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Here is also plenty of cow-cattle, and some sheep; the people plough mostly with oxen.
IX. There are divers plants, that not only the Indians tell us, but we have had occasion to prove by swellings, burnings, cuts, &c. that they are of great virtue, suddenly curing the patient and for smell, I have observed several, especially one, the wild myrtle; the other I know not what to call, but are most fragrant.
X. The woods are adorned with lovely flowers, for colour, greatness, figure and variety; I have seen the gardens of London best stored with that sort of beauty, but think they may be improved by our woods: I have sent a few to a person of quality this year for a trial.
Thus much for the country; next
Of the Natives, or Aborigines.
XI. The natives I shall consider in their persons, language, manners, religion, and government, with my sense of their original. For their persons, they are generally tall, straight, well-built, and of singular proportion; they tread strong and clever, and mostly walk with a lofty chin of complexion, black, but by design, as the gypsies in England. They grease themselves with bears' fat clarified; and using no defence against sun or weather, their skins must needs. be swarthy. Their eye is little and black, not unlike a straight-looked Jew. The thick lip and flat nose, so frequent with the East-Indians and blacks, are not common to them; for I have seen as comely European-like faces among them of both, as on your side the sea; and truly an Italian complexion hath not much more of the white, and the noses of several of them have as much of the Roman.
XII. Their language is lofty, yet narrow; but, like the Hebrew, in signification full; like short-hand in writing, one word serveth in the place of three, and the rest are supplied by the understanding of the hearer: imperfect in their tenses, wanting in their moods, participles, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections: I have made it my business to understand it, that I might not want an interpreter on any occasion and I must say, that I know not a language spoken in Europe, that hath words of more sweetness or greatness, in accent or emphasis, than theirs: for instance, Octocockon, Rancocas, Oricton, Shak, Marian, Poquesien; all which are names of places, and have grandeur in them. Of words of sweetness, anna, is mother; issimus, a brother; netcap, a friend; usque oret, very good; pane, bread; metsa, eat; matta, no; halla, to have; payo, to come; Sepassen, Passijon, the names of places; Tamane, Secane, Menanse,
Secatereus, are the names of persons. If one ask them for any thing they have not, they will answer Mattá ne hattá, which to translate is, Not I have, instead of, I have not.
XIII. Of their customs and manners, there is much to be said; I will begin with children: so soon as they are born, they wash them in water, and while very young, and in cold weather to choose, they plunge them in the rivers to harden -and embolden them. Having wrapped them in a clout, they lay them on a straight thin board, a little more than the length and breadth of the child, and swaddle it fast upon the board to make it straight; wherefore all Indians have flat heads and thus they carry them at their backs. The children will go very young, at nine months commonly; they wear only a small clout round their waist, till they are big; if boys, they go a fishing till ripe for the woods, which is about fifteen; then they hunt, and after having given some proofs of their manhood, by a good return of skins, they may marry, else it is a shame to think of a wife. The girls stay with their mothers. and help to hoe the ground, plant corn, and carry burdens; and they do well to use them to that young, which they must do when they are old; for the wives are the true servants of the husbands; otherwise the men are very affectionate to them.
XIV. When the young women are fit for marriage, they wear something upon their heads for an advertisement, but so as their faces are hardly to be seen, but when they please the age they marry at, if women, is about thirteen and fourteen; if men, seventeen and eighteen; they are rarely older.
XV. Their houses are mats, or barks of trees, set on poles, in the fashion of an English barn, but out of the power of the winds, for they are hardly higher than a man; they lie on reeds or grass. In travel, they lodge in the woods about a great fire, with the 'mantle of duffils they wear by day, wrapped about them, and a few boughs stuck round
XVI. Their diet is maize, or Indian corn, divers ways prepared; sometimes roasted in the ashes, sometimes beaten and boiled with water, which they call homine; they also make cakes, not unpleasant to eat: they have likewise several sorts of beans and peas, that are good nourishment; and the woods and rivers are their larder.
XVII. If an European comes to see them, or calls for lodging at their house, or wigwam, they give him the best place, and first cut. If they come to visit us, they salute us with an ilah, which is as much as to say, Good be to you; and set them down, which is mostly on the ground, close to
their heels, their legs upright; it may be they speak not a word, but observe all passages: if you give them any thing to eat or drink, well, for they will not ask; and be it little or much, if it be with kindness, they are well pleased, else they go away sullen, but say nothing.
XVIII. They are great concealers of their own resentments, brought to it, I believe, by the revenge that hath been practised among them in either of these they are not exceeded by the Italians. A tragical instance fell out since I came into the country: a king's daughter thinking herself slighted by her husband, in suffering another woman to lie down between them, rose up, went out, plucked a root out of the ground, and eat it, upon which she immediately died; and for which, last week, he made an offering to her kindred, for atonement, and liberty of marriage; as two others did to the kindred of their wives, that died a natural death: for till widowers have done so, they must not marry again. Some of the young women are said to take undue liberty before marriage, for a portion; but when married, chaste: when with child they know their husbands no more till delivered; and during their month, they touch no meat they eat but with a stick, lest they should defile it; nor do their husbands frequent them, till that time be expired.
XIX. But in liberality they excel: nothing is too good for their friend: give them a fine gun, coat, or other thing, it may pass twenty hands before it sticks: light of heart, strong affections, but soon spent the most merry creatures that live, feast and dance perpetually; they never have much, nor want much wealth circulateth like the blood, all parts partake; and though none shall want what another hath, yet exact observers of property. Some kings have sold, others presented me with several parcels of land: the pay, or presents I made them, were not hoarded by the particular owners, but the neighbouring kings and their clans, being present when the goods were brought out, the parties chiefly concerned consulted what, and to whom they should give them. To every king then, by the hands of a person for that work appointed, is a proportion sent, so sorted and folded, and with that gravity, that is admirable. Then that king subdivideth it in like manner among his dependents, they hardly leaving themselves an equal share with one of their subjects: and be it on such occasions as festivals, or at their common meals, the kings distribute, and to themselves last. They care for little, because they want but little, and the reason is, a little contents them in this they are sufficiently revenged on us; if they are ignorant of our pleasures, they are also free from our pains. They are not disquieted
with bills of lading and exchange, nor perplexed with chancery suits and exchequer reckonings. We sweat and toil to live their pleasure feeds them, I mean their hunting, fishing, and fowling, and this table is spread every where they eat twice a day, morning and evening; their seats and table are the ground. Since the Europeans came into these parts, they are grown great lovers of strong liquors, rum especially; and for it exchange the richest of their skins and furs. If they are heated with liquors, they are restless till they have enough to sleep; that is their cry, Some more, and I will go to sleep; but, when drunk, one of the most wretched spectacles in the world.
XX. In sickness, impatient to be cured, and for it give any thing, especially for their children, to whom they are extremely natural: they drink at those times a teran, or decoction of some roots in spring-water; and if they eat any flesh, it must be of the female of any creature. If they die, they bury them with their apparel, be they man or woman, and the nearest of kin fling in something precious with them, as a token of their love: their mourning is blacking of their faces, which they continue for a year: they are choice of the graves of their dead; for lest they should be lost by time, and fall to common use, they pick off the grass that grows upon them, and heap up the fallen earth with great care and
XXI. These poor people are under a dark night in things relating to religion, to be sure the tradition of it; yet they believe a God and immortality, without the help of metaphysics; for they say, 'there is a great King that made them, who dwells in a glorious country to the southward of them and that the souls of the good shall go thither, where they shall live again.' Their worship consists of two parts, sacrifice and cantico: their sacrifice is the first-fruits; the first and fattest buck they kill goeth to the fire, where he is all burnt, with a mournful ditty of him that performeth the ceremony, but with such marvellous fervency, and labour of body, that he will even sweat to a foam. The other part is their cantico, performed by round dances, sometimes words, sometimes songs, then shouts, two being in the middle that begin, and by singing and drumming on a board, direct the chorus: their postures in the dance are very antic, and differing, but all keep measure. This is done with equal earnestness and labour, but great appearance of joy. In the fall, when the corn cometh in, they begin to feast one another: there have been two great festivals already, to which all come that will: I was at one myself; their entertainment was a great seat by a spring, under some shady trees, and
twenty bucks, with hot cakes of new corn, both wheat and beans, which they make up in a square form, in the leaves of the stem, and bake them in the ashes; and after that they fall to dance. But they that go must carry a small present in their money, it may be sixpence, which is made of the bone of a fish; the black is with them as gold, the white, silver; they call it all wampum.
XXII. Their government is by kings, which they call Sachama, and those by succession, but always of the mother's side for instance, the children of him that is now king, will not succeed, but his brother by the mother, or the children of his sister, whose sons (and after them the children of her daughters) will reign, for no woman inherits: the reason they render for this way of descent, is, that their issue may not be spurious.
XXIII. Every king hath his council, and that consists of all the old and wise men of his nation, which perhaps is two hundred people; nothing of moment is undertaken, be it war, peace, selling of land or traffic, without advising with them; and, which is more, with the young men too. It is admirable to consider, how powerful the kings are, and yet how they move by the breath of their people. I have had occasion to be in council with them upon treaties for land, and to adjust the terms of trade: their order is thus the king sits in the middle of an half moon, and hath his council, the old and wise on each hand; behind them, or at a little distance, sit the younger fry, in the same figure. Having consulted and resolved their business, the king ordered one of them to speak to me; he stood up, came to me, and in the name of his king saluted me, then took me by the hand, and told me, He was ordered by his king to speak to me; and that now it was not he, but the king that spoke, because what he should say, was the king's mind.' He first prayed me 'to excuse them that they had not complied with me the last time; he feared there might be some fault in the interpreter, being neither Indian nor English; besides, it was the Indian custom to deliberate, and take up much time in council, before they resolve; and that if the young people and owners of the land had been as ready as he, I had not met with so much delay.' Having thus introduced his matter, he fell to the bounds of the land they had agreed to dispose of, and the price; which now is little and dear, that which would have bought twenty miles, not buying now two. During the time that this person spoke, not a man of them was observed to whisper or smile; the old grave, the young reverent in their deportment: they speak little, but fervently, and with elegance I have never seen more natural sagacity, consi