Life in New­found­land in 1611

Part 2 of 2

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH -

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.”

The end

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