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Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726

22 August, 1659; [Reverend] Richard Blinman
extract from Letter to John Winthrop, junior [from Ferryland]

Winthrop Papers, vol.5, Massachusetts Historical Society, (Boston: The Merrymount Press, 1943).
Transcribed in Hans Rollman, "Anglicans, Puritans, and Quakers, in Seventeenth-Century Newfoundland", unpublished paper presented to the Atlantic Canada Studies Conference, St. John's, May 1992. Revised by P.E. Pope.

Subjects: religion, Puritan Church, cod, fisheries, ships, servants.


Honoured Sir

Having this opportunity by the return of the vessel, I would not omit a few lines to yourself. I should have done it by a former vessel, which set sail the next morning after I arrived, but she was weighing her anchors before I could write a few lines to Mr Davenport and another to Mr Thomson, only to give notice of our safe arrival, which I know our friends were very... We landed in Ferryland harbour the 20th day, in the evening, after our loosing from New London; and I suppose we had, 3 days sooner, if we had not fallen to the westward of Cape Race into Placentia Bay. The Lord brought us all safe and well: the mother with the little ones, who had little seasickness at all; and myself, beyond all expectation, none considerable; the children some of them fatter than when we set sail. And, through the great mercy of our God, the great inconveniences our friends feared were removed and those that were (especially in so small a vessel) the Lord helped us so to bear them that they were not overburdensome. Part of one night and of one day we had a strong gale and a grown sea, that we could not cook our provisions as at other times, and then my wife began to grow faint. But the Lord showed us mercy in mitigating wind and sea, that we got some hot victuals for her and the sucking child, and so both were refreshed. It would be too long to give your worship account of all particulars in our voyage; but the Lord was wonderfully gracious to us.

Being arrived, we were welcomed not only by our friends, viz. good Master Keeny [William Keeny ?], Ralph Parker (who also came to meet us and towed us up) but also by the Lady Kirke [Lady Sara Kirke] and sundry masters of ships and others, whom we never saw, together with an offer of passage for me and my family to England, in sundry ships of the west parts [West Country], wherein I could not but see a gracious smile of God. We have pitched upon Mr Denis who was in the Bay, who arrived since we did, I hearing a good report of him. 3 convoys already come by Bay of Bulls [Bay Bulls]. News you have, though not so late, yet more certain than we have, whereby you (I doubt not) understand the great revolutions in England - New England. Prayers and humiliations have prevailed much with God formerly and, I trust, they will so still. One Captain..., that lately came over to call Governor Treworgie [John Treworgie] to account for arrears to the proprietors, told me that Mr Hugh Peters [the Puritan Reverend, one of the signatories of the death warrant of King Charles I] is, about 4 months ago, in sore horror of spirit crying out of himself as damned, and confessing strange activities of which he is guilty. Sit fedes penes authorem.

Mary Fisher, the Quaker, and another named Esther [Esther Biddle] are arrived at St. John's harbour; and there they vent their opinions. I hear 2 or 3 masters of ships are perverted by them. Some have sent to me, to desire me to come over, but I see it not my way. I expect them here daily. I hear that some masters of ships forbid their men to hear them. They have both been (as they report) at Constantinople, and in other places among the Turks, which report fits [?] with letters I saw at New Haven.

Since my writing the former part of my letter, I have received a letter from Mr Denis, with whom I am to go, who in his own name and the name of many other masters of ships in St. John's harbour, do earnestly importune me to come over to them and press me with such arguments that I cannot but see a call of God in it. And I am to go suddenly thither, by a boat which they have sent in purpose for me. People flock from neighbouring harbours to hear the word of God and attend diligently. What fruit the Lord will give is known unto Himself. I cannot enlarge by reason of my intended voyage tomorrow morning....

Ferryland harbour, August 22, 1659.

Your Worships to his power
Richard Blinman

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