The planters plea· Or The grounds of plantations examined, and vsuall objections answered Together with a manifestation of the causes mooving such as have lately vndertaken a plantation in Nevv-England: for the satisfaction of those that question the lawfulnesse of the action.
White, John, 1575-1648.

CHAP. IIII. That New-England is a fit Country for the sea∣ting of an English Colonie, for the propagation of Religion.

NOT onely our acquaintance with * the soyle and Natives there, but more especially our opportunity of trading thither for Furres and fish, perswade this truth, if other things be answerable. It is well knowne, before our breach with Spaine, we usual∣ly sent out to New-England, yearely forty or fifty saile of ships of reasonable good burthen for fish∣ing onely. And howsoever it fals out that our New-found-land voyages prove more beneficiall to the Merchants; yet it is as true, these to New-England are found farre more profitable to poore Fishermen; so that by that time all reckonings are cast up, these voyages come not farre behind the other in aduantage to the State. *

No Countrey yeelds a more propitious ayre for our tempor, then New-England, as experience Page  24 hath made manifest, by all relations: manie of our people that have sound themselves alway weake and sickly at home, have become strong, and healthy there: perhaps by the drynesse of the ayre and constant temper of it, which seldome varies suddenly from cold to heate, as it doth with us: So that Rheumes are very rare among our En∣glish there; Neyther are the Natives at any time troubled with paine of teeth, sorenesse of eyes, or ache in their limbes. It may bee the nature of the water conduceth somewhat this way; which all affirme to keepe the body alwaies temperately so∣luble, and consequently helps much to the pre∣venting, and curing of the Gout, and Stone, as some have found by experiēce. As for provisions for life: The Come of the Countrey (which it produceth in good proportion with reasonable labour) is apt for nourishmēt, & agrees, although not so well with our taste at first; yet very well with our health; nay, is held by some Physitians, to be restorative. If wee like not that, wee may make use of our owne Graines, which agree well with that soyle, and so doe our Cattle: nay, they grow unto a greater bulke of body there, then with us in England. Vnto which if wee adde the fish, fowle, and Venison, which that Country yeelds in great abundance, it cannot be questioned but that soile may assure sufficient provision for food. And being naturally apt for Hempe and Flax especially, may promise us Linnen sufficient with our labour, and woollen too if it may be Page  25 thought fit to store it with sheepe.

The Land affords void ground enough to re∣ceive more people then this State can spare, and * that not onely wood-grounds, and others, which are unfit for present use: but, in many places, much cleared ground for tillage, and large mar∣shes for hay and feeding of cattle, which comes to passe by the desolatiō hapning through a three yeeres Plague, about twleve or sixteene yeeres past, which swept away most of the Inhabitants all along the Sea-coast, and in some places utter∣ly consumed man, woman & childe, so that there is no person left to lay claime to the soyle which they possessed; In most of the rest, the Contagion hath scarce left alive one person of an hundred. And which is remarkable, such a Plague hath not been knowne, or remembred in any age past; nor then raged above twenty or thirty miles up into the Land, nor seized upon any other but the Natives, the English in the heate of the Sicknesse commercing with them without hurt or danger. Besides, the Natives invite us to sit downe by them, and offer us what ground wee will: so that eyther want of possession by others, or the posses∣sors gift, and sale, may assure our right: we neede not feare a cleare title to the soyle.

In all Colonies it is to bee desired that the daughter may answer something backe by way of * retribution to the mother that gave her being. Nature hath as much force, and founds as strong a relation betweene people and people, as be∣tweene Page  26 person and person: So that a Colonie de∣nying due respect to the State from whose bow∣els it issued, is as great a monster, as an unnaturall childe. Now, a Colonie planted in New-England may be many wayes usefull to this State.

As first, in furthering our Fishing-voyages (one * of the most honest, and every way profitable im∣ployment that the Nation undertakes) It must needes be a great advantage unto our men after so long a voyage to be furnished with fresh victu∣all there; and that supplyed out of that Land, without spending the provisions of our owne countrey. But there is hope besides, that the Co∣lonie shall not onely furnish our Fisher-men with Victuall, but with Salt too, unlesse mens expecta∣tion and conjectures much deceive them: and so quit unto them a great part of the charge of their voyage, beside the hazard of adventure.

Next, how serviceable this Country must needs bee for provisions for shipping, is sufficiently knowne already: At present it may yeeld Planks, Masts, Oares, Pitch, Tarre, and Iron; and here∣after (by the aptnesse of the Soyle for Hempe) if the Colonie increase, Sailes and Cordage. What other commodities it may afford besides for trade, time will discover. Of Wines among the rest, there can be no doubt; the ground yeel ding naturall Vines in great abundance and vari∣etie; and of these, some as good as any are found∣in France by humane culture. But in the possibili∣tie of the serviceablenesse of the Colonie to this Page  27 State, the judgement of the Dutch may somewhat confirme us, who have planted in the same soyle, and make great account of their Colonie there.

But the greatest advantage must needes come * unto the Natives themselves, whom wee shall teach providence and industry, for want whereof they perish oftentimes, while they make short provisions for the present, by reason of their idle∣nesse, & that they have, they spend and wast unne∣cessarily, without having respect to times to come. Withall, commerce and example of our course of living, cannot but in time breed civility among them, and that by Gods blessing may make way for religion consequently, and for the saving of their soules. Vnto all which may bee added, the safety and protection of the persons of the Na∣tives, which are secured by our Colonies. In times past the Tarentines (who dwell from those of Mat∣tachusets bay, neere which our men are seated; about fifty or sixty leagues to the North-East) in∣habiting a soile unfit to produce that Countrey graine, being the more hardy people, were accu∣stomed yearely at harvest to come down in their Canoes, and reape their fields, and carry away their Corne, and destroy their people, which wonderfully weakened, and kept them low in times past: from this evill our neighbourhood hath wholy freed them, and consequently secured their persons and estates; which makes the Na∣tives there so glad of our company.

Page  28

Objection 1.

But if we have any spare people, Ireland is a fitter place to receive them then New-England. Being 1, Nearer. 2, Our owne. 3, Void in some parts. 4, Fruitfull. 5, Of importance for the securing of our owne Land. 6, Nee∣ding our helpe for their recovery out of blindnesse and superstition.

Answere.

Ireland is well-nigh sufficiently peopled al∣ready, or will be in the next age. Besides, this worke needs not hinder that, no more then the plantation in Virginia, Bermudas, S. Christo∣phers, Barbados, &c. which are all of them appro∣ved, and incouraged as this is. As for religion, it hath reasonable footing in Ireland already, and may easily be propagated further, if wee bee not wanting to our selves. This Countrey of New-England is destitute of all helpes, and meanes, by wch the people might come out of the snare of Sa∣tan. Now although it be true, that I should regard my sonne more then my servant; yet I must rather provide a Coate for my servant that goes naked, then give my sonne another, who hath reasonable clothing already.

Objection 2.

But New-England hath divers discommodities, the Snow, and coldnesse of the winter, which our English bodies can hardly brooke: and the annoyance of men byPage  29Muskitoes, and Serpents: and of Cattle, and Corne, by wilde beasts.

Answere.

The cold of Winter is tolerable, as experience hath, and doth manifest, and is remedied by the abundance of fuell. The Snow lyes indeed about a foot thicke for ten weekes or there about; but where it lies thicker, and a month longer, as in ma∣ny parts of Germany, men finde a very comfortable dwelling. As for the Serpents, it is true, there are some, and these larger then our Adders; but in ten yeares experience no man was ever indangered by them; and as the countrey is better stored with people, they will be found fewer, and as rare as among us here. As for the wilde beasts, they are no more, nor so much dangerous or hurtfull here, as in germany and other parts of the world. The Muskitoes indeed infest the planters, about foure moneths in the heat of Summer; but after one yeares acquaintance, men make light account of them; some fleight defence for the hands and face, smoake, and a close house may keepe them off. Neither are they much more noysome then in Spaine, Germany, and other parts; nay, then the fennish parts of Essex, and Lincolne-shire. Besides it is credibly reported, that twenty miles inward into the Countrey they are not found: but this is certaine, and tried by experience, after foure or five yeares habitation they waxe very thinne: It may be the hollownesse of the ground

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Page  32pected in New-England but competency to live on at the best, and that must bee purchased with hard la∣bour, whereas divers other parts of the West-Indies offer a richer soyle, which easily allures Inhabitants, by the tender of a better condition then they live in at present.

Answer.

An unanswerable argument, to such as make the advancement of their estates, the scope of their undertaking; but no way a discouragement to such as aime at the propagation of the Gospell, which can never bee advanced but by the preserva∣tion of Piety in those that carry it to strangers; Now wee know nothing sorts better with Piety them Competēcy; a truth which Agur hath deter∣mined long agoe, Prov. 30. 8. Nay, Heathen men by the light of Nature were directed so farre as to discover the overflowing of riches to be enemie to labour, sobriety, justice, love and magnanimi∣ty: and the nurse of pride, wantonnesse, and con∣tention; and therefore laboured by all meanes to keepe out the love and desire of them from their well-ordered States, and observed and professed the comming in and admiration of them to have beene the foundation of their ruine. If men de∣sire to have a people degenerate speedily, and to corrupt their mindes and bodies too, and be∣sides to tole-in theeves and spoilers from abroad; let them seeke a rich soile, that brings in much with little labour; but if they desire that Piety Page  33 and godlinesse should prosper; accompanied with sobriety, justice and love, let them choose a Countrey such as this is; even like France, or England, which may yeeld sufficiency with hard labour and industry: the truth is, there is more cause to feare wealth then poverty in that soyle.