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The one from Plymouth destined to the northern shore, consisted of two ships and one hundred men, under command of Capt. George Popham, as president, and Capt. Rawly Gilbert, as admiral. · They sailed from Plymouth on the 31st of May, and arrived at Monhegan upon this coast August 11th, and then continued on to the Kennebec, where they planted themselves upon an island, in the mouth of that river.1* Here they built a fort, called St. George, and made preparations for a permanent settlement. But a succession of peculiarly unfavorable circumstances terminated the existence and hopes of this colony within one year from its commencement; and at the same time raised prejudices against the northern coast, which checked the spirit of colonization and discovery, and threw back the settlement of the country for a number of years. Smith says that “the country was esteemed as a cold, barren, mountainous, rocky desert;" and Prince adds, that
1 Prince, vol. ii, pp. 21, 251. Smith's N. E., p. 173. Jocelyn. The late Govo Sullivan thought he found traces of this settlement on Stage Island, as late as 1778; others suppose the settlement to have been made on Parker's Island, forming part of Georgetown.
*[Recent investigation has proved the statements of Sullivan and others, in regard to the locality of the first settlement to have been erroneous; and it is now known to have been on the peninsula on the west bank of the river near its mouth, called by the Indians Sabino, but now bearing the English name of Hunnewell's Point. Strachey, who was one of the colony, gives a description of the spot, which cannot be mistaken. The United States government are erecting a fort upon or near the site of Fort George, called Fort Popham, in honor of the Governor of the first colony. The occasion was improved, August 29, 1862, by the Historical Society, and a very large and respectable assemblage of persons from our own and neighboring States, and the British Provinces, to commemorate the two hundred and fifty-fifth anniversary of the planting of the colony, by addresses and appropriate services, and placing memorial stones on the walls of the fortress. The leading address was by John A. Poor, Esq., of Portland. A full account of these interesting transactions was published in a "Memorial Volume of the Popham Celebration,” issued from the press of Bailey & Noyes, of Portland, in 1863.]
Prince, vol. ii, p. 25.
they “branded the country as over cold and not habitable by our natives."
The large preparations that were made, and the circumstances attending this expedition, show that the design of the adventurers was to establish a permanent settlement. They had their President, their Admiral, Master of Ordnance, Sergeantmajor, Marshall, Secretary, Captain of the Fort, Chaplain, and Chief Searcher, all of whom constituted the council. But the colony arrived late in the season, and had but little time to make those preparations which were necessary to protect them from the severities of our climate in an inhospitable wilderness. They had been led to expect from the highly-colored descriptions of previous voyagers, a winter not more unfavorable than those to which they had been accustomed in England, and did not take those precautions which experience would have dictated. We can easily imagine that the hardships which they endured, would have discouraged stouter hearts than even they possessed, inexperienced as they were in the long and severe winters which then visited our northern region.
After the ill success of this undertaking, the patentees turned their attention rather to commercial enterprises than to the forming of settlements; and some of them individually sent out vessels every year to fish upon the coast, and to trade with the natives. Sir Francis Popham, son of Chief Justice Popham, and Sir Ferdinando Gorges were principally engaged in this business.
In the spring of 1614, an expedition was fitted out under command of Capt. John Smith, “ to take whales," "and also to make trials of a mine of gold and copper; if those failed, fish and furs were then their refuge.”'l Smith adds, “we found this whale-fishing a costly conclusion, 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
1 Smith's N. E., p. 175, and his letter to Lord Bacon.
we expected.” They were also disappointed in their mines, and he thinks the representation was rather a device of the master to get a voyage, “ than any knowledge he had of any such matter.” Leaving his vessels, Smith, with eight men in a boat, ranged the whole coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod : within which bounds he says, he saw at least forty several habitations upon the sea-coast, the principal of which was Penobscot. He adds, "westward of Kennebeke, is the country of Aucocisco, in the bottom of a large deep bay, full of many great Iles, which divides it into many great harbours.”! This refers to Casco bay, and Aucocisco, may be supposed to express the English sound of the aboriginal name of that extensive and beautiful bay.* Smith returned to England, where he arrived the 5th of August, and immediately prepared a map of the country which he had visited, and gave it the name of New England.
The next year (1615) Capt. Smith was again employed by Sir F. Gorges and others to visit New England, with a view of beginning a settlement there: for this purpose he was furnished with two ships, and a company of sixteen men to leave in the country. But he was driven back to port by a violent storm which carried away his masts. On the second attenipt, he was captured by the French. It does not appear that this celebrated adventurer ever came to America after 1614: he published his description of New England in London in 1616, and died in that city 1631.
Every year after this, vessels were sent to the coast to trade with the natives and to fish; many of which made profitable
1 Smith's N. E., p. 192. The same name is given to this bay by Jocelyn in his voyages, and the natives about it are called the Aucocisco, by Gorges in "America painted to the life." p. 43.
*[ Aucocisco came as near the sound of the Indian word for the bay as could be expressed in English, as Smith and the early voyagers caught the sound. It should be pronounced Uh-kos-is-co, the Uh being a guttural. The meaning of the Indian term according to the best interpreters is Crane or Heron, from the bird which then frequented its waters, as it does still.).
In 1615, Sir Richard Hawkins sailed from England with a commission from the council of Plymouth to do what service he could for them at New England ; but on arriving here he found a destructive war prevailing among the natives, and he passed along the coast to Virginia. In 1616, four ships from Plymouth, and two from London, made successful voyages, and obtained full cargoes of fish, which they carried to England and Spain. Sir F. Gorges also sent out a ship under the charge of Richard Vines, who afterward became conspicuous in the early history of Maine ; he passed the winter at the mouth of Saco river; from which circumstance, I suppose, was derived the name of Winter Harbor, which it still bears.
In 1618, Capt. Edward Rocroft was sent by Gorges in a ship of two hundred tons, to fish upon the coast. He captured a French bark lying in one of the harbors, sent her crew in his own ship to England, and retained the bark with a view to winter here. But some of his men conspiring to kill him and run away with his prize, he put them on shore at Sawguatock (Saco) and in December, sailed for Virginia. The men who were thus left, succeeded in getting to Monhegan Island, where they spent the winter, and were relieved in the spring by Capt. Dermer, in another of Gorges' ships.
Monhegan was a convenient stage for fishermen, and had become a place of usual resort; it is therefore probable, that buildings, or temporary shelters, had been erected upon it.
In 1620, a new charter was obtained of King James, by the Northern Company, bearing date November 3d. It embraced the territory lying between the forty and forty-eighth degrees of north latitude, including the country from Philadelphia to
1 Prince, vol. ii, p. 43.
2 Douglass, vol. i, p. 394, derives the name from Mr. Winter, who he says had a farm there ; but in this fact he is mistaken : Winter's farm was at the mouth of the Spurwink.
3 Prince, vol. ii, p. 54.
the Bay of Chaleurs, which empties into the gulf of St. Lawrence. The patentees were the Duke of Lenox, the Marquises of Buckingham and Hamilton, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and thirty-four others, who were styled the council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering, and governing of New England, in America.
Under this patent, were all the grants made, which originally divided the country between the Hudson and the Penobscot rivers ; beyond these bounds the patent of 1620, had no practical operation.
While these patentees were procuring a new charter, the more successfully to prosecute their design of private emolument, another company was arising of an entirely different character, who, without concert with the patentees or without their concurrence, and it may even be said without any design of their own, were to give the strongest impulse to the colonization of New England, and to stamp their peculiar features upon its future destinies.
The English residents at Leyden, had determined to seek security and freedom of worship in the wilderness of America, and in the summer of this year commenced their voyage for the Hudson river. But either by design or accident, they fell short of their destination, and arrived at Cape Cod, on the 10th of November, 1620. In this neighborhood they resolved to remain, and having selected the spot which they named Plymouth, they established there the first permanent settlement that was made in New England. The French had then a plantation at Port Royal, and the English had settlements in Virginia, Bermuda, and Newfoundland. The nearest plantation to them was the one at Port Royal.?
We can merely allude to this interesting company, in the
1 Hazard, vol. i, p. 103. Prince, vol, ii, pp. 70, 94. 2 Prince, vol. ii, p. 94.