Original Cover Page
Nieu Amsterdam at New York, detail from the Orbis Habitabilis of Carolus Allard, 1673. From the New York Public Library.
(Original of the first page.)
(Forward to 1973 Edition)
Denton certainly was well situated to observe the development of this new society. The eldest son of a Presbyterian minister who located in Hempstead, Long Island, in 1644, Denton became a landholder and planter in Queens County and served at various times as clerk, magistrate and overseer of the poor in the Jamaica town government, and as justice of the peace of Long Island. He had direct dealings with the Indians and at one time was deputized by the Colonial Government to purchase land from New Jersey tribes for a new settlement in South Meadows.
An extended business trip to England brought both triumph and tragedy to Denton. Inspired by many questions he was asked about New York, he wrote and published in 1670 in London his memorable description of New York and its environs.
When he returned to America in 1672, he became aware of his wife's infidelity during his long absence.
After a scandalous divorce, Denton remarried and moved to New Jersey, where in 1673 he was made a magistrate at Piscataway. In 1684 he returned to Jamaica with his wife and the children of his second marriage. In 1685 he was appointed a commissioner of Jamaica and in 1686 he again became town clerk. He died in 1696.
An examination of the original edition makes it clear that Denton did not demand for A Brief Description of New York any of the fine craftsmanship found in great books being printed in England at that time. In its original printing, Denton's tract was a typographic disaster. The composition was peppered with wrong fonts and broken letters. The alignment was irregular throughout. The presswork was little better than the composition, the main fault being incredibly uneven impression.
The setting of the interminable title page (there are 77 words in the title alone) was particularly inept because the type area ran too deep to fit the page size. As a result, only five of the 21 copies of the first edition known to be in existence are regarded as perfect copies. In each of the others, part of the title page, either at the top or bottom, was trimmed off by the binder's knife. Mercifully, the name of the printer was not listed and remains unknown to this day.
In this edition, we made a conscious decision not to alter any of Denton's quaint phonetic-like spelling, typical of his time, correcting only those words in the original that obviously contained typographic errors or inconsistencies in spelling.
To the Reader.
Reader, I have here thorough the Instigation of divers Persons in England, and elsewhere, presented you with a Brief but true Relation of a known unknown part of America. The known part which is either inhabited, or lieth near the Sea, I have described to you, and have writ nothing, but what I have been an eyewitness to all or the greatest part of it:
Neither can I safely say, was I willing to exceed, but was rather willing the place it self should exceed my Commendation, which I question not but will be owned by those that shall travel thither:
For the unknown part, which is either some places lying to the Northward yet undiscovered by any English, or the Bowels of the earth not yet opened, though the Natives tell us of Glittering Stones, Diamonds, or Pearl in the one, and the Dutch hath boasted of Gold and Silver in the other; yet I shall not feed your expectation with any thing of that nature; but leave it till a better discovery shall make way for such a Relation. In the mean time accept of this from him who desireth to deal impartially with every one.
A Brief Relation
That Tract of Land formerly called The New-Netherlands, doth contain all that Land which lieth in the North parts of America, betwixt New-England and Mary-Land in Virginia, the length of which Northward into the Countrey, as it hath not been fully discovered, so it is not certainly known. The bredth of it is about two hundred miles:
The principal Rivers within this Tract, are Hudsons-River, Raritan-River, and Delewerbay-River. The chief Islands are the Manahatans-Island, Long-Island, and Staten-Island.
And first to begin with the Manahatans-Island, so called by the Indians, it lieth within land Betwixt the degrees of 41 and 42 of North-latitude, and is about 14 miles long, and two broad. It is bounded with Long-Island, with Staten-Island on the West on the North with the Main Land: And with Conecticut Colony on the East-side of it; only a part of the Main Land belonging to New-York Colony, where several Towns and Villages are setled, being about thirty miles in bredth, doth intercept the Manahatans-Island and the Colony of Conecticut before mentioned.
New-York is setled upon the West-end of the aforesaid Island, having that small arm of the Sea, which divides it from Long-Island on the South side of it, which runs away Eastward to New-England, and is Navigable, though dangerous. For about ten miles from New-York is a place called Hell-Gate, which being a narrow passage, there runneth a violent stream both upon flood and ebb, and in the middle lieth some Islands of Rocks, which the Current sets so violently upon, that it threatens present shipwreck; and upon the Flood is a large Whirlpool, which continually sends forth a hideous roaring, enough to affright any stranger from passing further, and to wait for some Charon to conduct him thorough; yet to those that are well acquainted little or no danger; yet a place of great defence against any enemy coming in that way, which a small Fortification would absolutely prevent, and necessitate them to come in at the West-end of Long-Island by Sandy Hook where Nutten-Island doth force them within Command of the Fort at New-York, which is one of the best Pieces of Defence in the North-parts of America.
New-York is built most of Brick and Stone, and covered with red and blackTile, and the Land being high, it gives at a distance a pleasing Aspect to the spectators. The Inhabitants consist most of English and Dutch, and have a considerable Trade with the Indians, for Bevers, Otter, Raccoon skins, with other Furs; As also for Bear, Deer and Elke skins; and are supplied with Venison and Fowl in the Winter, and Fish in the Summer by the Indians, which they buy at an easie rate; And having the Countrey round about them, they are continually furnished with all such provisions as is needful for the life of man; not only by the English and Dutch within their own, but likewise by the Adjacent Colonies.
The Commodities vented from thence is Furs and Skins before-mentioned; As likewise Tobacco made within the Colony, as good as is usually made in Mary-Land: Also Horses, Beef, Pork, Oyl, Pease,Wheat, and the like.
Long-Island, the West-end of which lies Southward of New-York, runs Eastward above one hundred miles, and is in some places eight, in some twelve, in some fourteen miles broad; it is inhabited from one end to the other. On the West end is four or five Dutch Towns, the rest being all English to the number of twelve, besides Villages and Farm houses. The Island is most of it of a very good soyle, and very natural for all sorts of English Grain; which they sowe and have very good increase of, besides all other Fruits and Herbs common in England, as also Tobacco, Hemp, Flax, Pumpkins, Melons &c.
The Fruits natural to the Island are Mulberries, Pesimons, Grapes great and small, Huckelberries, Cranberries, Plums of several sorts, Rasberries and Strawberries, of which last is such abundance in June, that the Fields and Woods are died red: Which the Countrey-people perceiving, instantly arm themselves with bottles of Wine, Cream, and Sugar, and instead of a Coat of Male, every one takes a Female upon his Horse behind him, and so rushing violently into the fields, never leave till they have disrob'd them of their red colours, and turned them into the old habit.
The greatest part of the Island is very full of Timber, as Oaks white and red, Walnut-trees, Chestnut-trees, which yield store of Mast for Swine, and are often therewith sufficiently fatted with Oat-Corn: as also Maples, Cedars, Saxifrage, Beach, Birch, Holly, Hazel, with many sorts more.
The Herbs which the Countrey naturally afford, are Purslain, white Orage, Egrimony, Violets, Penniroyal, Alicampane, besides Saxaparilla very common, with many more.
Yea, in May you shall see the Woods and Fields so curiously bedecked with Roses, and an innumerable multitude of delightful Flowers, not only pleasing the eye, but smell, that you may behold Nature contending with Art, and striving to equal, if not excel many Gardens in England: nay, did we know the virtue of all those Plants and Herbs growing there (which time may more discover) many are of opinion, and the Natives do affirm, that there is no disease common to the Countrey, but may be cured without Materials from other Nations.
There is several Navigable Rivers and Bays, which puts into the North-side of Long-Island, but upon the South-side which joyns to the Sea, it is so fortified with bars of sands and sholes, that it is a sufficient defence against any enemy, yet the South-side is not without Brooks and Riverets, which empty themselves into the Sea; yea, you shall scarce travel a mile, but you shall meet with one of them whose Christal streams run so swift, that they purge themselves of such stinking mud and filth, which the standing or low-paced streams of most brooks and rivers westward of this Colony leave lying, and are by the Suns exhalation dissipated, the Air corrupted, and many Fevers and other distempers occsioned, not incident to this Colony: Neither do the Brooks and Riverets premised, give way to the Frost in Winter, or draught in Summer, but keep their course throughout the year.
These Rivers are very well furnished with Fish, as Bosse, Sheepsheads, Place, Pearch, Trouts, Eels, Turtles, and divers others.
The Island is plentifully stored with all sorts of English Cattel, Horses, Hogs, Sheep, Goats, &c. no place in the North of America better, which they can both raise and maintain, by reason of the large and spacious Meadows or Marshes wherewith it is furnished, the Island likewise producing excellent English grass, the seed of which was brought out of England, which they sometimes mow twice a year.
For wilde Beasts there is Deer, Bear, Wolves, Foxes, Racoons, Otters, Musquashes and Skunks. Wild Fowl there is great store of, as Turkies, Heath-Hens, Quailes, Partridges, Pidgeons, Cranes, Geese of several sorts, Brants, Ducks, Widgeon, Teal, and divers others: There is also the red Bird, with divers sorts of singing birds, whose chirping notes salute the ears of Travellers with an harmonious discord, and in every pond and brook green silken Frogs, who warbling forth their untun'd tunes strive to bear a part in this musick.
Towards the middle of Long-Island lyeth a plain sixteen miles long and four broad, upon which plain grows very fine grass, that makes exceeding good Hay, and is very good pasture for sheep or other Cattel; where you shall find neither stick nor stone to hinder the Horse heels, or endanger them in their Races, and once a year the best Horses in the Island are brought hither to try their swiftness, and the swiftest rewarded with a silver Cup, two being Annually procured for that purpose. There are two or three other small plains of about a mile square, which are no small benefit to those Towns which enjoy them.
Upon the South-side of Long-Island in the Winter, lie store of Whales and Crampasses, which the inhabitants begin with small boats to make a trade, Catching to their no small benefit. Also an innumerable multitude of Seals, which make an excellent oyle; they lie all the Winter upon some broken Marshes and Beaches, or bars of sand before-mentioned, and might be easily got were there some skilful men would undertake it.
To say something of the Indians, there is now but few upon the Island, and those few no ways hurtful but rather serviceable to the English, and it is to be admired, how strangely they have decreast by the Hand of God, since the English first setling of those parts; for since my time, where there were six towns, they are reduced to two small Villages, and it hath been generally observed, that where the English come to setle, a Divine Hand makes way for them, by removing or cutting off the Indians, either by Wars one with the other, or by some raging mortal Disease.
They live principally by Hunting, Fowling, and Fishing: their Wives being the Husbandmen to till the Land, and plant their corn The meat they live most upon is Fish, Fowl, and Venison; they eat likewise Polecats, Skunks, Racoon, Possum, Turtles, and the like.
They build small moveable Tents, which they remove two or three times a year, having their principal quarters where they plant their Corn: their Hunting quarters, and their Fishing quarters: Their Recreations are chiefly Foot-ball and Cards, at which they will play away all they have, excepting a Flap to cover their nakedness: They are great lovers of strong drink, yet do not care for drinking, unless they have enough to make themselves drunk; and if there be so many in their Company, that there is not sufficient to make them all drunk, they usually select so many out of their Company, proportionable to the quantity of drink, and the rest must be Spectators And if any one chance to be drunk before he hath finisht his proportion, (which is ordinarily a quart of Brandy, Rum or Strong-waters) the rest will pour the rest of his part down his throat.
They often kill one another at these drunken Matches, which the friends of the murdered person, do revenge upon the Murderer unless he purchase his life with money, which they sometimes do.. Their money is made of a Periwinkle shell of which there is black and white, made much like unto beads, and put upon strings.
For their worship which is diabolical, it is performed usually but once or twice a year, unless upon some extraordinary occasion, as upon making of War or the like; their usual time is Michaelmass, when their corn is first ripe, the day being appointed by their chief Priest or pawaw; most of them go a hunting for venison. When they are all congregated, their priest tells them if he want money, there God will accept of no other offering, which the people beleeving, everyone gives money according to their ability. The priest takes the money and putting it into some dishes, sets them upon the top of their low flat-roofed houses, and falls to invocating their God to come and receive it, which with a many loud hallows and outcries, knocking the ground with sticks, and beating themselves, is performed by the priest, and seconded by the people.
After they have thus a while wearied themselves, the priest by his Conjuration brings in a devil amongst them, in the shape sometimes of a fowl, sometimes a beast, and sometimes a man, at which the people being amazed, not daring to stir, he improves the opportunity, steps out, and makes sure of the money, and then returns to lay the spirit, who in the meantime is sometimes gone, and takes some of the Company along with him; but if any English at such times do come amongst them, it puts a period to their proceeding, and they will desire their absence, telling them their God will not come whilst they are there.
In their wars they fight no pitcht fields, but when they have notice of an enemies approach, they endeavor to secure their wives and children upon some island, or in some thick swamp, and then with their guns and hatchets they way-lay their enemies, some lying behind one, some another, and it is a great fight where seven or eight is slain.
When any Indian dies amongst them, they bury him upright, sitting upon a seat, with his gun, money, and such goods as he hath with him, that he may be furnished in the other world, which they conceive is Westward, where they shall have great store of Game for Hunting and live easie lives. At his Burial his nearest Relations attend the Hearse with their faces painted black, and do visit the grave once or twice a day, where they send forth sad lamentations so long, till time hath wore the blackness off their faces and afterwards every year once they view the grave, make a new mourning for him, trimming up of the Grave, not suffering of a Grass to grow by it; they fence their graves with a hedge, and cover the tops with Mats, to shelter them from the rain.
Any Indian being dead, his Name dies with him, no person daring ever after to mention his Name, it being not only a breach of their Law, but an abuse to his friends and relations present, as if it were done on purpose to renew their grief: and any other person whatsoever that is named after that name doth incontinently change his name and takes a new one their names are not proper set names as amongst Christians, but every one invents a name to himself, which he likes best. Some calling themselves Rattle-snake, Skunk, Bucks-horn, or the like: And if a person die, that his name is some word which is used in speech, they likewise change that word, and invent some new one, which makes a great change and alteration in their language.
When any person is sick, after some means used by his friends, every one pretending skill in Physick; that proving ineffectual, they send for a Pawaw or Priest, who sitting down by the sick person, without the least enquiry after the distemper, waits for a gift, which he proportions his work accordingly to: that being received, he first begins with a low voice to call upon his God, calling sometimes upon one, sometimes on another, raising his voice higher and higher, beating of his naked breasts and sides, till the sweat runneth down, and his breath is almost gone, then that little which is remaining, he evaporates upon the face of the sick person three or four times together, and so takes his leave.
Their Marriages are performed without any Ceremony, the Match being first made by money. The sum being agreed upon and given to the woman, it makes a consummation of their Marriage, if I may so call it: After that, he keeps her during his pleasure, and upon the least dislike turns her away and takes another: It is no offence for their married women to lie with another man, provided she acquaint her husband, or some of her nearest Relations with it, but if not, it is accounted such a fault that they sometimes punish it with death:
An Indian may have two wives or more if he please; but it is not so much in use as it was since the English came amongst them: they being ready in some measure to imitate the English in things both good and bad: any Maid before she is married doth lie with whom she please for money, without any scandal, or the least aspersion to be cast upon her, it being so customary, and their laws tolerating of it. They are extraordinary charitable one to another, one having nothing to spare, but he freely imparts it, to his friends, and whatsoever they get by gaming or any other way, they share one to another, leaving themselves commonly the least share.
At their Cantica's or dancing matches, where all persons that come are freely entertained, it being a Festival time: Their custom is when they dance, everyone but the Dancers to have a short stick in their hand, and to knock the ground and sing altogether, whilst they that dance sometimes act war-like postures and then they come in painted for War with their faces black and red, or some all black, some all red, with some streaks of white under their eyes, and so jump and leap up and down without any order, uttering many expressions of their intended valour. For other Dances they only shew what Antick tricks their ignorance will lead them to, wringing of their bodies and faces after a strange manner; sometimes jumping into the fire, sometimes catching up a Fire-brand, and biting off a live coal, with many such tricks, that will aifright, if not please an English man to look upon them, resembling rather a company of infernal Furies than men.
When their King or Sachem sits in Council, he hath a Company of armed men to guard his Person great respect being shewen him by the People, which is principally manifested by their silence: After he hath declared the cause of their convention, he demands their opinion, ordering who shall begin: The person ordered to speak, after he hath declared his minde, tells them he hath done: no man ever interrupting any person in his speech, nor offering to speak, though he make never so many or long stops, till he says he hath no more to say: the Council having ah declared their opinions, the King after some pause gives the definitive sentence, which is commonly seconded with a shout from the people, every one seeming to applaud, and manifest their Assent to what is determined:
If any person condemned to die, which is seldom, unless for Murder or Incest, the King himself goes out in person (for you must understand they have no prison, and the guilty person flies into the Woods) where they go inquest of him, and having found him, the King shoots first, though at never such a distance and then happy is the man can shoot him down, and cut off his Long which they commonly wear, who for his pains is made some Captain, or other military Officer.
Their Clothing is a yard and a half of broad Cloth, which is made for the Indian Trade, which they hang upon their shoulders; and half a yard of the same cloth, which being put betwixt their legs, and brought up before and behinde, and tied with a Girdle about their middle, hangs with a flap on each side: They wear no Hats, but commonly wear about their Heads a Snake's skin, or a Belt of their money, or a kind of Ruff made with Deers hair, and died of a scarlet colour, which they esteem very rich.
They grease their bodies and hair very often, and paint their faces with several colours, as black, white, red, yellow, blew, etc. which they take great pride in, everyone being painted in a several manner: Thus much for the Customs of the Indians.
Within two Leagues of New-York lieth Staten-Island, it bears from New-York West something Southerly: It is about twenty miles long, and four or five broad;
It is most of it very good Land full of timber, and produceth all such commodities as Long-Island doth besidesTin and store of Iron Oar, and the Calamine stone is said likewise to be found there: There is but one Town upon it consisting of English and French, but is capable of entertaining more inhabitants: betwixt this and Long-Island is a large Bay, and is the coming in for all ships and vessels out of the Sea: On the North-side of this Island After-Kull River puts into the main Land on the West-side, whereof is two or three Towns, but on the East-side but one. There is very great Marshes or Meadows on both sides of it, excellent good Land, and good convenience for the setling of several Towns there grows black Walnut and Locust, as their doth in Virginia, with mighty tall straight Timber, as good as any in the North of America: It produceth any Commoditie Long-Island doth.
For the Indians, excepting one place, called the Sopers, which was kept by a Garrison, but since the reducement of those parts under His Majesties obedience and a Patent granted to his Royal Highness the Duke of York, which is about six years; since by the care and diligence of the Honorable Col. Nichols sent thither Deputy to His Highness, such a League of Peace was made, and Friendship concluded betwixt that Colony and the Indians, that they have not resisted or disturbed any Christians there, in the setling or peaceable possessing of any Lands with that Government, but every man hath sate under his own Vine, and hath peaceably reapt and enjoyed the fruits of their own labours, which God continue.
Next this River Westward is a place called Newasons, where is two or three Towns and Villages setled upon the Sea-side, but none betwixt that and Delewer Bay, which is about sixty miles, all which is a rich Champain Countrey, free from stones, and indifferent level; store of excellent good timber, and very well watered, having brooks or rivers ordinarily, one or more in every miles travel. The Countrey is full of Deer, Elks, Bear, and other Creatures, as in other parts of the Countrey, where you shall meet with no inhabitant in this journey, but a few Indians, where there is stately Oaks, whose broad-branched-tops serve for no other use, but to keep off the Suns heat from the wilde beasts of the Wilderness, where is grass as high as a man's middle, that serves for no other end except to maintain the Elks and Deer, who never devour a hundredth part of it, then to be burnt every Spring to make way for new.
How many poor people in the world would think themselves happy, had they an Acre or two of land, whilst here is hundreds, nay thousands of Acres, that would invite inhabitants.
Delewerbay, the mouth of the River, lyeth about the Mid-way betwixt New-York and the Capes of Virginia: It is a very pleasant River and Countrey, but very few inhabitants, and they being mostly Swedes, Dutch, and Finns: about sixty miles up the River is the principal Town called New-Castle, which is about 40 miles from Mary-Land, and very good way to travel, either with horse or foot, the people are setled all along the west side sixty miles above New-Castle; the land is good for all sorts of English grain, and wanteth nothing but a good people to populate it, it being capable of entertaining many hundred families.
Some may admire, that these great and rich Tracts of land, lying so adjoyning to New-England and Virginia, should be no better inhabited, and that the richness of the soyle, the healthfulness of the Climate, and the like, should be no better a motive to induce people from both places to populate it.
To which I answer, that whilst it was under the Dutch Government, which hath been till within these six years; there was little encouragement for any English, both in respect of their safety from the Indians, the Dutch being almost always in danger of them; and their Bever-trade not admitting of a War, which would have been destructive to their trade, which was the main thing prosecuted by the Dutch. And secondly, the Dutch gave such bad Titles to Lands, together with their exacting of the Tenths of all which men produced off their Land, that did much hinder the populating of it; together with that general dislike the English have of living under another Government but since the reducement of it there is several Towns of a considerable greatness begun and setled by people out of New-England and every day more and more come to view and setle.
To give some satisfaction to people that shall be desirous to transport themselves thither, (the Countrey being capable of entertaining many thousand,) how and after what manner people live, and how Land may be procured, &c. I shall answer, that the usual way; is for a Company of people to joyn together, either enough to make a Town, or a lesser number; These go with the consent of the Governor, and view a Tract of Land, there being choice enough, and finding a place convenient for a Town, they return to the Governor, who upon their desire admits them into the Colony, and gives them a Grant or Patent for the said Land, for themselves and Associates.
These persons being thus qualified, setle the place, and take in what inhabitants to themselves they shall see cause to admit of, till their Town be full; these Associates thus taken in have equal priviledges with themselves, and they make a division of the Land suitable to every mans occasions, no man being debarr'd of such quantities as he hath occasion for, the rest they let lie in common till they have occasion for a new division, never dividing their Pasture-land at all, which lies in common to the whole Town.
The best Commodities for any to carry with them is Clothing, the Countrey being full of all sorts of Cattel, which they may furnish themselves withal at an easie rate, for any sorts of English Goods, as likewise Instruments for Husbandry and Building, with Nails, Hinges, Glass and the like; For the manner how they get a livelihood, it is principally by Corn and Cartel, which will there fetch them any Commodities; likewise they sowe store of Flax, which they make every one Cloth of for their own wearing, as also woollen Cloth, and Linsey-woolsey, and had they more Tradesmen amongst them, they would in a little time live without the help of any other Countrey for their Clothing; For Tradesmen there is none but live happily there, as Carpenters, Blacksmiths, Masons, Tailors, Weavers, Shoemakers,Tanners, Brickmakers, and so any other Trade; them that have no Trade be take themselves to Husbandry, get Land of their own, and live exceeding well.
Thus have I briefly given you a Relation of New-York, with the places thereunto adjoyning; In which, if I have err'd, it is principally in not giving it its due commendation; for besides those earthly blessings where it is stor'd, Heaven hath not been wanting to open his Treasures in sending down seasonable showers upon the Earth, blessing it with a sweet and pleasant Air, and a Continuation of such Influences as tend to the Health both of Man and Beast: and the Climate hath such an affinity with that of England, that it breeds ordinarily no alteration to those which remove thither; that the name of seasoning, which is common to some other Countreys hath never there been known;
That I may say, and say truly, that if there be any terrestrial happiness to be had by people of all ranks, especially of an inferior rank, it must certainly be here: there any one may furnish himself with land, and live rent-free, yea, with such a quantity of land, that he may weary himself with walking over his fields of Corn, and all sorts of Grain: and let his stock of Cattel amount to some hundreds, he needs not fear their want of pasture in the Summer, or Fodder in the Winter the Woods affording sufficient supply.
For the Summer-season, where you have grass as high as a mans knees, nay, as high as his waste, interlaced with Pea-vines and other weeds that Cattel much delight in, as much as a man can press thorough; and these woods also every mile or half-mile are furnished with fresh ponds, brooks, or rivers where all sorts of Cattel, during the heat of the day, do quench their thirst and cool themselves; these brooks and rivers being invironed of each side with several sorts of trees and Grape-vines, the Vines, Arbor-like, interchanging places and crossing these rivers, does shade and shelter them from the scorching beams of Sols fiery influence:
Here those which Fortune hath frown'd upon in England, to deny them an inheritance amongst their Brethren, or such as by their utmost labors can scarcely procure a living, I say such may procure here inheritances of lands and possessions stock themselves with all sorts of Cattel, enjoy the benefit of them whilst they live, and leave them to the benefit of their children when they die:
Here you need not trouble the Shambles for meat, nor Bakers and Brewers for Beer and Bread, nor run to a Linnen-draper for a supply, every one making their own Linnen, and a great part of their woollen-cloth for their ordinary wearing: And how prodigal, if I may so say, hath Nature been to furnish the Countrey with all sorts of wilde Beasts and Fowle, which every one hath an interest in, and may hunt at his pleasure; where besides the pleasure in hunting, he may furnish his house with excellent fat Venison, Turkies, Geese, Heath-Hens, Cranes, Swans, Ducks, Pidgeons, and the like: and wearied with that, he may go a Fishing, where the Rivers are so furnished, that he may supply himself with Fish before he can leave off the Recreation:
Where you may travel by Land upon the same Continent hundreds of miles, and passe thorough Towns and Villages, and never hear the least complaint for want, nor hear any ask you for a farthing: there you may lodge in the fields and woods, travel from one end of the Countrey to another, with as much security as if you were lockt within your own Chamber; And if you chance to meet with an Indian-Town, they shall give you the best entertainment they have, and upon your desire, direct you on your way:
But that which adds happiness to all the rest, is the Healthfulness of the place, where many people in twenty years time never know what sickness is: where they look upon it as a great mortality if two or three die out of a town in a years time; where besides the sweetness of the Air, the Countrey itself sends forth such a fragrant smell, that it may be perceived at Sea before they can make the Land: where no evil fog or vapour doth no sooner appear, but a North-west or Westerly winde doth immediately dissolve it, and drive it away:
What shall I say more? You shall scarce see a house, but the South-side is begirt with Hives of Bees, which increase after an incredible manner: That I must needs say, that if there be any terrestrial Canaan, 'tis surely here, where the Land floweth with milk and honey. The inhabitants are blest with Peace and plenty, blessed in their Countrey, blessed in their Fields, blessed in the Fruit of their bodies, in the fruit of their grounds, in the increase of their Cattel, Horses and Sheep, blessed in their Basket, and in their Store:
In a word, blessed in whatsoever they take in hand, or go about, the Earth yielding plentiful increase to all their painful labours.
Were it not to avoid prolixity I could say a great deal more, and yet say too little, how free are those parts of the world from that pride and oppression, with their miserable effects, which many, nay almost all parts of the world are troubled, with being ignorant of that pomp and bravery which aspiring Humours are servants to, and striving after almost everywhere: where a Waggon or Cart gives as good content as a Coach; and a piece of their home-made Cloth, better than the finest Lawns or richest Silks: and though their low-roofed houses may seem to shut their doors against pride and luxury, yet how do they stand wide open to let charity in and out, either to assist each other, or relieve a stranger, and the distance of place from other Nations, doth secure them from the envious frowns of ill-affected Neighbours, and the troubles which usually arise thence.
Now to conclude, its possible some may say, what needs a Relation of a place of so long standing as New-York hath been? In answer to which I have said something before, as to satisfie the desires of many that never had any Relation of it. Secondly, though it hath been long setled, yet but lately reduced to his Majesties obedience, and by that means but new or unknown to the English; Else certainly those great number of Furs, that have been lately transported from thence into Holland had never past the hands of our English Furriers: Thirdly, never any Relation before was published to my knowledge, and the place being capable of entertaining so great a number of inhabitants, where they may with Gods blessing, and their own industry, live as happily as any people in the world.
A true Relation was necessary, not only for the encouragement of many that have a desire to remove themselves, but for the satisfaction of others that would make a trade thither.
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