The Project Gutenberg EBook of A briefe discription of New England and the
severall townes therein, by Samuel Maverick

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Title: A briefe discription of New England and the severall townes therein
       together with the present government thereof

Author: Samuel Maverick

Release Date: October 25, 2010 [EBook #33904]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Therese Wright and the Online Distributed
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Transcriber's note: The original text contains many instances of variation in spelling and hyphenation, these have been preserved as they appear. Inconsistent punctuation has also been preserved, although missing punctuation have been added without comment.

In the description of Greenwich, the author has omitted the number of miles from Stamford to Greenwich. The omitted number is in this e-text represented by a thin dotted line.


Description of New England.


[From a Manuscript written in 1660 by Samuel Maverick, and recently discovered in the
British Museum by Henry F. Waters, A.B.]



Press of David Clapp & Son.



By John Ward Dean.

The Committee on English Research of the New England Historic Genealogical Society called attention in their last annual report to the fact that there were in England many important documents relating to the American colonies, as well as manuscript maps hitherto unknown to historical investigators. They urged upon the society the desirability of having exact copies of them made now while we have in Mr. Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters an experienced American antiquary resident in London. This statement has been most strikingly verified by the recent discovery by Mr. Waters of the Winthrop map—one of the most valuable contributions yet made to our early colonial history—notices of which appeared in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society for June, 1884, and in the Register for July, 1884 (xxxviii. 342).

The manuscript "Description of New England," which is here printed, is a still more important discovery. Though it bears neither name nor date, there is internal evidence that it was written in the year 1660, after the return of Charles II., by Samuel Maverick, afterwards one of the 4king's commissioners. Maverick, when Winthrop and his company arrived, was settled at Noddle's Island, now East Boston, and was known to have been here some years before. The date of his arrival in New England has hitherto been unknown. This manuscript gives it as 1624. Maverick was then about twenty-two years old.

An account of New England by one of the first white men who ever settled on the shores of Massachusetts Bay, one of the "old planters" whom Gov. Winthrop found here, is certainly of extraordinary interest to all students of our colonial history. Its fortunate discovery emphasizes in the strongest manner the great importance of the work which Mr. Waters is doing for us in England.

This paper clears up many obscurities in our early New England history, and gives us definite information which we have long desired to obtain. It was probably presented to Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, who was then Charles the Second's Lord High Chancellor. It may be the paper referred to by Maverick in his letter to the earl, printed in the Collections of the New York Historical Society for 1869, page 19. That letter and others in the same volume should be read in connection with the present paper. They show the persistency displayed by Maverick in his efforts to deprive New England, and particularly Massachusetts, of the right of self-government which had so long been enjoyed here. The same spirit is shown in his letters printed in the third volume of the New York Colonial Documents. The death of Maverick, which occurred between October 15, 1669, and May 15, 1676, did not bring repose to the people of Massachusetts. In the latter year a new assailant of their charter appeared in the person of Ed5ward Randolph (see Register, xxxvi. 155), whose assaults on their liberties did not cease till the charter was wrested from them, and the government under it came to an end May 20, 1686.

The document here printed is in the British Museum, Egerton MSS. 2395, ff. 397-411. The volume containing it was in private hands till 1875, when on the sixteenth of February in that year it was sold at auction by Messrs. Sotheby & Co., London, and bought by the Trustees of the British Museum.

The long residence of Mr. Maverick, the writer of this "Description of New England," on these shores, and the opportunities which he is known to have had to learn personally the facts here stated, give it greater weight than it would have had were it merely the observations of a transient visitor to the New World.

This document was read before the Massachusetts Historical Society by John T. Hassam, A.M., in October, 1884, and is printed in its Proceedings, vol. xxi. p. 231. It was also printed in the New-England Historical and Genealogical Register for January, 1885, and the type set for that periodical have been used to print the present issue.

Boston, Massachusetts, January 1, 1885.




Pem˜aquid.—Westward from Penobscott (which is the Southermost Fort in Nova Scotia) fourteen Leagues of is Pem˜aquid. in which River Alderman Alworth of Bristole, setled a Company of People in the yeare 1625, which Plantation hath continued and many Families are now settled there. There was a Patent granted for it by his Maties: Royall Grandfather and by vertue of that Patent they hold the Islands of Monahegan and Damerells Coue, and other small ones adjacent Commodious for fishing.

Sagadahocke.—Three leagues distant from Damerells Coue is Sagadahocke at the mouth of Kenebeth River, on which place the Lord Pohams people setled about fiftie yeares since, but soon after deserted it, and returned for England; I found Rootes and Garden hearbs and some old walles there, when I went first over which shewed it to be the place where they had been. This is a great and spreading River and runes very neer into Canada. One Captaine Young and 3 men with him in the Yeare 1636 went up the River upon discovery and only by Carying their Canoes some few times, and not farr by Land came into Canada River very neare Kebeck Fort where by the French, Capt Young was taken, and carried for ffrance but his Company returned safe and about 10 yeares since a Gentleman and a Fryer came down this way from Kebeck to us in New England to desire aide from us agst the Mowake Indians who were and still are their deadly8 enemies; This River by reason of its nearnesse to Canada and some other branches of it tending towards Hudsons River; and a Lake of Canada afford more Beaver skins and other peltry then any other about us: On this River & on the Islands lying on the mouth of it are many families Scatteringly setled. Some attend wholly the trade with the Indians, others planting and raiseing a stock of Cattle and Some at the mouth of the River keep fishing. There was a patent granted to Christo: Batchelor and Company in the year 1632 or thereabouts for the mouth of the River and some tract of land adjacent, who came over in the Ship named the Plough, and termed themselves the Plough Companie, but soon scattered some for Virginia some for England, some to the Massachusetts never settling on that land.

Casco Bay.—Betweene Sagadahocke and Cape Elizabeth lying about 7 Leagues assunder is Casco Bay; about the yeare 1632 there was a Patent granted to one Capt. Christopher Lewett for 6000 acres of land which he tooke up in this Bay neare Cape Elizabeth and built a good House and fortified well on an Island lyeing before Casco River this he sold and his Interrest in the Patent to Mr Ceeley Mr Jope and Company of Plimouth, In this Casco Bay are many scattering Families settled. There was a Patent granted for this Bay some yeares since by the title of the Province of Ligonia to Collonell Alexander Rigby afterwards a Judge, and under this Goverment the People lived some yeares, till of late the Government of the Massachusits hath made bold to stretch its Jurisdiction to the midle of this Bay, and as lyeing in their way have taken in a dozen of Goverments more.

Richmond Island.—There was long since a Patent granted to Mr Robert Trelawny of Plymouth from Cape Elizabeth to Spurwinke River including all Richmond Isle, an Excellent ffishing place, His Agents for matter of Goverment long since submitted to the Province of Mayne, for which Province a Patent was long since granted to Sr Ferdinando Gorges there are not many people in it, Those that are, are under the Goverment of the Massachusits.

Black Point.—The next place inhabited is Black Point two miles from Richmond Island; For this a Patent was granted to Captaine Cammock whose9 successor Mr Henry Joselin lives there now, and severall Families besides, they were under the Goverment of the Province of Mayne, but now Commanded by the Massachusits.

Saco.—Three miles beyond this is Saco River abounding with ffish as Basse, Sturgeon and Salmond. The Northside of the River was granted by Patent to Mr Lewis and Capt. Bonithan, and the Southside to on Mr Richard Vines, upon this River are severall Families setled formerly under the Goverment of the Province of Majne and here was keept some time the Generall Court for that Province, but now Commanded by the Massachusits.

Wells.—Three miles from Saco River are Cape Porpyes Islands a good ffishing place, where are Severall Families setled, and 4 miles from thence is Wells a handsome and well peopled place Lying on both sides of a River, for which Place a Patent was long since Granted to on Mr John Stratton but now Commanded by the Massachusetts.

Bristoll now Yorke.—About 12 miles further is the River Agomentine, for which and the lands adjacent a Patent was (nere 30 yeares since) granted unto Sr Ferdinando Gorges, Mr Godfrey, Alderman ffoote of Bristoll myselfe, and some others, On the northside of this River at our great Cost and Charges wee setled many ffamilies, which was then called Bristoll, and according to the Patent, the Goverment was conformable to that of the Corporation of Bristoll, only admitting of Appeales to the Generall Court for the Province of Mayne which was often keept there, but some yeares since the Goverment with the rest was Swallowed up by the Massachusetts.

Nichiquiwanick.—About 3 miles from Agomentine is the River Pascataway which is 6 miles from the mouth. It brancheth itselfe in two Branches, the South branch of which retaineth the name of Pascataway the other Nichiquiwanick, on the Northside of this River there are severall Divisions of Land granted long since by Patents unto diverse persons as Capt Mason, Capt Griffith, Mr Gardener and others, on which are severall persons setled for 12 miles togither. At the Falls of Nichiquiwanick 3 Excellent Saw-Mills are seatted and there and downward that side of ye River have been gotten most of the Masts which have come for England, and amongst the rest that admired Mast which came over some time last year containing neere 30 Tun¯es of Tim¯ber (as I have been informed).10

Cochequo.—On the Sowth side of that Branch is a Creeke Cochequo, whereon at the head are 2 Saw Mills, and affoord good Masts, & Mutch Tarr hath been made on that Creeke side.

Dover.—Belowe where the River parteth stands on a Tongue of Land the Towne of Dover, for which place and the land adjacent some gentlemen of or about Shrewsbury have a Patent.

Oyster Creeke.—On the Northside of the South Arme is Oyster Creeke on which place are many people setled some Saw Mills and affoords yow Good Masts, and further up is another Saw Mill on Lamperell Creeke.

Exeter.—Above this at the fall of this River Pascatoway is the Towne of Exceter, where are more Saw Mills, doune the Southside of this River are Farmes and other Stragling Families.

Strawberry Bank. The Great House & Isle of Shooles.—Within 2 Myles of the Mouth is Strawberry Banke where are many Families, and a Minister & a Meeting House, and to the meeting Houses of Dower & Exceter, most of the people resort. This Strawberry Banke is part of 6000 acres granted by Patent about ye yeare 1620 or 1621, to Mr David Thompson, who with the assistance of Mr Nicholas Sherwill, Mr Leonard Pomery and Mr Abraham Colmer of Plymouth Merchants, went ower with a Considerable Company of Servants and built a Strong and Large House, enclosed it with a large and high Palizado and mounted Gunns, and being stored extraordinarly with shot and Ammunition was a Terror to the Indians, who at that time were insulting over the poor weake and unfurnished Planters of Plymouth. This house and ffort he built on a Point of Land at the very entrance of Pascatoway River, And haveing granted by Patent all the Island bordering on this land to the Midle of the River, he tooke possession of an Island com¯only called the great Island and for the bounds of this land he went up the River to a point called Bloudy Point, and by the sea side about 4 milles he had also power of Goverment within his owne bounds, Notwithstanding all this, all is at this day in the power and at the disposall of the Massachusitts. Two Leagues of lyes the Isle of Shooles one of the best places for ffishing in the land, they have built a Church here and maintaine a Minister.11

Hampton.—Eight Miles to the Southward of Pascatoway is a small River called Monoconock, on which River is a large Town called Hampton, The inhabitants living weell by Corne and Cattle, of which they have great store, Ther was a Patent granted for this very place to Capt Mason neare 40 yeares agoe & this was the first land the Massachusits stretcht there line over beyond there true bounds: For about 3 miles South of this place, at there first coming over they sett up a house and named it the bound House as finding it three miles from Meromack, the North bound of there Patent, and with this they rested contented for about 10 yeares.

Salisbury New & Old.—Seaven Miles to the Southward of Hampton is Meromack River, on the mouth of which on the Northside is seatted a Large Toune called Sallisbury, and 3 miles above it a Village called old Salisbury, where ther is a Saw Mill or two. The Commodities this Toune affords are Corne, Cattle, Boards and Piper Staues.

Haverell Andover.—Fouer Leagues up this River is Haverell, a pretty Toune & a few miles higher is the Toune of Andouer both these Tounes subsist by Husbandry.

Newbury.—At the mouth on the southside of Meromack and upwards is seated the Towne of Newbury, the Houses stand at a good distance each from other a feild and Garden between each house, and so on both sides the street for 4 Miles or therabouts betweene Salisbury and this Towne, the River is broader then the Thames at Deptford, and in the Sumer abounds with Sturgeon, Salmon and other ffresh water fish. Had we the art of takeing and saveing the Sturgeon it would prove a very great advantage, the Country affording Vinager, and all other Materialls to do it withall.

In this Towne and old Newbury adjoining are 2 Meeting Houses.

Rowley.—Three Miles beyound this Old Newbury is a large and populous Towne called Rowley about two miles from the Bay of Agowame within land the Inhabitants are most Yorkshiremen very laborious people and drive a pretty trade, makeing Cloath and Ruggs of Cotton Wool, and also Sheeps wooll with which in few yeares the Countrey will abound not only to supply themselves but also to send abroad. This Towne aboundeth with Corne, and Cattle, and have a great number of Sheep. 12

Ipswich.—Three Miles beyond Rowley lyeth Ipswich at the head of Agawame River, as farr up as Vessells cane come. It hath many Inhabitants, and there farmes lye farr abroad, some of them severall miles from the Towne. So also they do about other Townes.

Wenham.—Six Miles from this Towne lyeth a Towne called Wenham seated about a great Lake or Pond which abounds with all manner of ffresh ffish, and such com¯odities as other places have it affordeth.

Gloucester.—Between these two Townes there runes out into the Sea that noated head land called Cape Ann fower miles within the outermost head. There is a Passage cutt through a Marsh between Cape Ann Harbor & Manisqwanne Harbour where stands the Towne called Glocester very com¯odious for building of shipping and ffishing.

Manchester.—Fower miles Westward from Glocester, lyeth on the Sea side a small Towne called Manchester, there is a Sawmill and aboundance of Timber.

Mackrell & Basse Cove.—About six miles from this Towne lyeth by the Sea side a Village Called Mackarell Coue, and a mile or 2 aboue on a Branch of Salem River lyeth another Village called Basse Coue, These two have Joyned and built a Church, which stands between them both ower agst Salem.

Salem.—On the South side of Salem River stands on a peninsula the Towne of Salem, setled some yeares by a few people befor the Patent of the Massachusits was granted. It is very commodious for fishing, and many Vessells have been built there and (except Boston) it hath as much Trade as any place in New England both inland and abroad.

Marblehead or Foy.—Two miles below this Towne on the Southside of the Harbor by the sea side lyeth Marblehead or ffoy the greatest Towne for ffishing in New England.

Lynne.—Five miles Westward lyeth the Towne of Lynne along by the sea side, and two miles aboue it within the bounds of it are the greatest Iron works erected for the most part at the charge of some Merchants, and Gentlmen here resideing and cost them about 14000£, who were as it is conceived about six yeares since Injuriously outted of them to the great prejudice of the Country and Owners. 13

Reading.—Three miles above the Iron Worke in the Country is a pretty Towne, called Reading, which as all inland Townes doe live by Husbandry. The people have imployment also at the Iron work in digging of myne, and cutting of wood.

Rumney Marsh.—Two miles from the Ironwork by the Seaside is a large Marsh called Rummney Marsh and between that and Winnisime being about 2 miles. There are many good farmes belonging to Bostone, which have a Metting House, as it were a Chapel of Ease.

Winnisime.—Two miles Sowth from Rumney Marsh on the North side of Mistick River is Winnisime which though but a few houses on it, yet deserves to be menc˜ond One house yet standing there which is the Antientest house in the Massachusetts Goverment, a house which in the yeare 1625 I fortified with a Pillizado and fflankers and gunnes both belowe and above in them which awed the Indians who at that time had a mind to Cutt off the English, They once faced it but receiveing a repulse never attempted it more although (as now they confesse) they repented it when about 2 yeares after they saw so many English come over.

Mauldon.—Two miles above Winnisime Westward stands a small Country Towne called Mauldon, who imploy themselves much in ffurnishing the Towne of Boston and Charles Towne with wood, Timber and other Materials to build withall.

Wooburne.—Fower or five miles above Mouldon West is a more considerable Towne called Wooburne, they live by ffurnishing the Sea Townes with Provisions as Corne and Flesh, and also they ffurnish the Merchants with such goods to be exported.

Charles Towne.—One mile from Winnisime crossing Mistick River is the Towne of Charles Towne standing on the Northside of the Mouth of Charles River, It Challengeth the second place of Antiquitie in the Massachusetts Government. It hath some considerable Merchants in it and many usefull handicraftsmen and many good farmers belonging to it.

Cambridge.—Three miles aboue this stands on the same River the Towne of Cambridge in which there is a Colledge a Master and some Number of Students belonging to it; out of which there have come many into England, The Towne hath many great ffarmes belonging to it. 14

Water Towne.—Joyning to this is Watter Towne, a great Towne reaching by ye River Side two miles, and hath belonging to it very many and great ffarmes, about the uper end of this Towne are the ffalls of Charles River.

Concord.—Above Twelve miles above Watter Towne is an In-land Towne called Concord It lyeth on the River Meromack I conceive about 20 miles above the first ffalls but good passing on it there in small Boats from place to place. They subsist in Husbandry and breeding of Catle.

Sudbury.—About 4 or 5 Miles more Southerly on the same River is a Towne called Sudbury a very pleasant place, the River runing to & againe in it, In which I have seen Excellent ffishing both with hooks & Lynes and Netts, They plant and breed Catle, and gett something by Tradeing wt the Indians.

Nashoway.—About ten or twelfe miles aboue these Two Townes is a Countrey Towne called Nashoway first begun for Love of the Indians Trade, but since the ffertility of ye Soyle and pleasantness of the River hath invited many more. There is Excellent Salmon and Trout.

Now we must returne to the mouth of Charles River againe or rather the entrance of the Bay of Massachusits, It hath three entrances, two of them difficult and dangerous without a good wind and Pylot. The Southermost called Nasascot in the usuall Channell; win this Bay are 12 or 13 pretty Islands between some of which yow must saile about 2 leagues before yow come up to Boston Rode yow must passe within halfe a Cable lenth of Castle Island, on which is a ffort above and a strong Battery below, closs by Highwater marke, on this Island I conceive there be thirtie good Gunns.

Boston.—Two miles aboue this Island is the Towne of Boston, the Metrapolis of New England lying pleasantly on a plaine and the ascending of a High Mount which lyes about the midle of ye plaine, The wholl Towne is an Island except two Hundred paces of land at one place on the Southside it is large and very populous. It hath two handsome Churches in it, a handsome market place, and in the midest of it a Statehouse. In the Towne are fouer full companys of ffoote and a Troope of horse On the Southeast side of the Towne on a little Hill there is a Fort, and under it a Batterie both having a dozen of Gunns or more in them, and15 on the Northeast side of the Towne there is a Battery of 6 Gunns commanding the Rode and the entrance of Charles River, and on the tope of the Hill aboue the Towne and in the strats are severall good Gunns, The Towne is full of good shopps well furnished with all kind of Merchandize and many Artificers, and Trad's men of all sorts. In this Towne are kept the Courts of Election ye Generall quarter Court besids the Country Courts.

Roxberry.—About two miles to the Southward of Boston is the Towne of Roxberry. The sea which surrounds Boston comes on both sides of it. It is well seatted, for the Body of the Towne lyeth on both sides a small Rivolet of water. There are many considerable ffarmes belonging to it, and by Farmeing is there most subsistance.

Dorchester.—Two miles near east from this Towne lyeth Dorchester, which claimes the third dignity as being ye third Towne setled by the English in the year 1630. They are a very industrious people, and have large bounds on wch are many gallant Farmes, by these bounds runes the Massachusets River.

Dedham.—And on Charles River stands the Towne of Dedham about 8 Miles either from Boston or Roxberry, a very pleasant place and the River affoords plenty of good ffish In this Towne leiveth many Bisquett makers and Butchers and have Vent enough for their Commodities in Boston.

Medfeild.—Five or six Miles from Dedham is a small in-land Towne called Medifield handsomly seatted for Farming and breeding of Cattle.

Braintree.—Three or fouer miles Southward is a Towne once called Mount Wolaston, now Braintree. There was a Patent granted for a considerable tract of land in this place in the yeare 1632 or thereabouts to Capt Wollaston and Mr Thomas Morton. Wollaston returned for England and Morton was banished, his house fired before his face, and he sent prissoner to England but for what offence I know not who some yeares after (nothing being laid to his Charge) returned for New England, where he was soon after apprehended and keept in the Com¯on Goale a whole winter, nothing laid to his Charge but the writeing of a Booke entituled New Canaan, which indeed was the truest discription of New England as then it was that euer I saw. The offence was he had touched them too neare they not proveing the charge he was sett loose, but soone after dyed, haveing as16 he said and most believed received his bane by hard lodging and fare in prison. This was done by ye Massachusetts Magistrats and the land by them disposed of. It subsists by raiseing provisions, and furnishing Boston with wood.

Weymouth.—Two or three miles from hence Sowthward is ye Towne of Weymouth, wherein are some quantity of Inhabitants, & leive as their neibors who have commerce with Boston.

Higham.—Three Miles from hence Easterly on the South shoare of Massachusits Bay is the Towne of Higham a handsome Towne supplying Boston also with wood, timber, leather and board, Some Masts are had there and store of provisions.

Hull.—Three Miles further tending more to the East, at the very entrance into the Massachusetts Bay is the Towne of Hull, the Inhabitants of which leives well being by Water not above 7 Miles from Boston tho neare 20 by land.

Three miles South from this place is the utmost south bounds of the Massachusits Goverment and Territories, beyond which they have not gone although they have gone soe farr beyond them to the Northward.

Before I enter into Plymouth bounds I must say something
of this Goverment which hath ouertopped all the rest.

About the yeare 1626 or 1627 there was a Patent granted by his Matyes: Royall Father of ever blessed Memory to certaine Gentlemen and Merchants, for the Tract of land befor menc˜ond, and power given them by the same to incorporate themselfes into a body pollitick the Governor and all other officers to be Annually chosen by the Major part of the inhabitants, ffreholders, As soon as the grant was confirmed, they chose here on Mr Mathew Craddock Governor and one Goffe deputy; They forthwith sent over one Mr Endicott, Governor[A] as deputy to rule over us the Inhabitants which had leived there long befor their Patent was granted, and some had Patents preceeding theirs, had he had pouer according to his will he had ruled us to ye purpose; But within two yeares after they sent ower one Mr John Winthrope Governor and with him a Company of Assistants all 17Chosen here in England without the Knowledge or Consent of them that then leived there or of those which came with them.

[A] This word "Governor" was interlined over the word "as," and unfortunately no caret mark made to show its intended place.

This Governor and his Councill, not long after their Aryvall made a law that no man should be admitted a Freeman, and soe Consequently have any voyce in Election of Officers Civill or Military, but such as were first entered into Church covenant and brought Certificate of it, let there Estates, and accordingly there portion of land be never soe great, and there taxes towards publick Charges. Nor could any competency of Knowledge or inoffensivenesse of liveing or conversation usher a man into there Church ffellowship, unless he would also acknowledge the discipline of the Church of England to be erroneous and to renounce it, which very many never condescended unto, so that on this account the far great Number of his Majesties loyall subjects there never injoyed those priviledges intended by his Royall ffather in his Grant, And upon this very accompt also, if not being Joyned in Church ffelowship many Thowzands have been debarred the Sacrament of the Lords Supper although of Competent knowledg, and of honest life and Godly Conversation, and a very great Number are unbaptized. I know some neer 30 years old, 7 persons of Quality about 12 years since for petitioning for themselves & Neighbors that they might have votes in Elections as ffreeholders or be ffreed from publick Charge, and be admitted to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper and theire Children to Baptisme as Members of the Church of England, and have liberty to have Ministers among themselves learned pious and Orthodox, no way dissonant from ye best Reformation in England, and desireing alsoe to have a body of Lawes to be Established and published to prevent Arbitrary Tiranny, For thus desireing these three reasonable requests besids imprissonement and other indignitys, they were fined 1000lb, a Notwtstanding they Appealled to England, they were forced to pay the same, and now also at great Charges to send one home to prosecute their appeall which proved to no Effect, That dismall Change falling out, Just at that time And they sending home hither one Edward Winslow a Smooth toungued Cunning fellow, who soon gott himselfe into Favor of those then in Supreame power, against whom it was in vaine to strive, and soe they remained sufferers to this day.

By what I have said it appears how the Major part of the Inhabitants are debarred of those Priviledges they ought to enjoy and were intended 18for them, How they Esteem of the Church of England. How farr they owne his Matie as haveing any power over them, or their Subjection to him; This I know that not long after they arrived they defaced the Collours which they brought over with them, being the English Redd Cross terming it a badge of the Whore of Babelon.

And not long after haveing received a Report that his Matie intended to send a Generall Governor over, and being informed by a Shallop that they had seen a great shipe and a smaller one goe into Cape Ann Harbor about 8 Leagues from Boston. There was an Alarme presently given and early in the Morning being Sabbath day all the Traine Bands in Boston, and Townes adjacent were in Armes in the streets and posts were sent to all other places to be in the same posture, in which they continued untill by theire scouts they found her to be a small shipe of Plymouth and a shallope that piloted her in, The generall and Publick report was that it was to oppose the landing of an Enemie a Governor sent from England, and with this they acquanted the Commanders.

And about the year 1636 one Brooks hearing one Evers to vilifie the Goverment of England both Civill and Eclesiasticall, and saying that if a Generall Governor were sent over he would kill him if he could, and he knew the Magistrats would bear him out in it, of which Brooks complaining by way of Information, the matter was handled that Evers had nothing said to him, and Brookes forced to escape privatly for England.

They also in the yeare 1646 & 1647 suffered a ship the Mary of Bristoll then standing out for the Kings Majestie to be taken by one Stagg haveing a Commission from the Parliament, and conveyed away although they had promised them a protection. They also Ordered the takeing downe of the Kings Armes and setting up the States, & the like by the Signe of the Kings head hanging before the doore of an Inne. And when that unhappy warr was between King and Parliat they compelled every Commander of a Vessell that went out from thence to enter into Bond not to have any Commerce with any place then holding out for the King, and in opposition to the then pretended power in England, Nor was there ever any Oath of Alleageance offered to any, but instead thereof they have framed two Oathes, which they impose on those which are made free. The other they terme the Oath of ffidelitie, which they force all to take that are above 16 yeares of age, a Coppy of it is as followeth—19

I. A. B. by Gods providence being an Inhabitant within the Jurisdiction of this Comon Wealth doe freely and sincerely acknowledge myselfe to be subject to the Goverment thereof. I doe hereby swear by the great and dreadfull name of the ever liveing God, that I will be true and Faithfull to the same, and will accordingly yeild assistance thereunto with my person, Estate, as in equity I am bound And will also truly endeavor to maintaine and preserve all the Liberties and priviledges thereof, Submitting myselfe unto the wholesome Lawes made and established by the same. And further that I will not plot or practize any evill against it or consent to any that shall soe doe. But will timely discover and reveall the same to Lawfull Authority now here established for the speedy preventing thereof. So Help me God in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

By this it may be judged what esteeme they have of the lawes of England, swearing theire subjects to submite to lawes made only by themselfes, And indeed to Alleage a Statute Law of England in one of their Courts would be a ridiculous thing. They likewise long since fell to coyning of monies, melting downe all the English Coyne they can gett, every shilling makeing 15d in their monies, And whereas they went over thither to injoy liberty of Conscience, in how high a measure have they denyed it to others there wittnesse theire debarring many from the Sacraments spoken of before meerly because they cannot Joyne with them in their Church-ffellowship, nor will they permitt any Lawfull Ministers that are or would come thither to administer them. Wittness also the Banishing so many to leave their habitations there, and seek places abroad elswhere, meerly for differing in Judgment from them as the Hutchinsons and severall families with them, & that Honble Lady the Lady Deborah Moody and severalls with her meerly for declareing themselfes moderate? Anabaptists, Who found more favour and respect amongst the Dutch, then she did amongst the English, Many others also upon the same account needless to be named, And how many for not comeing to theire assemblies have been compelled to pay 5s a peece for every Sabbath day they misse, besides what they are forced to pay towards the mantenance of the Ministers, And very cruelly handled by whipping and imprissonment was Mr Clark, Obadiah, Holmes, and others for teaching and praying in a private house on the Lords day, These and20 many other such like proceedings, which would by them have been judged Cruelty had they been inflicted on them here, have they used towards others there; And for hanging the three Quakers last yeare I think few approved of it.

There are or will come unto the Honble Councell many Complaints against them, I shall say no more but come to

The Discription of Plymouth bounds.

Connahassett.—It begins where the Massachusets ends. Three miles to the Southward of the Massachusets Bay, where (neere by ye sea side) there stands a Village called Connahasset eight miles further there is a small River comes out, and a reasonable harbour at the mouth of it.

Scytuate.—On both sides is a Towne called Scytuate.

Greenes-harbour.—From Scituate by ye sea side is a considerable Town called Greens Harbour, a Towne well meadowed & good farmes belonging to it. It is 7 miles from Scytuate.

Ducksbury.—Seauen or eight miles from this Towne is Ducksbury which is also a good plantation and affords much provision, which they sell at Boston for the most part.

New Plymouth.—Three or Fower miles Southward of this is ye Towne of New Plymouth whence the Goverment took its Denomination. This place was seated about ye yeare 1620 or 1621 by a company of Brownists, which went formerly from England to Amsterdam, and not beeing able to live well there, they drew in one Mr Weston, and some other Merchants in London to Transport them and their Famelies into those Westerne parts; They intended for Virginia, but fell with Cape Cod ažs Mallabar, and gott into the Harbour of it, and finding it not fitt for Habitation, sought further and found this place and there settled liveing extream hardy for some yeares and in great danger of the Indians, and could not Long have subsisted, had not Plymouth Merchants settled Plantations about that time at Monhegon and Pascattaway, by whom they were supplyed and the Indians discouraged from assaulting them. It is a poor small Towne now, The People being removed into Farmes in the Country.21

Sandwich.—Eighteene Miles more Southerly from Plymouth is a good Towne called Sandwich a Towne which affords good store of Provisions, and some yeares a quantity of Whalebone made of Whales which drive up dead in that Bay.

Barnstable.—Twelve Miles from Sandwich is Barnstable a Towne much like it and affords the same Com¯odities.

Yarmouth.—Seaven miles from Barnstable south east is the Towne of Yarmouth, much like the former, and had in it as the rest have good farmes about it, and sometimes also good benefite by drift Whales.

Billingsgate.—Six miles east of this Towne is Billingsgate which lyes in ye Southeast nooke of Cape Codd Bay, and from thence to the Sea on the South side of the sd Cape, it is a very litle way whereas to goe about is neare 20 Leagues which in tim will make it more convenient for Trade.

Almost South some what Westerly from Billingsgate is Natuckett Island on which many Indians live and about ten leagues west from it is Martines Vinyard, whereon many Indians live, and also English. In this Island by Gods blissing on the Labour, care and paines of the two Mayhews, father and sonn, the Indians are more civilized then anywhere else which is a step to Christianity, and many of them have attained to a greate measure of knowledge, and is hoped in a short time some of them may with joy & Comfort be received into the Bossome of the Church, The younger of those Mayhews was drowned comeing for England three yeares since, and the Father goes on with the worke, Although (as I understand) they have had a small share of those vast sum¯es given for this use and purpose of ye Revenues of it. It were good to enquire how it hath been disposed of. I know in some measure or at least suspect the bussines hath not been rightly carryed.

Rhode Island.—From this Island to Rhode Island is about Seaven Leagues west, This Island is about ffouerteen miles Long, in some places 3 or 4 miles Broad, in other lesse. It is full of people haveing been a receptacle for people of severall Sorts and Opinions. 22

Warwick Providence.—There was a Patent granted to one Coddington for the Goverment of this Island, and Warwick and Providence two Townes which lye on the maine, And I think they still keepe a seeming forme of Goverment but to litle purpose, none submitting to Supream Authority but as they please.

Rehobah.—Some three miles above Providence on the same River, is a Towne called Rehobah, and is under the Goverment of New Plymouth, a Towne not dispicable. It is not aboue 40 Miles from Boston, betweene which there is a Comone trade, carrying & recarrying goods by land in Cart and on Horseback, and they have a very fayre conveyance of goods by water also.

Taunton.—About ten miles from this eastward is Taunton lying on another River within Rhode Island about 20 Miles up, It is a pleasant place, seated amongst the Windings and turnings of a handsome River, and hath good conveyance to Boston by Cart not being above 30 Miles assunder, here is a pretty small Iron-worke, & is under New Plymouth Government.

Pequate.—Haveing gone through New Plymouth Goverment we come next to Connecticot Goverment. The first that was under this Goverment was Pequate, betweene wch and Rhods Island it is above 18 leagues,

In the faire Narragansitt Bay, and diverse fine Islands.

Fishers Island.—Before the Pequate River lyes Fishers Island, on which some people live, and there are store of Catle. This Pequat Plantation will in time produce Iron, And in the country about this is a Myne of Black Lead, and supposed there will be found better if not already by ye industry of that ingenious Gentleman Mr John Winthrop. It hath a very good Harbour, farr Surpassing all there about Connecticot River mouth to Pequate it is about eight Leagues.

Saybrooke.—On the South-west side of the entrance of this River stands Saybrooke and Saybrooke Fort, a handsome place and some Gunns in the Fort.

Metaboseck.—Fifteene Leagues up the River on the same side is the Plantation of Metaboseck, a very good place for Corne and Catle.

Witherfeild.—From Metaboseck to Withersfeild a large & Populous Towne, it is about 9 miles.23

Hartford.—From Withersfield to Hartford the Metropolis of the Goverment, it is about 3 Miles, it is a gallant Towne, and many rich men in it.

Windsor.—From Hartford to Windsor 9 Miles, this was the first Towne on this River, settled first by people issueing from Dorchester in the Massachusetts Bay about the year 1636.

Springfeild.—From Windsor to Springfield about 12 miles, and the first falles on Connecticot River are betweene these two Townes, This is the Massachusetts bounds.

And above Springfeild 8 Miles is another Towne at first Intended but for a tradeing house with the Indians, but the gallant Land about it hath invited men to make it a Toune. This Connecticott River is a great River before ye Towne bigger then the Thames above bridge, This Towne is also in the Massachusetts bounds and under its Goverment although 8 Miles from it.

Guilford.—Now we must returne to the Mouth of the River and so along by the sea side; and first from Saybrooke to Guilford 12 Miles.

Tocott.—From Guilford to Tocott 9 Miles. These two Townes are under Newhaven Goverment.

Newhaven.—From Tocott to Newhaven it is 7 Miles. This Towne is the Metropolis of that Goverment, and the Goverment tooke its Name from this Towne; which was the first built in those parts, many stately and costly houses were erected the Streete layd out in a Gallant forme, a very stately Church; but ye Harbour proveing not Comodious, the land very barren, the Merchants either dead or come away, the rest gotten to their Farmes, The Towne is not so glorious as once it was.

Milford.—From Newhaven to Milford it is about 10 Miles, This Towne is gotten into some way of Tradeing to Newfoundland, Barbados, Virginia, So also hath some other Townes in this Goverment.

Now in Course comes in againe some
Townes in Connecticott Goverment

Stratford.—From Milford to Stratford about 4 Miles.

Fairfeild.—From Stratford to Fairfeild about 8 Miles.

Norwock.—From ffairfeild to Norwock about 14 Miles and this Towne with those last named are in Connecticott Goverment. I suppose this24 skipped over Newhaven, being they came from those Townes in Connecticott River.

Stamford.—From Norwock to Stamford 8 Miles.

Greenwich.—From Stamford to Greenwich        miles, these two last Townes are under Newhaven Goverment, and there was another place begunn and much done in it, but the Dutch came and tooke it by force, and since the people of this Towne call it New Chester,

There are some Townes on Long Island which have come some under the Goverment of Connecticot, and some of Newhaven; We are now come about 25 Miles within the Dutch plantation, which before I speake of I shall runn over ye plantations on Long Island, and shew under what Goverment they are begining at the west end. The Island conteanes in Lenth about 150 Miles, and lyes not farr from the Mayne, especialy at the west end where it is very narrow, The plantationes are all on the inside, the Sea board syde being a dangerous Coast and no Harbour at all on that syde.

Within a few Miles of the West end over against Manhata, which is the Dutch's Chiefe Towne is seated Gravesend, most English, the Lady Moody being the first Setler, Some Dutch there are, and all under the Dutch Goverment.

Then Mispach kell
Then Midleburgh ažs New Towne
Then Vlishing
Then Hempsteed
Then another Towne by the Dutch name


These Townes are
under ye Dutch

Then follow to the Northward

First Oyster Bay under Newhaven Goverment
Huntington not submitting to any Goverment
Then Sotocot Likewayes Submitting to none
Next Southampton under Newhaven Goverment
Next South-hole also under Newhaven


These Townes
belong to
ye English.

Then crossing a Bay but 12 Miles (but to round it, it is much more) is Northampton. This Towne is under Connecticott Goverment. And then Easthampton under no Goverment25.

I suppose these two Goverments of Connecticott, and Newhaven, are only by Combination, I never heard of any Patent they have, and they are also in Confederacie with the Massachusetts, and New Plymouth, each of these 4 Goverments annually choosen two Comissioners to meet and Consult as occasion may serve; their power lasting for one yeare. These meettings prove chargeable, and as it is conceived of many of no great use.

Tis well knowen the Dutch plantation had been taken by those two Southerne Collonies helpe, and the English on Long Island when Major Sedgwick was sent to take it who putting back for Fyall news came by one of his Fleet that his designe was for that place; These afforsaid Com¯issioners mett at Boston, where some weeks were spent in Contest betweene the Commissioners of the two Southerne and Northern Collonies. Those of the South Colonies were for proceeding with expedition on the designe, The Com¯issioners of the North were dayly crying out for Orders or leave to goe on. But those of Plymouth being Mungrell Dutch, and some of the Grandees amongst them haveing a sweet trade with the Dutch or debts oweing to them, from them; And those of the Massachusetts haveing some other by-reason for it so long held out the dispute till it was to late the peace being concluded.

There lye between this Long Island and the Mayne severall Islands, the most Considerable is Shelter-Island, about 8 miles in lenth and three in breadth, This belongs to Collonell Thomas Midleton and Mr Silvester, on which they have some people & store of Catle.

Another considerable Island lyes by it of about 6 Miles in Lenth, and three in Breadth.

Now before I come to speak of Hudsons River, I shall most humbly desire the Honble Councill to take it in consideration the great benefits and profitts, which may redound to the English by these Westerne Colonies if well managed. Of their present condition I have given a breife accompt in my foregoing Relation, being my observations which for severall years I have spent in America, even from the year 1624 till within these two yeares last past:

For Newfoundland, it is well known what a great Number of Shipps and Seamen have been there imployed annually I dare averr it hath bredd more Seamen then any Trade the English ever medled withall & what26 profitts the Owners and Merchants have gott by that Trade is unvaluable, And if a course were taken we might now have salt from the English Collonies in the West Indies, and provision from New England to carry on a greatt part of the designe, and on better termes then out of Europe.

On all the Coasts of Canada from Cape Britton to Cape Sable is Excellent fishing and full of good Harbours.

On the Coast within Cape Sable, as in Nova Scotia, Port Royall, and those other fforts now in possession of Collonel Temple is mutch Beaver & other Peltry gotten, and more might be if fully Stocked.

And for the Southern part of New-England, It is incredible what hath been done there.

In the yeare 1626 or thereabouts there was not a Neat Beast Horse or sheepe in the Countrey and a very few Goats or hoggs, and now it is a wonder to see the great herds of Catle belonging to every Towne I have mentioned, The braue Flocks of sheepe, The great number of Horses besides those many sent to Barbados and the other Carribe Islands, And withall to consider how many thousand Neate Beasts and Hoggs are yearly killed, and soe have been for many yeares past for Provision in the Countrey and sent abroad to supply Newfoundland, Barbados, Jamaica, @ other places, As also to victuall in whole or in part most shipes which comes there.

Betweene the years 1626 and 1633, Indian Corne was usually sold at 10s or 12s the Bushell, now not esteemed worth 2s, Beefe and Porke then Brought from England and Irland sold at excessive rates.

At that time all the Houses there, except three or fower at New Plymouth, and those which I had could not be valued worth 200lb, and now to behold the handsome Houses & Churches in so many Townes as I have named is a wonder, And the place in which Boston (the Metropolis) is seated, I knew then for some yeares to be a Swamp and Pound, now a great Towne, two Churches, a Gallant Statehouse & more to make it compleate, then can be expected in a place so late a wilderness.

And wheras about the time before mentioned wee could not make in all three Hundred men in the whole Countrey, those scattered a hundred and ffiftie Miles assunder, Now almost every Towne which I have named is able to bring into the feild a full Company of Foote and some Horse,27 some Townes two or three Companyes compleate with Horse proportionable and Boston more.

And the great abundance of English Fruite, as Apples, Pears, Apricocks, Plumbs, Cherries Musk-Mellons, Water-Mellons &c. is not to be beleeved but by those that have seene it.

And about those times also there were not within the now Great Government of the Massachusetts above three Shallops and a few Cannoes, Now it is wonderfull to see the many Vessels belonging to the Country of all sorts and seizes, from Shipps of some reasonable burthen to Skiffes and Cannoes, many other great Shipps of Burthen from 350 Tunns to 150 have been built there, and many more in time may be, And I am confident there hath not in any place out of so small a number of People been raised so many able Seamen and Commanders as there hath been.

Now we returne to Hudsons River, in the mouth of which lyeth ye Island Mahatas, on which stands now Amsterdam in the Latitude of 41 degrees and about 41 Leagues up the River is their Fort Oranja in the Latitude of 42 & ½ or thereabouts.

I have alwayes understood that the first Setlement of the Dutch there was about the yeare 1618, @ were then a very considerable Number, and long after. And this was as I conceive some yeares after King James had granted all the lands and Islands betweene the Latitude of 40 degrees to 48 North Latitude, unto a Company established at Plymouth in Devon then nameing it New-England, so that Mahatas lyes a full degree within ye bounds of New England; and Fort Oranja their prinl place both for Trade with the Indians @ for Husbandry it lyeth two full degrees and an halfe within the bounds of New England.

And about the year 1629 or 1630 Theire Title to it being in question a rich ship comeing from thence was seized on at Plymouth, as some now here can testify, which shipp and goods (as they say) was delivered up on the Dutch relinquishment of any Title they had or might have to the said Hudsones River And this seemes to be true, for in or about the year 1632 or 1634, a shipp set out from hence by Mr Clobery & Dellabar and others for New England, with passengers & goods & had also a Commission from his Maties: Royall Father to saile unto Mahatas @ as farr up into the River towards Fort Oranja as they could goe, and there trade with the28 Natives; which they did without any opposition, as the Masters yet liveing can testifie.

From the uttermost part of Hudsons River to the North Cape of Delaware Bay, is somewhat above 20 leagues, and from this Cape to the entrance of the River is about 12 Leagues.

Here the Sweedes some yeares since built a Fort and five Leauges above that a Sconce, and three Leagues above that another Fort, and 2 Leagues above that another.

And hereabout the River trends away so much easterly that betweene that @ Hudsons River it is not above 30 Miles. In this River hath been seated some English Familes, but outed by the Dutch or Swedes.

For this place there was some yeares since a Patent granted to Sr Edmund Ploydon, but by whom I know not, nor what is become of him or his Patent.

The entrance of this River is in 40 degrees. And now I am come to the utmost Southwest bounds of New England which is a Country wherein the Rivers and Pounds affords variety of Fish and Beaver in Great abundance, The earth brings forth plentifully all sorts of Graynes, also Hemp @ fflax, The Woods affords store of good Timber for building of shipps Masts, Also Pitch and Tarre, The bowels of the earth yeilds excellent Iron Oare, and no doubt other Metalls if searched after.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of A briefe discription of New England
and the severall townes therein, by Samuel Maverick


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