Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726
17 August, 1622; Edward Wynne
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 200-204. Revised by P.E. Pope.
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Subjects: planters, servants, names, material culture, food, gardens, livestock, wildlife, salt, ordnance.
Another Letter to Master Secretary Calvert, from Captaine Wynne, of the 17th of August, 1622.
May it please your Honour:
Upon the 17th day of May, your Honour's letters of the 19th of February, I received here from the hands of Robert Stoning, etc. And so forward as in his former letter of the 28th of July, relating the manner and proportion of their building.
we have wheat, barley, oats and beans both eared and codded [podded], and though the late sowing and setting of them might occasion the contrary, yet it ripens now so fast, that it carries the likelihood of an approaching harvest. We have also a plentiful kitchen garden of many things, and so rank, that I have not seen the like in England. Our beans are exceeding good; our peas shall go without compare, for they are in some places as high as a man of an extraordinary stature; radish as big as mine arm; lettuce, kale or cabbage, turnips, carrots, and all the rest is of like goodness. We have a meadow of about three acres; it flourished lately with many cocks of good hay, and now it is made up for a winter feeding. We hope to be well fitted with many acres of meadow against another year. Of pasture land, we have already to serve at least three hundred heads of cattle; and to all this, if it please God, a good quantity of seed ground shall be fitted, and such buildings as we shall be able to accomplish.
Now in the next place it may please your Honour to understand that touching this country, the summer time here is so fair, so warm and of so good a temperature, that it produceth many herbs and plants very wholesome, medicinable and delectable; many fruit trees of sundry kinds; many sorts of berries wholesome to eat and in measure most abundant, in so much as many sorts of birds and beasts are relieved with them in time of winter, and whereof with further experience I trust to find some for the turn of Dyers.
Our high levels of land are adorned with woods, both fair and seemly to behold, and green all winter. Within land there are plains innumerable, many of them containing many thousand acres, very pleasant to see to, and well furnished with ponds, brooks and rivers, very plentiful of sundry sorts of fish, besides store of deer [caribou] and other beasts that yield both food and fur. Touching the soil, I find it in many places of goodness far beyond my expectation: the earth as good as can be, the grass both fat and unctuous and if there were store of cattle to feed it up, and with good ordering, it would become a most steadfast nourishment - whereof the large breed of cattle to our northern plantation [Cupids?] have lately given proofs sufficient, though since, they have been most shamefully destroyed. The air here is very healthful, the water both clear and wholesome, and the winter short and tolerable, continuing only in January, February and part of March; the day in Winter longer than in England; the nights both silent and comfortable, producing nothing that can be said either horrid or hideous. Neither was it so cold here the last winter as in England the year before. I remember but three several days of hard weather indeed, and they not extreme neither, for I have known greater frosts, and far greater snows in our own country.
At the Bristol Plantation, there is as goodly rye now growing as can be in any part of England. They are also well furnished with swine and a large breed of goats, fairer by far, than those that were sent over at the first.
The stones, kernels and seeds that Stoning brought me, were put into the ground presently after his arrival, the which are already of a pretty growth, though late set, for they came to my hands but upon the 17th of May.
The vines that came from Plymouth do prosper very well: nay, it is to be assured, that any thing that grows in England, will grow and prosper very well here - whereby it plainly appears unto your Honour, what manner of country the same is. Therefore it may please you to give credit unto no man that shall seem to urge the contrary. And, for my part, seeing that by the providence of God and your Honours mere favour towards me, this employment is fallen to my lot, I trust that neither God's grace in me, nor the experience that I have gained by the travels of my youth, will suffer me to wrong your Honour. Far be it from me to go about to betray you and my country, as others have done that have been employed in the like trust. I trust also that what I have undertaken, either by word or writing, will be found the characters of a true and zealous mind, wholly devoted unto your Honour's service, the good of my poor distressed countrymen, and to the advancement of God's glory.
It may please your Honour to understand that our salt-maker hath performed his part with a great deal of sufficiency, by whom I have sent your Honour a barrel of the best salt that ever my eyes beheld, who with better settling doth undertake to better this which he hath made already. I shall humbly also desire you to remember my last years suit, that our delicate harbours and woods may not be altogether destroyed, for there have been rinded this year not so few as 50,000 trees and they heave out ballast into the harbours, though I look on. It may likewise please your Honour to give express order, first, that such as be sent hither hereafter may be such men as shall be of good strength, whereof we stand in need of six masons, four carpenters, two or three good quarry men, a slater or two, a lime-burner and limestones, a good quantity of hard laths, a couple of strong maids that (besides other work) can both brew and bake; and to furnish us with wheels, hemp and flax and a convenient number of west-country labourers to fit the ground for the plough.
Secondly, that no more boys and girls be sent hither, I mean upon your Honour's charge, nor any other persons which have not been brought up to labour, for they are unfit for these affairs.
Thirdly, your Honour of necessity must send some guns and a gunner with his necessaries [ordnance], for the place and time do require it. It is a durable chattel; they will command the harbour and secure all.
We stand also in need of another brewing copper [kettle], some clapboards, more iron and steel, brick, some lime and tiles for a beginning, whilst the slate-quarry is in fitting.
A complete magazine of all things will be necessary with victuals, linen, woolen for apparel and bedding, with better coverlets, shoes of wet leather, Irish stockings, coarse knit hose, coarse ticks [ticking], good flocks [stuffing] in cask, and instead of cloth, coarse mingled kersies, and no canvas suits, nor any ready made. But otherwise, it may please your Honour to send tailors, such as will help to guard the place, and do other things. The like of other tradesmen, and all to be furnished out of the magazine, upon account.
I went to Fermeuse and Renews, upon the fourth of this month, to buy salt for your Honour against the next year, because it is so dear in England, and that which is now bought for the next year's fishing amounts to the number of 186 hogsheads.
It may please your Honour, that another iron mill, and two Bridewell mills may be sent hither, and then our bread-corn may be sent unground and if at any time it should happen to take wet, it may be dried again.
We want a dozen of leather buckets, a glazier, some glue, rats-bane [rat poison?], two fowling pieces of six foot in the barrel and one of seven foot, with a mold to cast shot of several sizes for fowling.
The last year I showed your Honour of much courtesy received from sundry masters; many this year have done the like, though some likes not our flourishing beginning and prosperity. Howsoever, I have proceeded with a great deal of care and respect unto your Honour's commandments, to use them with all humanity.
I hope you will be pleased to send us the plough next year and guns, for the time requires it. And so conclude, resting
Your Honour's most humble, thankful and faithfull servant,
Ferryland, 17 EDWARD WYNNE.
The names of all those that stay with me this year.
I looke for a mason, and one more out of the Bay of Conception [Conception Bay].