Page images

dering them without the help, (I was going to say, the spoil) of tradition; and he will deserve the name of wise, that outwits them in any treaty about a thing they understand. When the purchase was agreed, great promises passed between us of kindness and good neighbourhood, and that the Indians and English must live in love, as long as the sun gave light.' Which done, another made a speech to the Indians, in the name of all the sachamakers or kings; first to tell them what was done; next, to charge and command them to love the Christians, and particularly live in peace with me, and the people under my government: that many governors had been in the river, but that no governor had come himself to live and stay here before; and having now such an one that had treated them well, they should never do him or his any wrong.' At every sentence of which they shouted, and said, Amen, in their way.

XXIV. The justice they have is pecuniary: in case of any wrong or evil fact, be it murder itself, they atone by feasts, and presents of their wampum, which is proportioned to the quality of the offence or person injured, or of the sex they are of: for in case they kill a woman, they pay double, and the reason they can render, is, that she breedeth chil-, dren, which men cannot do.' It is rare that they fall out, if sober; and if drunk, they forgive it, saying,It was the drink, and not the man, that abused them.'

XXV. We have agreed, that in all differences between us, six of each side shall end the matter: do not abuse them, but let them have justice, and you win them: the worst is, that they are the worse for the Christians, who have propagated their vices, and yielded them tradition for ill, and not for good things. But as low an ebb as these people are at, and as glorious as their own condition looks, the Christians have not outlived their sight, with all their pretensions to an higher manifestation: what good then might not a good people graft, where there is so distinct a knowledge left between good and evil? I beseech God to incline the hearts of all that come into these parts, to outlive the knowledge of the natives, by a fixed obedience to their greater knowledge of the will of God; for it were miserable indeed for us to fall under the just censure of the Indian conpoor science, while we make profession of things so far transcending.

XXVI. For their original, I am ready to believe them of the Jewish race; I mean, of the stock of the ten tribes, and that for the following reasons: first, they were to go to a "land not planted or known," which, to be sure, Asia and Africawere, if not Europe; and He that intended that ex

traordinary judgement upon them, might make the passage not uneasy to them, as it is not impossible in itself, from the easternmost parts of Asia, to the westernmost of America. In the next place, I find them of like countenance, and their children of so lively a resemblance, that a man would think himself iu Duke's-place or Bury-street in London, when he seeth them. But this is not all; they agree in rites, they reckon by moons; they offer their first-fruits, they have a kind of feast of tabernacles; they are said to lay their altar upon twelve stones; their mourning a year, customs of women, with many things that do not now occur.

So much for the natives; next the old planters will be considered in this relation, before I come to our colony, and the concerns of it.

XXVII. The first planters in these parts were the Dutch, and soon after them the Swedes and Finns. The Dutch applied themselves to traffic, the Swedes and Finns to husbandry. There were some disputes between them some years, the Dutch looking upon them as intruders upon their purchase and possession, which was finally ended in the surrender made by John Rizeing, the Swedish governor, to Peter Styresant, governor for the states of Holland, anno 1655.

XXVIII. The Dutch inhabit mostly those parts of the province that lie upon or near to the bay; and the Swedes the freshes of the river Delaware. There is no need of giving any description of them, who are better known there than here; but they are a plain, strong, industrious people, yet have made no great progress in culture or propagation of fruit-trees, as if they desired rather to have enough, than plenty or traffic. But, I presume, the Indians made them the more careless, by furnishing them with the means of profit, to wit, skins and furs, for rum, and such strong liquors. They kindly received me, as well as the English, who were few, before the people concerned with me came among them: I must needs commend their respect to authority, and kind behaviour to the English; they do not degenerate from the old friendship between both kingdoms. As they are people proper, and strong of body, so they have fine children, and almost every house full; rare to find one of them without three or four boys, and as many girls; some six, seven, and eight sons: and I must do them that right, I see few young men more sober and laborious.

XXIX. The Dutch have a meeting-place for religious worship at Newcastle; and the Swedes, three, one at Christina, one at Tenecum, and one at Wicoco, within half a mile of this town.

XXX. There rests that I speak of the condition we are in, and what settlement we have made, in which I will be as short as I can; for I fear, and not without reason, that I have tired your patience with this long story. The country lieth bounded on the east by the river and bay of Delaware, and eastern sea; it hath the advantage of many creeks, or rivers rather, that run into the main river or bay; some navigable for great ships, some for small craft: those of most eminency are Christina, Brandywine, Skilpot, and Schuylkill; any one of which have room to lay up the royal navy of England, there being from four to eight fathom water.

XXXI. The lesser creeks or rivers, yet convenient for sloops and ketches of good burthen, are Lewis, Mespilion, Cedar, Dover, Cranbrook, Feversham, and Georges below, and Chichester, Chester, Toacawny, Pemmapecka, Portquessin, Neshimenck, and Pennberry in the Freshes, many lesser that admit boats and shallops. Our people are mostly settled upon the upper rivers, which are pleasant and sweet, and generally bounded with good land. The planted part of the province and territories is cast into six counties, Philadelphia, Buckingham, Chester, Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, containing about four thousand souls. Two general assemblies have been held, and with such concord and dispatch, that they sat but three weeks, and at least seventy laws were passed without one dissent in any material thing. But of this more hereafter, being yet raw and new in our geer: however, I cannot forget their singular respect to me in this infancy of things, who by their own private expenses so early considered mine for the public, as to present me with an impost upon certain goods imported and exported: which after my acknowledgment of their affection, I did as freely remit to the province and the traders of it. And for the well-government of the said counties, courts of justice are established in every county, with proper officers, as justices, sheriffs, clerks, constables, &c. which courts are held every two months but to prevent law-suits, there are three peace-makers chosen by every county-court, in the nature of common arbitrators, to hear and end differences betwixt man and man; and spring and fall there is an orphan's court in each county, to inspect and regulate the affairs of orphans and widows.

XXXII. Philadelphia, the expectation of those that are concerned in this province, is at last laid out, to the great content of those here, that are any ways interested therein : the situation is a neck of land, and lieth between two navigable rivers, Delaware and Schuylkill, whereby it hath two

fronts upon the water, each a mile, and two from river to' river. Delaware is a glorious river, but the Schuylkill being an hundred miles boatable above the falls, and its course north-east towards the fountain of Susquahannah' (that tends to the heart of the province, and both sides our own) it is like to be a great part of the settlement of this' age. I say little of the town itself, because a platform will be shewn you by my agent, in which those who are purchasers of me, will find their names and interests: but this I will say for the good providence of God, that of all the many places, I have seen in the world, I remember not one better seated; so that it seems to me to have been appointed for a town, whether we regard the rivers, or the conveniency of the coves, docks, springs, the loftiness and soundness of the land and the air, held by the people of these parts to be very good. It is advanced within less than a year to about fourscore houses and cottages, such as they are, where merchants and handicrafts are following their vocations as fast as they can, while the countrymen are close at their farms: some of them got a little winter-corn in the ground last season, and the generality have had an handsome summer-crop, and are preparing for their winter-corn. They reaped their barley this year in the month called May; the wheat in the month following; so that there is time in these parts for another crop of divers things before the winter-season. We are daily in hopes of shipping to add to our number; for, blessed be God, here is both room and accommodation for them; the stories of our necessity being either the fears of our friends, or the scare-crows of our enemies; for the greatest hardship we have suffered, hath been salt meat, which by fowl in winter, and fish in summer, together with some poultry, lamb, mutton, veal, and plenty of venison the best part of the year, hath been made very passable. I bless God, I am fully satisfied with the country and entertainment I get in it; for I find that particular content which hath always attended me, where God in his providence hath made it my place and service to reside. You cannot imagine my station can be at present free of more than ordinary business, and as such, I may say, it is a troublesome work; but the method things are putting in will facilitate the charge, and give an easier motion to the administration of affairs. However, as it is some men's duty to plough, some to sow, some to water, and some to reap; so it is the wisdom as well as the duty of a man, to yield to the mind of Providence, and cheerfully, as well as carefully, embrace and follow the guidance of it.

XXXIII. For your particular concern, I might entirely

refer you to the letters of the president of the society; but this I will venture to say, your provincial settlements both within and without the town, for situation and soil, are without exception: your city-lot is an whole street, and one side of a street, from river to river, containing near one hundred acres, not easily valued, which is, besides your four hundred acres in the city-liberties, part of your twenty thousand acres in the country. Your tannery hath such plenty of bark, the saw-mill for timber, and the place of the glasshouse are so conveniently posted for water-carriage, the city-lot for a dock, and the whalery for a sound and fruitful bank, and the town Lewis by it to help your people, that by God's blessing the affairs of the society will naturally grow in their reputation and profit. I am sure I have not turned my back upon any offer that tended to its prosperity; and though I am ill at projects, I have sometimes put in for a share with her officers, to countenance and advance her interest. You are already informed what is fit for you farther to do, whatsoever tends to the promotion of wine, and to the manufacture of linen in these parts, I cannot but wish you to promote it; and the French people are most likely in both respects to answer that design : to that end, I would advise you to send for some thousands of plants out of France, with some able vinerons, and people of the other vocation: but because I believe you have been entertained with this and some other profitable subjects by your president, I shall add no more, but to assure you, that I am heartily inclined to advance your just interest, and that you will always find me,

Philadelphia, the 16th of the 6th month, called August, 1683.

Your kind cordial friend,


« PreviousContinue »