History of the Colony of Avalon

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Ferryland names





Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726

28 July, 1622; Daniel Powell
Letter to George Calvert [from Ferryland]

Published in Richard Whitbourne, A Discourse and Discovery of New-found-land (London: 1622). Reprinted in Gillian Cell, ed., Newfoundland Discovered, English Attempts at Colonization, 1610-1630, Hakluyt Society 2nd series, no. 160 (London: Hakluyt Society, ©1982) 101-206; see 198-200. Revised by P.E. Pope.

Subjects: planters, health, livestock, forest, lumber, cod, fisheries, house.


Another Letter to Master Secretary Calvert, from Captain Daniel Powell, who conducted the new supply of men, that went for the plantation, the last spring, dated at Ferryland, 28th July, 1622.

Right Honourable:

May it please your Honour to understand, that on the 18th of April, myself and all the company, whose names I sent you in the list by my last from Plymouth, took shipping there and on the 26th of May (God's Holy Name be ever praised for it) we all arrived safe and in good health in Newfoundland. Our journey proved so long by reason of the contrary winds we continually had. For at the last three weeks together, we were forced to traverse the seas to and again, and got not forward to the westward in all that time one hundred leagues.

The accidents which happened in our outbound passage were these. The first week after our being at sea, three of our ewe-goats, by reason of their extreme leanness when they were bought and brought aboard, died, so that now we have but only one ewe-goat and a buck-goat left, the other buck dying likewise within few days after our landing.

On the 16th of May, the furnace in our ship took fire, and as God would have it, burst forth in the day time; otherwise it had endangered both ship and us.

On the 26th, as aforesaid, early in the morning we descried land in Newfoundland, a little to the northward of the Bay of Bulls [Bay Bulls], and before night came to anchor in Caplin Bay, within one league of Ferryland. The next morning our ship came about to Ferryland harbour, and there landed all our people, where we found the Governor and all his company in good health, as we all continue in the same, praised be God for it.

The coast and harbours which we sailed by, are so bold and good, as I assure myself there can be no better in the world; but the woods along the coasts, are so spoiled by the fishermen, that it is great pity to behold them, and without redress, undoubtedly will be the ruin of this good land - for they wastefully bark, fell, and leave more wood behind them to rot, than they use about their stages, although they employ a world of wood upon them and by these, their abuses, do so encumber the woods everywhere near the shore, that it is not possible for any man to go a mile in a long hour.

The land whereon our Governor hath planted, is so good and commodious, that for the quantity, I think there is no better in many parts of England. His house, which is strong and well contrived, standeth very warm, at the foot of an easy ascending hill, on the south-east, and defended with a hill, standing on the further side of the haven on the north-west. The beach on the north and south sides of the land lock it and the seas on both sides are so near and indifferent to it that one may shoot a bird-bolt into either sea. No cold can offend it, although it be accounted the coldest harbour in the land, and the seas do make the land behind it to the south-east, being neere 1000 acres of good ground for hay, feeding of cattle and plenty of Wood, almost an island, safe to keep any thing from ravenous beasts.

I have, since my coming, been a little abroad, and find much good ground for meadow, pasture and arable, about Aquafort, as well near unto the head of the harbour, as all the way between that and Ferryland. The nearness of the place and the spaciousness of those grounds aforesaid, will give comfort and help to the present plantation, and quickly ease your Honour's charges, if a plantation be there this next Spring settled. If, therefore, it will please your Honour to let me be furnished against that time, but with thirteen men, and give me leave to settle myself there, I make no doubt (God blessing my endeavours) but to give your Honour, and the rest of the undertakers, such content, that you shall have good encouragement to proceed further therein. So for this time, being loath to trouble your Honour any further, until the retune of Master Wicot [Willicott?], I humbly take my leave, and ever rest ready to do your Honour all possible service to the uttermost of my power,

Ferryland, 28th July, 1622.

Your Honours, humbly at command,
Daniel Powell

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