Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

ity might have had access. At all events his narrative bears every mark of authenticity.

Little is known of Strachey. The English editor of his account has used much industry in his researches into the Secretary's history, and what follows is the substance of his gleanings. The name of William Strachey first occurs in the second patent to Virginia. Vide Stith's Virginia, Appendix, No. 2 ; Smith's Virginia ; Hazards IIistorical Collections, Vol. I. 58 to 72. Strachey edited a quarto book accompanying Captain John Smith's Map of Virginia, Oxford, 1612.

Ile was in one of the vessels which left England to Virginia, May 15th, 1609. This vessel was wrecked upon the Bermudas. A description of this storm, written by Strachey may be found in Purchas, IV., 1734. On reaching Virginia, after leaving Bermuda, the new comers found the colony in such a condition from famine that all were about to return to England, when the opportune arrival of Lord Delaware, with a plentiful supply of provisions, determined them to remain. William Strachey was then appointed Secretary and Recorder. He was in England in 1612. The account by Strachey was probably written in 1618.

Says the English Editor : “ Two copies of the manuscript, both in the author's handwriting, (for there are a sufficient number of instances of it in the British Museum to prove its identity,) are all that have come under the cditors notice; one in the Sloane Collection, No. 1622, in the British Museum, from which the present publication has been transcribed : and the other among the Ashmolean Manuscripts, No. 1751. The only difference between these two is an alteration in the title of the second book, and the addition to the titles both of the first and second books of the motto, Alget qui non ardet. The Museum copy is dedicated to Sir Francis Bacon, 'Lord High Chancel

lor;' and that in the Ashmolean Library to Sir Allen Apsley, Purveyor to His Majestie's Navie Royall.'"

The English Editor has a note (under the date of Aug. 18 in the narrative) commencing with the words, “ Belknap in his American Biography," says that they landed on a peninsula. To this note should be added the following:

The late Governor James Sullivan wrote the paper referred to in the Massachusetts Iistorical Collections. He is the first writer who gave it as an opinion that this colony landed on an island. In this notion he is opposed by all who wrote before, whose writings on this part of American history had been published, e g. Purchas, Ogilby, &c. Strachey bears the same testimony. Perhaps if his expression “almost an island” had been written peninsula, the character of their landing place would appear to the reader-even more distinctly than it now does. The writer of this note is gratified in being able to cite the opinion of the Rev. Wm. Jenks, D. D. of Boston, but formerly of Bath, Me. who with a party of gentlemen visited the mouth of Kennebec River in 1807. He says " To the spot that bore evidence of the best claims to this distinction, and which is on a “peninsula,' they gave the name of Point Popham, which it retains.” It is trusted that the evidence now added may determine the locality of this colony beyond any further mistake, and that no more writers will follow Gov. Sullivan in his fancy on this point, as has heretofore been the case.

To any one who had the opportunity of examining the locality spoken of, the appropriateness of Strachey's language will be very striking. The writer of this note has just returned from a visit to this locality. Standing upon high ground near the centre of it, he saw at once that the phrase “ being almost an island, of a good bignes,” was a very accurate description. And from a pretty thorough examination of this peninsula, it

seemed as if the precise situation of the fort built by those early colonists might almost be settled. Conspicuous to all who enter or leave the mouth of the Kennebec is a two story dwelling house built by Maj. Shaw, standing a few rods from the sea coast and not far distant from the river just named. Near this house is a crescent-shaped pond, of fresh water, covering about five acres of ground. The land rises some forty feet on the north of this pond and then descends by an easy slope to the water of Atkins bay, giving sufficient space for the erection of a fort containing “fifty houses, besides a church and a store house.” A large supply of fresh water would evidently be needed for such an establishment as this. At the present day the water in the wells on the peninsula is more or less brackish, which in all probability has always been the case. Such a pond then would be of great value to a fortress. This fact and the adaptation of the land to such a building seems to be decisive as to the locality of the fort.

EXTRACT FROM STRACHEY.

CAPUT VII.

Capt. George Weymouth’s voyage, upon a right lyne (not' seeking the wynde in the accustomed height of the West Indies,) and falling with Sachadehoc, and the discovery of that river.

Much was commended the diligence and relation of Capt. Gosnoll; howbeit this voyage alone could not satisfye his so intent a spiritt and ambition in so great and glorious an enterprise as his lordship, the foresaid Earle of Southampton, who laboured to have yt so beginne, as that it might be contynued with all due and prepared circumstances and saffety, and therefore would his lordship be concurrant the second tyme in a new survey and dispatch to be made thither with his brother in lawe, Tho. Àrundell, Baron of Warder who prepared a ship for Capt. Georg Weymouth, which set sayle from Ratcliff in March, anno 1605, and which, about the midst of Maye following, fell with the land, an island unto the mayne of the coast of America, in the height, as he found yt, of about 42, who from thence casting yt norward to 44,—what paines he tooke in discovering, may witnes the many convenyent places upon the mayne, and isles, and rivers, together with that little one of Pamaquid, and of his search sixty miles np the most excellent and beneficyall river of Sachadehoc, which he found capable of shippinge for trafique of the greatest burden, a benefitt, indeed, alwaies to be accompted the richest treasure to any land ; for which we for our Severne and Thames, and Fraunce for Loire, Seine, and the river of Burdeux, and the Lowe Countries for their ynnumerable navigable rivers, receave our and their greatest wealth. Next he found the land faire, and the whole coast bold to fall with, and then, a safe harbour for shipps to ride in, which hath 'besides, without the river, in the channell and soundes about the island, adjoyning to the mouth thereof, so desired a road, as yt is capable of an infinite nomber of shippes. The river, likewise, ytself, as yt runneth upp into the mayne for very neere forty miles towards the high inland mountaines, he found to beare in breadth a myle, sometymes three quarters, and half a mile the narrowest; never under four or five fathom water hard by the shoare, and six, seven, eight, nine, and ten fathomes all along on both sides ; every half mile very gallant coves, some almost able to conteyene one hundred sayle, where the grownde ys soft ouze, with a tuffe clay under, for anchor hold, and where shipps maye lye without eyther anchor or cable, only moared to the shoare with a hauser; and which ioweth eighteen or twenty foot at high water, with fit docks apperteyning to graine or carine shippes of all burthens, secured from all windes, which is so necessarye and incomparable a benefit, that in few places

in England, or in any parts of Christendome, art, with great charges, can make the like ; besides, the bordering land most commodious and fertill, trending all along on both sides in an equall plaine, neither mountaynes nor rockye, but verged with a green border of grasse, sometymes three or four acres, sometymes eight or ten togither, so making tender unto the eye of the surveyor her fertility and pleasure, and which would be much more if, by cleansing away her wooddes, shee were converted into goodly meadowe ; and the wodd she beareth is not shrubbish, fitt only for fuell, but goodly oake, birch, tall firre and spruse, which in many places grow not so thick together, but may, with small labor, be made feeding grownd, being plentifully stoard, like the outward islands, with fresh water springs, which streame downe in many places. The woddes here are full of deare, hares, and other beasts, and reasonably well inhabited by the natives, of mild and good condicions ; many provinces (as about us within the Chesapeak Bay, and about Roanoack) governed in chief by a principall commaunder or prince, whom they call Bashaba, who hath under him divers petty kings, which they call Sagamoes, the same which the In. dians in our more sowardly parts call weroances, all rich in divers kinds of excellent furrs.

To take possession of this land and goodly river for his Majestie, Captain Weymouth thought it fitt to make up to the head of the river, which he did well sixty miles in his barge ; and as the streame trended westward into the mayne, and at that height yt beganne to narrowe, so he there sett upp a crosse with his Majestie's inscription thereon, observing all the waye, : that in noe place, eyther about the islands, or up in the mayne, or all alongst the river, there could be discerned any one token or signe, that any Christian had been there before, of which, eyther by cutting wodd, digging for water, or setting up crosses (memorialls seldom omitted) by Christian travellers, they might

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »