Life in Newfoundland in 1611
Part 2 of 2
and is yet well with us.”
Guy suggests, “If the industry of men and the presence of domestic cattle were applied to the good of this country of New-found-land, there would shortly arise just cause of contentment to the inhabitants thereof.”
Captains and crews of summer fishing vessels are impressed by the mild winter on the plantation. The absence of ice about the bay and harbour is especially good to know. There are icebergs, but nowhere near the coast. The colonists are starting to fall in love with the country, which promises a good living from both the sea and land. At Green Bay, where some of his men went to fish, Guy reports, there is much cultivatable land. Great herds of caribou are visible. Nearer Cape Razo ( Race), Reneuse ( Renews) and Trepassey, there is more open ground and many deer.
Guy then itemizes the things the colonists need from England.
“ For as concerning sending of cattle,” he writes, “it will be best that it be deferred until the next spring. And concerning victuals, in regard to the quantity we have of it remaining of old, together with what has come now, as with the dry fish that here we may be stored with, I am in good hope there will not want any to last till this time 12 months.”
Guy tells Slaney that colonists who overwinter will be in no want, though a ship might be sent out about Allhallowtide (early December). Vessels can come and go any time of the winter. “ This summer,” Guy continues, “I purpose to see most places between Cape Race, Placentia and Bona Vista (Bonavista) and, at the return of the fishing ships, to entertain a fit number of men to maintain here the winter, and to set over them and to take care of all things here, with your patience, one Master William Colston, a discreet young man, and my brother, Philip Guy, who have wintered with me and have promised me to undertake this charge until my return next spring or till it shall be otherwise disposed of by you.”
Evidently, letter writers in those days enjoyed long sentences! Guy feels no need to continue writing his letter to Slaney. Guy will be able to give a full and complete account once he returns to England in the autumn. He promises to discuss what might be saved in wages and food by sending home those colonists who will be better in the homeland than in Newfoundland.
He informs Slaney that included in the bill of lading of goods sent to the English company are three hogsheads of charcoal made from birch, pine, spruce and fir, all of which provide good fires for the blacksmith.
Guy concludes his letter with a prayer: “So praying God for the prosperity of your Worships and the whole company, with hope that his divine Majesty, which have given us such a good beginning, will always bless our proceedings.
“My duty most humbly remembered, I take my leave.”