here, I shall endeavour to the utmost of my power to deserve it. And pray for your Majesty's long and happy reign as
your Majesty's most humble and
faithful subject and servant.
Ferryland, 19 August, 1629.
[signed] George Baltimore