Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors]

ing well with the temper of our English bodies, being high land, and sharp air; and though most of our English towns border 'upon the sea coast, yet they are not often troubled with mists, or unwholesome fogs, or cold weather from the sea, which lies east and south from the land. And whereas, in England most of the cold winds and weathers come from the sea, and those situations are counted most unwholesome, that are near the sea coast ; in that country it is not so, but otherwise ; for in the extremities of winter, the north east and south wind coming from the sea, produceth warm weather, and bringing in the warm working waters of the sea, loosnetb the frozen bays, carrying away their ice with their tides, melting the snow, and thawing the ground; only the nerth west wind coming over the land is a cause of extreme cold weather, being always accompanied with deep snows and bitter frost, 50 that in two or three days the rivers are passable for horse and man. But as it is an axiom in nature, Nullum violentum est perpetuum, No extremes last long ; so this cold wind blows seldom above three days together, after which the weather is more tolerable, the air being nothing so sbarp, but peradventure in four or five days after, this cold messenger will blow afresh, commanding every man to his house, forbidding any to outface him without prejudice to their noses. But it may be objected, that it is too cold a country for our Englishmen, who have been accustomed to a warmer climate; to which it may be answered, Igne levatur hyems. There is wood good store, and cheap, to build warm houses, and make good fires, which makes the winter less tedious; and moreover, the extremity of this cold weather lasteth but for two months, or ten weeks, beginning in December, and breaking up the tenth day of February, which hath become a passage very remarkable, that for ten or a dozen years the weather hath held bimself to his day, unlocking his icy bays and rivers, which are never frozen again the same year, except there be some small frost until the middle of March. It is observed by the Indians that every tenth year there is little or no winter, which hath been twice observed by the English ; the year of New Plimouth men's arrival was no winter in comparison; and in the tenth year after likewise, (1630) when the great company settled themselves in Massachusetts Bay, was a very mild season, little frost, and less snow, but clear serene weather, few northwest wiods, which was a great mercy to the English coming over so rawly and uncomfortably provided, wanting all utensils and provisions, wbich belonged to the wellbeing of planters :

And whereas, many died at the beginning of the plantations, it was not because the country was unhealthful, but because their bodies were corrupted with sea-diet, which was naught, the beef and pork being tainted, their butter and cheese corrupted, their fish rotten, and the voyage long, by reason of cross winds, so that winter approaching before they could get warm houses, and tre searching sharpness of that purer climate, creeping in at the crannies of their crazed bodies, caused death and sickness; but their barms have taught future voyagers more wisdom, in shipping good provision for sea, and finding warm houses at landing, find health in both. It hath been observed, tbat of five or six hundred passengers in one year, not above three have died at sea, baving their health likewise at land. But to return to the matter in hand, daily observations make it apparent, that the piercing cold of that country produceth not so many noisome effects, as the raw winters of England. In public assemblies it is strange to hear a man sneeze or cough, as ordinarily they do in old England ; yet not to smother any thing, - lest you judge me too partial in reciting good of the country, aud not bad ; true it is, that some venturing too nakedly in extremity of cold, being more fool-bardy than wise, have for a time lost the use of their feet, others the use of their fingers; but time and surgery afterwards recovered them. Some have had their over-grown beards so frozen together, that they could not get their strong water bottles into their mouths. I never heard of any that otterly perished at land with cold, saving one Englishman and an Indian, who going together a fowling, the morning being fair at their setting out, afterwards a terrible storm arising, they intended to return home; but the storm being in their faces, and they not able to withstand it, were frozen to death, the Indian having gained three-flight shot more of his journey homeward, was found reared up against a tree with his aqua-vitæ bottle at his head. A second passage (concerning the which many think hardly of the country in regard of the cold) was the miscarriage of a boat at sea; certain men having intended a voyage to New Plimouth, setting sail towards night, they wanted time to fetch it, being constrained to put into another harbor, where being negligent of the well mooring of their boat, a strong wind coming from the shore in the night loosened the killock, and drove them to sea, without sight of land, before they had awaked out of sleep, but seeing the imminent dadger, such as were not benummed with cold, shipt out their cars, shaping their course for Cape Cod, where the Indians met them,

[ocr errors]


who buried the dead, and carried the boat with the living to Pli·mouth, where some of them died, and some recovered. These things may fright some, but being that there hath been 'many passages of the like nature in our English climate, it cannot dishearten such as seriously consider it, seeing likewise that their own ruins sprung from their own negligence.

The country is not so extreamly cold, unless it be when the northwest wiod is high, at other times it is ordinary for fishermen to go to sea in January and February, in which time they get more fish, and better than in summer, only observing to reach some good barbours before night, where by good fires they sleep as well and quietly (having the maid-sail tented at their backs, to shelter from the wind) as if tbey were at home.* To relate how some English bodies have borne out cold, will (it may be) startle the belief of some, it being so strange, yet not so strange as true. A certain man being something distracted, broke away from his keeper, and running into the wood, could not be found with much seeking after; but four days being expired, he returned, to appearance as well in body, as at his egress, and in mind much better: For a mad man to hit home through the unbeaten woods, was strange; but to live without meat or drink in the deep of winter, stranger; and yet return home bettered, was most strange : But if truth may gain belief, you may behold a more superlative strangeness. A certain maid, in the extremily of cold weather, (as it fell out) took an uncertain journey, in her intent short, not above four miles, ye: long in event; for losing her way, she wandered six or seven days in most bitter weather, not having one bit of bread to strengthen her, sometimes a fresh spring quenched her thirst, which was all the refreshment she had ; the snow being upon the ground at first, she might have track'd her own footsteps back again, but wanting that

* The vast continent behind us (covered with immense tracts of snow) condenseth the air, and renders our winters so cold-and in summer is ons great occasion of our excessive heats, the wind passing over great tracts of land intensely heated by the sun-Bordering upon the great lakes, an easter. ly wind brings a dry cold spow-and a westerly one the contrary, but upon this east coast of America we find it quite the reverse--and when an easterly wind prevails in summer, we always find the weather cold and raw-but a westerly brings drought and heat. As the land becomes clear, our winters grow milder, though not to such a degree as is generally imagined, for the vast wilds, uncultivated, beyond our most extended frontiers will forever affect our climate. An Irish gentleman observed that there was a visible alteration in Ireland within these thirty years, the climate was more mild and temperate, which he imputed solely to the draining of the bogs, and the im. provement of the soil.

understanding, she wandered till God, by his special providence, brought her to the place she went from, where she lives to this day.

The bard winters are commonly the fore-runners of pleasant spring-times, and fertile summers, being judged likewise to make much for the health of our English bodies : It is found to be more healthful for such as adventure thither, to come towards winter, than in the hot summer; the climate in winter is commonly cold and dry, the snow lies long, which is thought to be no small pourishing to the ground. For the Indians burning it to suppress the under-wood, which else would grow all over the country, the snow falling not long after, keeps the ground warm, and with his melting conveys the ashes into the pores of the earth, which doth fatten it. It hath been observed, that English wheat and rye prove better, which is winter sown, and is kept warm by the snow, than that which is sown in the spring. The summers be hotter than in England, because of their more southern latitude, yet are they tolerable ; being often cooled with fresh blowing winds, it seldom being so hot as men are driven from their labours, especially such whose employments are within doors, or under the cool shade : Servants have hitherto been privileged to rest from their labors in extream hot weather from ten of the clock till two, which they regain by their early rising in the morning, and double diligence in cool weather. The summers are commonly hot and dry, there being seldom any rains ; I have known it six or seven weeks before one shower hath moistened the plowman's labour, yet the harvest hath been very good, the Indian corn requiring more heat than wet; for the English corn, it is refreshed with the nightly dews, till it grow up to shade his roots with his own substance from the parching sun. In former times the raio came seldom, but very riolently, continuing his drops (which were great and many) sometimes four and twenty hours together; sometimes eight and forty, which watered the ground for a long time after; but of late, the seasons be much altered, the rain coming much oftener, but more moderately, with lesser thunder and lightnings, and sudden gusts of wind. I dare be bold to affirm it, that I saw not so much rain, raw colds, and misty fogs in four years in those parts, as was in England in the space of four months the last winter; yet no man at the year's end, complained of too much drought, or too little rain. The times of most rain, are in the beginning of April, and at Michaelmas. The early springs and long summers, make but short autumns and winters. In the spring, when the grass begins to put

forth, it grows apace, so that where it was all black by reason of winters burnings, io a fortnight there will be grass a foot high.*


For their hunting, it is to be noted they have no swist tooted greyhounds, to let slip at the sight of the deer, no deep-mouthed hounds, or scepting beagles, to find out their desired prey; themselves are all this, who in that time of the year, when the deer comes down, having certain bunting houses, in such places where they know the deer usually doth frequent, in which they keep their rendezvous, their snares, and all their accoutrements for that employment; when they get sight of a deer, moose or bear, they study how to get the wind of him, and approaching within shot, stab their mark quite througb, if the bones bioder not. The chief thing they hunt after is deer, mooses, and bears; it grieves them more to see an Englishman take one deer, than a thousand acres of land. They hunt likewise after wolves and wild cats, raccoons, otters, beavers and musquasbes, trading both their skins and desh to the English. Besides their artillery, they have other devices to kill their game, as sometimes hedges a mile or two miles long, being a mile wide at one end, and made narrower and narrower by degrees, leaving only a gap of six foot long, over against which, in the day time, they lie lurking to shoot the deer which come through that narrow gut; so many as come within the circumference of that hedge, seldom return back or leap over, unless they be forced by some ravenous woll, or sight of some accidental passenger: In the night, at the gut of this hedge, they set deer traps, which are springs made of young trees, and smooth wrought cords ; so strong as it will toss a borse if he be caught in it. An English mare being strayed from her owner, and grown wild by her long sojourning in the woods, ranging up and down with the wild crew, stumbled into one of these traps, which stopt her speed hanging her like Mahomet's tomb, betwixt earth and heaven ; the morning being come, the Indians went to look what good success their venison traps had brought them, but seeing such a long scuttied deer prance in their merritotter, they bade her good morrow, crying out, what cheer, what cheer, Englishman's squaw horse; having no better epithet than to call her a woman horse ; but being loth to kill her, and as fearful to approach near the friscadoes of her iron beels, they posted to the English to tell them how the

* This is generally the case of new lands--the soil being very rank.

« НазадПродовжити »