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NEW YORK IN 1692.
LETTER FROM CHARLES LODWICK,
MR. FRANCIS LODWICK AND MR. HOOKER,
DATED MAY 20, 1692.
READ BEFORE THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDOX.
(Copied from the original in the British Museum, for Joux CARTER BROWN, Esq. of Provi
dence, and by him communicated for publication.)
NEW YORK IN 169 2.
[Sloane MS. No. 3333, Art. 18, p. 93, et seq. ; (original paging, 253 et seq.) Ascough's Catalogue of MSS. in
British Museum, p. 653, No. 3339: 18.]
Mr. Charles Loderick, his acct. of New Yorke, in a Letter
to his Unkel, Mr. Francis Lodwicke, and Mr. Hooker, Members of ye Royal Society, dated from New York, May 20, 1692. Recd Sept. 5, A. D. 1692, and read before yo
Royal Society, Nov. 26, 1713. Ilond. GENTLEMEN :
I have sufficient reasons to beg your pardons for my neglect; it is now full 4 years since I reca y commands to give you what Acce I was capable, of ye Constitution of this Country, which indeed had been much sooner obeyed, had not ye Confusion and Disturbance here among ourselves wholly impeded even our common Affairs, that for almost 3 years, we had enough to do to exercise all our brains to secure our ps’ons, and that little we had, from ye Cruelty and Tyranny of an ungovernable mobb; which by ye peculiar mercy of God, and ye extended Favor of our Prince, we are in part released from.
I have endeavor'd to collect ye Opinions of our gravest Sages here, where my young experience would not lett me conclude, and tho' it be far from what it ought, for where M" of ships are ye chiefest Mathematicians, and ye Na. tives Geographers, with such tools you must not expect a good Fabric, especially by ye hands of so unskillsull a workman. But I shall wholly forbear makeing any farther excuses for ye great faults and many impertinencies you will find; and since it is only design'd for y' private diversions, I doubt not but you will read, and pardon, and in full assurance of yr Generosities, I take leave to subscribe myself, gentlemen, Yr most obedient, humble servt,
ciis. LODWICK New York, 20th May, 1692.
The Citty New York lies in America, in ye Late of 40 Degr: 40 Min: North, on an Island, distant from ye open Sea about 7 leagues northward, scituate between 2 Riyers, one called Hudson's river, running North by East, navigable for great ships, near 40 leagues up; ye other River runs East by North nearest, and is made by Long Island, and in a passage to ye Sea betwixt that and ye main Land. This Island of New York was formerly called by ye Natives, Manhattens, is ab 5 leagues in extent, and is an Island by a runn of water fordable att Low water between ye 2 forementioned rivers ; before ye Town is an excellent Harbor, Land-Lokt on all sides; ye country woody, but very pleasant. Our chiefest unhappyness here is too great a mixture of nations, and English ye least part; ye French Protestants have in ye late King's reign resorted hither in great nūbers proportionably to ye other nation's inhabitants. Ye Dutch, generally ye most frugall and laborious, and consequently ye richest; whereas most of ye English are ye contrary, especially ye trading part. As to Religion, we run so high into all Opinions, that here is, (I fear,) but little reall; and how justly might ye Righteous God pour down his impending Judgments on us; yet God hath blest us with a healthy Climate, a fruitful Soil, plenty of all sorts of provisions needful for ye support of Mankind. We are ye chief granary to most of je West India islands. Boston was formerly famous for excellent Wheat, whereas now ye whole Massatusetts colony can scarce produce one hundred Bushells, and peas ye same ; it grows up as fair as any can do, and when it begins to ear, black spotts ab' ye middle of ye stalk, which hinders ye sap ascending, ye ear withers and produces nothing but chaff. None of our wise men here can assign any natural reason for this, when but just out of ye Massatusetts, in Coñecticut colony, grows as fair corn as any in America. A small worm does often destroy our peas here while they grow, tho’ seldom any other grain. It is [in]my Opinion wholly uncertain if not improbable, that this Main of America should have overflowed since ye Deluge, by reason of ye extreā high land generally, nor have I been able to observe any signs of a second Deluvium; many Shells of Oysters and other shell fish are found upon high hills as well as valleys, and sometimes two or three foot within ye Earth, but are supposed to have been brought there by ye Natives, ye fish having served them for food, and ye shells rotting, serve for dung to thier land, which is common in these parts now among ye Christians.
Most sorts of European Animalls thrive here very well, tho' ye Country before ye discovery was not known to have produced any of those usual sorts of Beasts, as horses, cows, sheep, hoggs, or goats; Sheep would increase here and do very much, English or clover grass agreeing very well with ye land, yet ye stature of ye cattle seem rather to decrease here, wch might doubtless in a great measure be helpt by care and good husbandry: An Ox shall ordinarily wiegh here six hundred wieght, rarely one thousand; whither it be occasioned by ye use of too young bulls, one can scarce keep a bull till 2 years old without cutting, they grow so fierce and mischievous, or whither ye piercing heat and sometimes great drought in ye summer, may not be instrumental to hinder thier growth, besides here is a mischievous insect call'd a musqueta, or small little fly, which extreamly vexes ye cattle, and is often observ'd to make ym grow lean, hindering thier feeding.
We are not so careful here, nither, of ye breed of horses as in Europe, which without doubt be much mended by industry; they commonly turn thier spare horses into ye woods, where they breed and become wild; and as they have occasion they catch up ye colts, and break them for thier use ; all sorts of cattle are now in aboundance and increase dayly; a horse is sold from 2 to 6 pound, an ox or cow from 2 to 5 pound, this country money, wch is 25 per cent. worse than sterling.
Most fruit trees grow here and thrive, especially Apples, Pears, Cherries and Peaches, &c. Of ye last ye country abounds of most sorts usual in England; they grow commonly along ye high ways, and in such quantity that they become fruit to ye hoggs; Apricocks are very rare, they not being able so well to endure our sharp frosts as ye others do, and no doubt all vegetables will grow here if not of too tender a root; all garden herbs are here in aboundance, and will grow in half ye time they do in England, tho our Spring beginns here not so soon as in England, yet when it beginns goes on with greater vigour; we generally observe most fruits lessen in bigness every year; a large bean planted here shall bear a bean scarce half so big as ye seed was.
Rosemary will not endure our Winter at all; Artichoak and Colly flowers will grow, but are very tender, and bear a fruit no bigger than a good apple.