Infomotions, Inc.Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 / Prentiss, E. (Elizabeth), 1818-1878



Author: Prentiss, E. (Elizabeth), 1818-1878
Title: Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): savages; castle; beaver; leagues; beaver skins; river; skins
Contributor(s): Jameson, J. Franklin (John Franklin), 1859-1937 [Editor]
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Identifier: etext2128
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Original Narratives of Early American History

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Reference material and sources.

Emanuel Van Meteren, On Hudson's Voyage, 1610.   In J. Franklin 
Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original 
Narratives of Early American History).  NY: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1909.


We have observed in our last book that the Directors of the East 
India Company in Holland had sent out in March last, on purpose 
to seek a passage to China by northeast or northwest, a skilful 
English pilot, named Herry Hutson, in a Vlie boat, having a crew 
of eighteen or twenty men, partly English, partly Dutch, well 
provided.

This Henry Hutson left the Texel on the 6th of April, 1609, 
doubled the Cape of Norway the 5th of May, and directed his 
course along the northern coasts towards Nova Zembia; but he 
there found the sea as full of ice as he had found it in the preceding 
year, so that they lost the hope of effecting anything during the 
season.  This circumstance, and the cold, which some of his 
men, who had been in the East Indies, could not bear, caused 
quarrels among the crew, they being partly English, partly Dutch, 
upon which Captain Hutson laid before them two propositions.  
The first of these was to go to the coast of America, to the latitude 
of 40 degrees, moved thereto mostly by letters and maps which a 
certain Captain Smith had sent him from Virginia, and by which 
he indicated to him a sea leading into the western ocean, by the 
north of the southern English colony.  Had this information been 
true (experience goes as yet to the contrary), it would have been 
of great advantage, as indicating a short way to India.  The other
proposition was to direct their search through Davis's Straits.  
This meeting with general approval, they sailed thitherward 
on the 14th of May, and arrived on the last day of May with 
a good wind at the Faroe Islands, where they stopped but 
twenty-four hours, to supply themselves with fresh water.  
After leaving these islands, they sailed on, till on the 18th 
of July they reached the coast of Nova Francia, under 44 
degrees, where they were obliged to run in, in order to get 
a new foremast, having lost theirs.  They found one, and set 
it up.  They found this a good place for cod-fishing, as also 
for traffic in good skins and furs, which were to be got there 
at a very low price. But the crew behaved badly towards the 
people of the country, taking their property by force, out of 
which there arose quarrels among themselves.  The English, 
fearing that between the two they would be outnumbered and 
worsted, were therefore afraid to pursue the matter further.  
So they left that place on the 26th of July, and kept out at sea 
till the 3d of August, when they came near the coast, in 42 
degrees of latitude.  Thence they sailed on, till on the 12th of 
August they again reached the shore, under 37 degrees 45'.  
Thence they sailed along the shore until they reached 40 degrees 
45', where they found a good entrance, between two headlands, 
and entered on the 12th of September into as fine a river as can 
be found, wide and deep, with good anchoring ground on both 
sides.

Their ship finally sailed up the river as far as 42 degrees 40'.  
But their boat went higher up.  In the lower part of the river 
they found strong and warlike people; but in the upper part 
they found friendly and polite people, who had an abundance 
of provisions, skins, and furs, of martens and foxes, and many 
other commodities, as birds and fruit, even white and red grapes, 
and they traded amicably with the people.  And of all the above-
mentioned commodities they brought some home.  When they 
had thus been about fifty leagues up the river, they returned on 
the 4th of October, and went again to sea.  More could have been 
done if there had been good-will among the crew and if the want 
of some necessary provisions had not prevented it.   While at sea, 
they held counsel together, but were of different opinions.  The 
mate, a Dutchman, advised to winter in Newfoundland, and to 
search the northwestern passage of Davis throughout.  This was 
opposed by Skipper Hutson.  He was afraid of his mutinous crew, 
who had sometimes savagely threatened him; and he feared that 
during the cold season they would entirely consume their provi-
sions, and would then be obliged to return, [with] many of the 
crew ill and sickly.  Nobody, however, spoke of returning home 
to Holland, which circumstance made the captain still more 
suspicious.  He proposed therefore to sail to Ireland, and winter 
there, which they all agreed to.  At last they arrived at Dartmouth, 
in England, the 7th of November, whence they informed their 
employers, the Directors in Holland, of their voyage.  They 
proposed to them to go out again for a search in the northwest, 
and that, besides the pay, and what they already had in the ship, 
fifteen hundred florins should be laid out for an additional 
supply of provisions.  He [Hudson] also wanted six or seven 
of his crew exchanged for others, and their number raised to 
twenty.  He would then sail from Dartmouth about the 1st of 
March, so as to be in the northwest towards the end of that month, 
and there to spend the whole of April and the first half of May in 
killing whales and other animals in the neighborhood of Panar 
Island, then to sail to the northwest, and there to pass the time 
till the middle of September, and then to return to Holland around 
the northeastern coast of Scotland.  Thus this voyage ended.


A long time elapsed, through contrary winds, before the Company 
could be informed of the arrival of the ship in England.  Then they 
ordered the ship and crew to return as soon as possible.  But, when 
this was about to be done, Skipper Herry Hutson and the other 
Englishmen of the ship were commanded by the government there 
not to leave [England], but to serve their own country.  Many persons 
thought it strange that captains should thus be prevented from laying 
their accounts and reports before their employers, having been sent out 
for the benefit of navigation in general.  This took place in January, 
[1610]; and it was thought probably that the English themselves 
would send ships to Virginia, to explore further the aforesaid river.
 


END OF PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT "ON HUDSON'S 
VOYAGE."


Isaack de Rasieres, Letter of Isaack de Rasieres to Samuel 
Blommaert, 1628.  In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives of 
New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early 
American History).  NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.



Mr. Blommaert:

As I feel myself much bound to your service, and in return know 
not how otherwise to recompense you than by this slight memoir, 
(wherein I have in part comprised as much as was in my power 
concerning the situation of New Netherland and its neighbors, and 
should in many things have been able to treat of or write the same 
more in detail, and better than I have now done, but that my things 
and notes, which would have been of service to me herein, have 
been taken away from me), I will beg you to be pleased to receive 
this, on account of my bounden service, etc.

On the 27th of July, Anno 1626, by the help of God, I arrived 
with the ship The Arms of Amsterdam, before the bay of the great 
Mauritse River, sailing into it about a musket shot from Godyn's 
Point, into Coenraet's Bay; (because there the greatest depth is, 
since from the east point there stretches out a sand bank on which 
there is only from 9 to 14 feet of water), then sailed on, northeast 
and north-northeast, to about half way from the low sand bank 
called Godyn's Point to the Hamels-Hoofden, the mouth of the 
river, where we found at half ebb 16, 17, 18 feet water, and which 
is a sandy reef a musket shot broad, stretching for the most part 
northeast and southwest, quite across, and, according to my opinion, 
having been formed there by the stream, inasmuch as the flood runs 
into the bay from the sea, east-southeast; the depth at Godyn's Point 
is caused by the tide flowing out along there with such rapidity.

Between the Hamels-Hoofden the width is about a cannon's shot 
of 2,000 [yards]; the depth 10, 11, 12 fathoms.  They are tolerably 
high points, and well wooded.  The west point is an island, inhabited 
by from 80 to 90 savages, who support themselves by planting 
maize.  The east point is a very large island, full 24-leagues long, 
stretching east by south and east-southeast along the sea-coast, from 
the river to the east end of the Fisher's Hook.  In some places it is 
from three to four leagues broad, and it has several creeks and bays, 
where many savages dwell, who support themselves by planting 
maize and making sewan, and who are called Souwenos and 
Sinnecox.  It is also full of oaks, elms, walnut and fir trees, also 
wild cedar and chestnut trees.  The tribes are held in subjection by, 
and are tributary to, the Pyquans, hereafter named.  The land is in 
many places good, and fit for ploughing and sowing.  It has many 
fine valleys, where there is good grass.  Their form of government 
is like that of their neighbors, which is described hereafter.

The Hamels-Hoofden being passed, there is about a league width 
in the river, and also on the west side there is an inlet, where another 
river runs up about twenty leagues, to the north-northeast, emptying 
into the Mauritse River in the highlands, thus making the northwest 
land opposite to the Manhatas an island eighteen leagues long.  It is 
inhabited by the old Manhatans [Manhatesen]; they are about 200 to 
300 strong, women and men, under different chiefs, whom they call 
Sackimas.  This island is more mountainous than the other land on 
the southeast side of the river, which opposite to the Manhatas is 
about a league and half in breadth.  At the side of the before-mentioned 
little river, which we call "Achter Col," there is a great deal of waste 
reedy land; the rest is full of trees, and in some places there is good 
soil, where the savages plant their maize, upon which they live, as 
well as by hunting.  The other side of the same small river, according 
to conjecture, is about 20 to 23 leagues broad to the South River, in 
the neighborhood of the Sancicans, in so far as I have been able to 
make it out from the mouths of the savages; but as they live in a 
state of constant enmity with those tribes, the paths across are but 
little used, wherefore I have not been able to learn the exact distance; 
so that when we wish to send letters overland, they (the natives) take 
their way across the bay, and have the letters carried forward by 
others, unless one amongst them may happen to be on friendly terms, 
and who might venture to go there.

The island of the Manhatas extends two leagues in length along the 
Mauritse River, from the point where the Fort "New Amsterdam" 
is building.  It is about seven leagues in circumference, full of trees, 
and in the middle rocky to the extent of about two leagues in circuit.  
The north side has good land in two places, where two farmers, each 
with four horses, would have enough to do without much clearing 
at first.  The grass is good in the forest and valleys, but when made 
into hay is not so nutritious for the cattle as here, in consequence of 
its wild state, but it yearly improves by cultivation.  On the east side 
there rises a large level field, of from 70 to 80 morgens of land, 
through which runs a very fine fresh stream; so that that land can be 
ploughed without much clearing.  It appears to be good.  The six 
farms, four of which lie along the River Hellgate, stretching to the 
south side of the island, have at least 60 morgens of land ready to be 
sown with winter seed, which at the most will have been ploughed 
eight times.  But as the greater part must have some manure, inasmuch 
as it is so exhausted by the wild herbage, I am afraid that all will not 
be sown; and the more so, as the managers of the farms are hired men.  
The two hindermost farms, Nos. 1 and 2, are the best; the other farms 
have also good land, but not so much, and more sandy; so that they are 
best suited for rye and buckwheat.

The small fort, New Amsterdam, commenced to be built, is situated 
on a point opposite to Noten Island; [the channel between] is a gun-
shot wide, and is full six or seven fathoms deep in the middle.  This 
point might, with little trouble, be made a small island, by cutting a 
canal through Blommaert's valley, so as to afford a haven winter and 
summer, for sloops and ships; and the whole of this little island ought, 
from its nature, to be made a superb fort, to be approached by land 
only on one side (since it is a triangle), thus protecting them both.  
The river marks out, naturally, three angles; the most northern faces 
and commands, within the range of a cannon shot, the great Mauritse 
River and the land; the southernmost commands, on the water level, 
the channel between Noten Island and the fort, together with the 
Hellegat; the third point, opposite to Blommaert's valley, commands 
the lowland; the middle part, which ought to be left as a marketplace, 
is a hillock, higher than the surrounding land, and should always serve 
as a battery, which might command the three points, if the streets 
should be arranged accordingly. 

Up the river the east side is high, full of trees, and in some places 
there is a little good land, where formerly many people have dwelt, 
but who for the most part have died or have been driven away by 
the Wappenos.

These tribes of savages all have a government.  The men in general 
are rather tall, well proportioned in their limbs, and of an orange color, 
like the Brazilians; very inveterate against those whom they hate; cruel 
by nature, and so inclined to freedom that they cannot by any means be 
brought to work; they support themselves by hunting, and when the 
spring comes, by fishing.  In April, May, and June, they follow the 
course of these [the fish], which they catch with a drag-net they them-
selves knit very neatly, of the wild hemp, from which the women and 
old men spin the thread.  The kinds of fish which they principally take 
at this time are shad, but smaller than those in this country ordinarily 
are, though quite as fat, and very bony; the largest fish is a sort of white 
salmon, which is of very good flavor, and quite as large; it has white 
scales; the heads are so full of fat that in some there are two or three 
spoonfuls, so that there is good eating for one who is fond of picking 
heads.  It seems that this fish makes them lascivious, for it is often 
observed that those who have caught any when they have gone fishing, 
have given them, on their return, to the women, who look for them 
anxiously.  Our people also confirm this....

As an employment in winter they make sewan, which is an oblong 
bead that they make from cockle-shells, which they find on the sea-
shore, and they consider it as valuable as we do money here, since 
one can buy with it everything they have; they also make bands of it,
which the women wear on the forehead under the hair, and the men 
around the body; and they are as particular about the stringing and 
sorting as we can be here about pearls.  They are very fond of a game 
they call Seneca, played with some round rushes, similar to the Spanish
feather-grass, which they understand how to shuffle and deal as though
they were playing with cards; and they win from each other all that 
they possess, even to the lappet with which they cover their private 
parts, and so they separate from each other quite naked.  They are 
very much addicted to promiscuous intercourse.  Their clothing is 
[so simple as to leave the body] almost naked.  in the winter time they 
usually wear a dressed deer skin; some a covering made of turkey 
feathers which they understand how to knit together very oddly, with
small strings.  They also use a good deal of duffel cloth, which they 
buy from us, and which serves for their blanket by night, and their 
dress by day.

The women are fine looking, of middle stature, well proportioned, 
and with finely cut features; with long and black hair, and black eyes 
set off with fine eyebrows; they are of the same color as the men.  
They smear their bodies and hair with grease, which makes them 
smell very rankly; they are very much given to promiscuous 
intercourse.

They have a marriage custom amongst them, namely:  when there is 
one who resolves to take a particular person for his wife, he collects 
a fathom or two of sewan, and comes to the nearest friends of the 
person whom he desires, to whom he declares his object in her 
presence, and if they are satisfied with him, he agrees with them 
how much sewan he shall give her for a bridal present; that being 
done, he then gives her all the Dutch beads he has, which they call 
Machampe, and also all sorts of trinkets.  If she be a young virgin, 
he must wait six weeks more before he can sleep with her, during 
which time she bewails or laments over her virginity, which they 
call Collatismarrenitten; all this time she sits with a blanket over 
her head, without wishing to look at any one, or any one being 
permitted to look at her.  This period being elapsed, her bridegroom 
comes to her; he in the mean time has been supporting himself by 
hunting, and what he has taken he brings there with him; they then 
eat together with the friends, and sing and dance together, which 
they call Kintikaen.  That being done, the wife must provide the food 
for herself and her husband, as far as breadstuffs are concerned, and 
[should they fall short] she must buy what is wanting with her sewan.

For this reason they are obliged to watch the season for sowing.  At 
the end of March they begin to break up the earth with mattocks, 
which they buy from us for the skins of beavers or otters, or for 
sewan.  They make heaps like molehills, each about two and a 
half feet from the others, which they sow or plant in April with 
maize, in each heap five or six grains; in the middle of May, when
the maize is the height of a finger or more, they plant in each heap
three or four Turkish beans, which then grow up with and against
the maize, which serves for props, for the maize grows on stalks
similar to the sugar-cane.  When they wish to make use of the 
grain for bread or porridge, which they call 
Sappaen, they first boil it and then beat it flat upon a stone; 
then they put it into a wooden mortar, which they know how 
to hollow out by fire, and then they have a stone pestle, which 
they know how to make themselves, with which they pound it 
small, and sift it through a small basket, which they understand 
how to weave of the rushes before mentioned.  The finest meal 
they mix with lukewarm water, and knead it into dough, then 
they make round flat little cakes of it, of thickness of an inch 
or a little more, which they bury in hot ashes, and so bake into 
bread; and when these are baked they have some clean fresh 
water by them in which they wash them while hot, one after 
another, and it is good bread, but heavy.  The coarsest meal 
they boil into a porridge, as is before mentioned, and it is good 
eating when there is butter over it, but a food which is very soon 
digested.  The grain being dried, they put it into baskets woven 
of rushes or wild hemp, and bury it in the earth, where they let it 
lie, and go with their husbands and children in October to hunt 
deer, leaving at home with their maize the old people who cannot 
follow; in December they return home, and the flesh which they 
have not been able to eat while fresh, they smoke on the way, 
and bring it back with them.  They come home as fat as moles.

When a woman here addicts herself to fornication, and the husband 
comes to know it, he thrashes her soundly, and if he wishes to get 
rid of her, he summons the Sackima with her friends, before whom 
he accuses her; and if she be found guilty the Sackima commands 
one to cut off her hair in order that she may be held up before the 
world as a whore, which they call poerochque; and then the husband 
takes from her everything that she has, and drives her out of the house; 
if there be children, they remain with her, for they are fond of them 
beyond measure.  They reckon consanguinity to the eighth degree, 
and revenge an injury from generation to generation unless it be atoned 
for; and even then there is mischief enough, for they are very revengeful.

And when a man is unfaithful, the wife accuses him before the Sackima, 
which most frequently happens when the wife has a preference for 
another man.  The husband being found guilty, the wife is permitted 
to draw off his right shoe and left stocking (which they make of deer 
or elk skins, which they know how to prepare very broad and soft, and
wear in the winter time); she then tears off the lappet that covers his
private parts, gives him a kick behind, and so drives him out of the 
house; and then "Adam" scampers off.

It would seem that they are very libidinous--in this respect very 
unfaithful to each other; whence it results that they breed but 
few children, so that it is a wonder when a woman has three or 
four children, particularly by any one man whose name can be 
certainly known.  They must not have intercourse with those of 
their own family within the third degree, or it would be considered 
an abominable thing.

Their political government is democratic.  They have a chief 
Sackima whom they choose by election, who generally is he 
who is richest in sewan, though of less consideration in other 
respects.  When any stranger comes, they bring him to the 
Sackima.  On first meeting they do not speak--they smoke a 
pipe of tobacco; that being done, the Sackima asks:  "Whence 
do you come?" the stranger then states that, and further what he 
has to say, before all who are present or choose to come.  That 
being done, the Sackima announces his opinion to the people, 
and if they agree thereto, they give all together a sigh--"He!"--
and if they do not approve, they keep silence, and all come close 
to the Sackima, and each sets forth his opinion till they agree; that 
being done, they come all together again to the stranger, to whom 
the Sackima then announces what they have determined, with the 
reasons moving them thereto.

All travellers who stop over night come to the Sackima, if they 
have no acquaintances there, and are entertained by the expenditure 
of as much sewan as is allowed for that purpose; therefore the 
Sackimas generally have three or four wives, each of whom has 
to furnish her own seed-corn.

The Sackima has his fixed fine of sewan for fighting and causing 
blood to flow.  When any are--[here four pages, at least, are missing 
in the original manuscript].

Coming out of the river Nassau, you sail east-and-by-north about 
fourteen leagues, along the coast, a half miles from the shore, and 
you then come to "Frenchman's Point" at a small river where those 
of Patucxet have a house made of hewn oak planks, called Aptucxet, 
where they keep two men, winter and summer, in order to maintain 
the trade and possession.  Here also they have built a shallop, in 
order to go and look after the trade in sewan, in Sloup's Bay and
thereabouts, because they are afraid to pass Cape Mallabaer, and in 
order to avoid the length of the way; which I have prevented for this 
year by selling them fifty fathoms of sewan, because the seeking 
after sewan by them is prejudicial to us, inasmuch as they would, 
by so doing, discover the trade in furs; which if they were to find 
out, it would be a great trouble for us to maintain, for they already 
dare to threaten that if we will not leave off dealing with that people, 
they will be obliged to use other means; if they do that now, while 
they are yet ignorant how the case stands, what will they do when 
they do get a notion of it?

From Aptucxet the English can come in six hours, through the 
woods, passing several little rivulets of fresh water, to New 
Plymouth, the principal place in the district Patucxet, so called 
in their patent from his Majesty in England.


New Plymouth lies in a large bay to the north of Cape Cod, or 
Mallabaer, east and west from the said [north] point of the cape, 
which can be easily seen in clear weather.  Directly before the 
commenced town lies a sand-bank, about twenty paces broad, 
whereon the sea breaks violently with an easterly and east-north-
easterly wind.  On the north side there lies a small island where 
one must run close along, in order to come before the town; then 
the ships run behind that bank and lie in a very good roadstead.  
The bay is very full of fish, [chiefly] of cod, so that the governor 
before named has told me that when the people have a desire for 
fish they send out two or three persons in a sloop, whom they 
remunerate for their trouble, and who bring them in three or four 
hours' time as much fish as the whole community require for a 
whole day--and they muster about fifty families.

At the south side of the town there flows down a small river of 
fresh water, very rapid, but shallow, which takes its rise from 
several lakes in the land above, and there empties into the sea; 
where in April and the beginning of May, there come so many 
shad from the sea which want to ascend that river, that it is quite
surprising.  This river the English have shut in with planks, and 
in the middle with a little door, which slides up and down, and 
at the sides with trellice work, through which the water has its 
course, but which they can also close with slides.

At the mouth they have constructed it with planks, like an eel-pot, 
with wings, where in the middle is also a sliding door, and with 
trellice work at the sides, so that between the two [dams] there is 
a square pool, into which the fish aforesaid come swimming in 
such shoals, in order to get up above, where they deposit their 
spawn, that at one tide there are 10,000 to 12,000 fish in it, which 
they shut off in the rear at the ebb, and close up the trellices above, 
so that no more water comes in; then the water runs out through the 
lower trellices, and they draw out the fish with baskets, each 
according to the land he cultivates, and carry them to it, depositing 
in each hill three or four fishes, and in these they plant their maize, 
which grows as luxuriantly therein as though it were the best manure 
in the world.  And if they do not lay this fish therein, the maize will 
not grow, so that such is the nature of the soil.

New Plymouth lies on the slope of a hill stretching east towards 
the seacoast, with a broad street about a cannon shot of 800 feet 
long, leading down the hill; with a [street] crossing in the middle,
northwards to the rivulet and southwards to the land.  The houses 
are constructed of hewn planks, with gardens also enclosed behind 
and at the sides with hewn planks, so that their houses and court-yards 
are arranged in very good order, with a stockade against a sudden 
attack; and at the ends of the streets there are three wooden gates.  
In the centre, on the cross street, stands the governor's house, before 
which is a square stockade upon which four patereros are mounted, 
so as to enfilade the streets.   Upon the hill they have a large square 
house, with a flat roof, made of thick sawn plank, stayed with oak 
beams, upon the top of which they have six cannon, which shoot 
iron balls of four and five pounds, and command the surrounding 
country.  The lower part they use for their church, where they preach 
on Sundays and the usual holidays.  They assemble by beat of drum, 
each with his musket or firelock, in front of the captain's door; they 
have their cloaks on, and place themselves in order, three abreast, 
and are led by a sergeant without beat of drum.  Behind comes the
governor, in a long robe; beside him, on the right hand, comes the 
preacher with his cloak on, and on the left hand the captain with his 
side-arms, and cloak on, and with a small cane in his hand; and so 
they march in good order, and each sets his arms down near him.  
Thus they are constantly on their guard night and day.

Their government is after the English form.  The governor has his 
council, which is chosen every year by the entire community, by 
election or prolongation of term.  In inheritances they place all the 
children in one degree, only the eldest son has an acknowledgement 
for his seniority of birth.  They have made stringent laws and ordin-
ances upon the subject of fornication and adultery, which laws they 
maintain and enforce very strictly indeed, even among the tribes 
which live amongst them.  They speak very angrily when they hear 
from the savages that we live so barbarously in these respects, and 
without punishment.  Their farms are not so good as ours, because 
they are more stony, and consequently not so suitable for the plough.  
They apportion their land according as each has means to contribute 
to the eighteen thousand guilders which they have promised to those 
who had sent them out; whereby they have their freedom without 
rendering an account to any one; only if the King should choose to 
send a governor-general they would be obliged to acknowledge 
him as sovereign overlord.  The maize seed which they do not 
require for their own use is delivered over to the governor, at three
guilders the bushel, who in his turn sends it in sloops to the north 
for the trade in skins among the savages; they reckon one bushel 
of maize against one pound of beaver's skins; the profits are divided
according to what each has contributed, and they are credited for the
amount in the account of what each has to contribute yearly towards 
the reduction of his obligation.  Then with the remainder they 
purchase what next they require, and which the governor takes care 
to provide every year.  They have better sustenance than ourselves,
because they have the fish so abundant before their doors.  There are 
also many birds, such as geese, herons and cranes, and other small-
legged birds, which are in great abundance there in the winter.

The tribes in their neighborhood have all the same customs as already 
above described, only they are better conducted than ours, because the 
English give them the example of better ordinances and a better life; 
and who also, to a certain degree, give them laws, in consequence of 
the respect they from the very first have established amongst them.

The savages [there] utilize their youth in labor better than the savages 
round about us:  the girls in sowing maize, the young men in hunting.  
They teach them to endure privation in the field in a singular manner, 
to wit:

When there is a youth who begins to approach manhood, he is 
taken by his father, uncle, or nearest friend, and is conducted 
blindfolded into a wilderness, in order that he may not know 
the way, and is left there by night or otherwise, with a bow and
arrows, and a hatchet and a knife.  He must support himself there 
a whole winter with what the scanty earth furnishes at this season, 
and by hunting.  Towards the spring they come again, and fetch 
him out of it, take him home and feed him up again until May.  
He must then go out again every morning with the person who 
is ordered to take him in hand; he must go into the forest to seek 
wild herbs and roots, which they know to be the most poisonous 
and bitter; these they bruise in water and press the juice out of them, 
which he must drink, and immediately have ready such herbs as will
preserve him from death or vomiting; and if he cannot retain it, he 
must repeat the dose until he can support it, and until his constitution
becomes accustomed to it so that he can retain it.

Then he comes home, and is brought by the men and women, all 
singing and dancing, before the Sackima; and if he has been able to 
stand it all well, and if he is fat and sleek, a wife is given to him.

In that district there are no lions or bears, but there are the same 
kinds of other game, such as deers, hinds, beavers, otters, foxes, 
lynxes, seals and fish, as in our district of country.  The savages 
say that far in the interior there are certain beasts of the size of oxen,
having but one horn, which are very fierce.  The English have used 
great diligence in order to see them, but cannot succeed therein, 
although they have seen the flesh and hides of them which were 
brought to them by the savages.  There are also very large elks here, 
which the English have indeed seen.

The lion skins which we sometimes see our savages wear are not 
large, so that the animal itself must be small; they are of a mouse-
gray color, short in the hair and long in the claws.

The bears are some of them large and some small; but the largest 
are not so large as the middle-sized ones which come from Green-
land.  Their fur is long and black and their claws large.  The savages
esteem the flesh and grease as a great dainty.

Of the birds, there is a kind like starlings, which we call maize 
thieves, because they do so much damage to the maize.  They 
fly in large flocks, so that they flatten the corn in any place where 
they alight, just as if cattle had lain there.  Sometimes we take them 
by surprise and fire amongst them with hailshot, immediately that 
we have made them rise, so that sixty, seventy, and eighty fall all 
at once, which is very pleasant to see.

There are also very large turkeys living wild; they have very long 
legs, and can run extraordinarily fast, so that we generally take 
savages with us when we go to hunt them; for even when one has 
deprived them of the power of flying, they yet run so fast that we 
cannot catch them unless their legs are hit also.

In the autumn and in the spring there come a great many geese, 
which are very good, and easy to shoot, inasmuch as they congregate
together in such large flocks.  There are two kind of partridges; the 
one sort are quite as small as quails and the other like the ordinary 
kind here.  There are also hares, but few in number, and not larger 
than a middle-sized rabbit; and they principally frequent where the
land is rocky.

This, sir, is what I have been able to communicate to you from 
memory, respecting New Netherland and its neighborhood, in 
discharge of my bounden duty; I beg that the same may so be 
favorably received by you, and I beg to recommend myself for 
such further service as you may be pleased to command me in, 
wherever you may find me.

In everything your faithful servant,

ISAACK DE RASIERES.


END OF PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT "LETTER OF 
ISAACK DE RASIERES."






Harmen Meydertsz van den Boagaert (?),  Narrative of a Journey 
Into the Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635.  In J. Franklin 
Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original 
Narratives of Early American History).  NY: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1909.



Praise the Lord above all--Fort Orange, 1634.


December 11. Journal kept of the principal events that happened 
during the journey to the Maquas and Sinnekens Indians.  First, the 
reasons why we went on this journey were these, that the Maquas 
and Sinnekens very often came to our factor [commis] Marten 
Gerritsen and me stating that there were French Indians in their land, 
and that they had made a truce with them so that they, namely, the 
Maquas, wished to trade for their skins, because the Maquas Indians 
wanted to receive just as much for their skins as the French Indians 
did.  So I proposed to Mr. Marten Gerritsen to go and see if it was 
true, so soon to run counter to their High Mightinesses; and, besides, 
trade was doing very badly, therefore I went as above with Jero[ni]-
mus [de] la Croex and Willem Tomassen.  May the Lord bless my 
voyage!  We went between nine and ten o'clock with five Macquas
Indians, mostly north-west above eight leagues, and arrived at 
half-past twelve in the evening at a hunter's cabin, where we slept 
for the night, near the stream that runs into their land and is named 
Oyoge.  The Indians here gave us venison to eat.  The land is mostly 
full of fir trees, and the flat land is abundant.  The stream runs 
through their land near their (Maquas) castle, but we could not ascend 
it on account of the heavy freshet.


December 12.  At three hours before daylight, we proceeded again, 
and the savages that went with us would have left us there if I had 
not noticed it; and when we thought of taking our meal we perceived 
that their dogs had eaten our meat and cheese.  So we had then only 
dry bread and had to travel on that; and, after going for an hour, we 
came to the branch that runs into our river and past the Maquas 
villages, where the ice drifted very fast.  Jeronimus crossed first, 
with one savage in a canoe made of the bark of trees, because there 
was only room for two; after that Willem and I went over; and it was 
so dark that we could not see each other if we did not come close 
together.  It was not without danger.  When all of us had crossed, we 
went another league and a half and came to a hunter's cabin, which 
we entered to eat some venison, and hastened farther, and after another 
half league we saw some Indians approaching; and as soon as they 
saw us they ran off and threw their sacks and bags away, and fled 
down a valley behind the underwood, so that we could not see them.  
We looked at their goods and bags, and took therefrom a small [loaf 
of] bread.  It was baked with beans, and we ate it.  We went farther, 
and mostly along the aforesaid kill that ran very swiftly because 
of the freshet.  In this kill there are a good many islands, and on the 
sides upward of 500 or 600 morgen of flat land; yes, I think even 
more.  And after we had been marching about eleven leagues, we 
arrived at one o'clock in the evening half a league from the first 
castle at a little house.  We found only Indian women inside.  We 
should have gone farther, but I could hardly move my feet because 
of the rough road, so we slept there.  It was very cold, with northerly 
wind.

December 13.  In the morning we went together to the castle over 
the ice that during the night had frozen on the kill, and, after going 
half a league, we arrived in their first castle, which is built on a 
high hill.  There stood but 36 houses, in rows like streets, so that 
we could pass nicely.  The houses are made and covered with bark 
of trees, and mostly are flat at the top.  Some are 100, 90, or 80 
paces long and 22 and 23 feet high.  There were some inside doors 
of hewn boards, furnished with iron hinges.  In some houses we 
saw different kinds of iron work, iron chains, harrow irons, iron 
hoops, nails,--which they steal when they go forth from here.  
Most of the people were out hunting deer and bear.  The houses 
were full of corn that they call onersti, and we saw maize; yes, 
in some of the houses more than 300 bushels.  They make canoes 
and barrels of the bark of trees, and sew with bark as well.  We 
had a good many pumpkins cooked and baked that they called 
anansira.  None of the chiefs were at home, but the principal 
chief is named Adriochten, who lived a quarter of a mile from 
the fort in a small house, because a good many savages here in 
the castle died of smallpox.  I sent him a message to come and 
see us, which he did; he came and bade me welcome, and said 
that he wanted us very much to come with him.  We should have 
done so, but when already on the way another chief called us, and 
so we went to the castle again.  This one had a big fire lighted, and 
a fat haunch of venison cooked, of which we ate.  he gave us two 
bearskins to sleep upon, and presented me with three beaver skins.  
In the evening Willem Tomassen, whose legs were swollen from 
the march, had a few cuts made with a knife therein, and after 
that had them rubbed with bear grease.  We slept in this house, at 
heartily of pumpkins, beans and venison, so that we were not hungry, 
but were treated as well as is possible in their land.  We hope that all 
will succeed.

December 14.  Jeronimus wrote a letter to our commis (factor), 
Marten Gerritsen, and asked for paper, salt, and atsochwat--that 
means tobacco for the savages.  We went out to shoot turkeys 
with the chief, but could not get any.  In the evening I bought a 
very fat one for two hands of seewan.  The chief cooked it for us, 
and the grease he mixed with our beans and maize.  This chief 
showed me his idol; it was a male cat's head, with the teeth sticking 
out; it was dressed in duffel cloth.  Others have a snake, a turtle, a 
swan, a crane, a pigeon, or the like for their idols, to tell the fortune; 
they think they will always have good luck in doing so.  From here 
two savages went with their skins to Fort Orange.

December 15.  I went again with the chief to hunt turkeys, but 
could not get any; and in the evening the chief again showed us 
his idol, and we resolved to stay here for another two or three 
days till there should be an opportunity to proceed, because all the
footpaths had disappeared under the heavy snowfalls.

December 16.  After midday a famous hunter came here named 
Sickarus, who wanted very much that we should go with him to 
his castle.  He offered to carry our goods and to let us sleep and 
remain in his house as long as we liked; and because he was 
offering us so much I gave him a knife and two awls as a present, 
and to the chief in whose house we had been I presented a knife 
and a pair of scissors; and then we took our departure from this 
castle, named Onekagoncka, and after going for half a league over 
the ice we saw a village with only six houses, of the Canowarode; 
but we did not enter it, because he said it was not worth while, and 
after another half league we passed again a village where twelve 
houses stood.  It was named Schatsyerosy.  These were like the 
others, he saying they likewise were not worth while entering; and 
after passing by great stretches of flat land, for another league or 
league and a half, we came into this castle, at two good hours after 
dark.  I did not see much besides a good many graves.  This castle 
is named Canagere.  It is built on a hill, without any palisades or 
any defense.  We found only seven men at home, besides a party of 
old women and children.  The chiefs of this castle, named Tonno-
satton and Tonewerot, were hunting; so we slept in the house of 
Sickarus, as he had promised us; and we counted in his house 120 
pieces of salable beaver skins that he captured with his own dogs.  
Every day we ate beaver meat here.  In this castle are sixteen houses, 
50, 60, 70, or 80 paces long, and one of sixteen paces, and one of five
paces, containing a bear to be fattened.  It had been in there upward of
three years, and was so tame that it took everything that was given to it 
to eat.

December 17.  Sunday we looked over our goods, and found a paper 
filled with sulphur, and Jeronimus took some of it and threw it in the 
fire.  They saw the blue flame and smelled the smoke, and told us 
they had the same stuff; and when Sickarus came they asked us to let 
them take a look at it, and it was the same; and we asked him where 
he obtained it.  He told us they obtained it from the stranger savages, 
and that they believed it to be good against many maladies, but prin-
cipally for their legs when they were sore from long marching and 
were very tired.

December 18.  Three women of the Sinnekens came here with dried 
and fresh salmon; the latter smelled very bad.  They sold each salmon 
for one florin or two hands of seawan.  They brought, also, a good 
quantity of green tobacco to sell; and had been six days on the march.  
They could not sell all their salmon here, but went farther on to the 
first castle; and when they returned we were to go with them, and in 
the evening Jeronimus told me that a savage tried to kill him with a 
knife.


December 19.  We received a letter from Marten Gerritsen dated 
December 18, and with it we received paper, salt, tobacco for the 
savages, and a bottle of brandy, and secured an Indian that was 
willing to be our guide for the Sinnekens.  We gave him half a 
yard of cloth, two axes, two knives, and two awls.  If it had been 
summer, many Indians would have gone with us, but as it was 
winter they would not leave their land, because it snowed very 
often up to the height of a man.  To-day we had a great rainfall, 
and I gave the guide a pair of shoes.  His name was Sqorhea.

December 20.  We took our departure from the second castle, and, 
after marching a league, our savage, Sqorhea, came to a stream that 
we had to pass.  This stream ran very fast; besides, big cakes of ice 
came drifting along, for the heavy rainfall during yesterday had set 
the ice drifting.  We were in great danger, for if one of us had lost 
his footing it had cost us our lives; but God the Lord preserved us, 
and we came through safely.  We were wet up to above the waist, 
and after going for another half league we came thus wet, with our 
clothes, shoes and stockings frozen to us, to a very high hill on 
which stood 32 houses, like the other ones.  Some were 100, 90, 
or 80 paces long; in every house we saw four, five, or six fireplaces 
where cooking went on.  A good many savages were at home, so we 
were much looked at by both the old and the young; indeed, we 
could hardly pass through.  They pushed each other in the fire to 
see us, and it was more than midnight before they took their departure. 
We could not absent ourselves to go to stool; even then they crawled
around us without any feeling of shame.  This is the third castle and 
is named Schanidisse.  The chief's name is Tewowary.  They lent me 
this evening a lion skin to cover myself; but in the morning I had 
more than a hundred lice.  We ate much venison here.  Near this 
castle there is plenty of flat land, and the wood is full of oaks and 
nut trees.  We exchanged here one beaver skin for one awl.

December 21.  We started very early in the morning, and thought 
of going to the fourth estate, but after a half league's marching we 
came to a village with only nine houses, of the name of Osquage; 
the chief's name was Oquoho--that is, wolf.  And here we saw a 
big stream that our guide did not dare to cross, as the water was 
over one's head because of the heavy rainfall; so we were obliged 
to postpone it till the next day.  The chief treated us very kindly; 
he did us much good and gave us plenty to eat, for everything to 
be found in his houses was at our service.  He said often to me that 
I was his brother and good friend; yes, he told me even how he had 
been travelling overland for thirty days, and how he met there an 
Englishman, to learn the language of the Minquase and to buy the 
skins.  I asked him whether there were any French savages there 
with the Sinnekens.  He said yes; and I felt gratified and had a 
good hope to reach my aim.  They called me here to cure a man 
that was very sick.

December 22.  When the sun rose, we waded together through 
the stream; the water was over the knee, and so cold that our 
shoes and stockings in a very short time were frozen as hard 
as armor.  The savages dared not go through, but went two by 
two, with a stick and hand in hand; and after going half a league 
we came to a village named Cawaoge.  There stood fourteen 
houses, and a bear to fatten.  We went in and smoked a pipe of 
tobacco, because the old man who was our guide was very tired.  
Another old man approached us, who shouted, "Welcome, 
welcome! you must stop here for the night"; but we wanted to 
be on the march and went forward.  I tried to buy the bear, but 
they would not let it go.  Along these roads we saw many trees 
much like the savin, with a very thick bark.  This village 
likewise stood on a very high hill, and after going for another 
league we came into the fourth castle by land whereon we saw 
only a few trees.  The name is Te notoge.  There are 55 houses, 
some one hundred, others more or fewer paces long.  The kill 
we spoke about before runs past here, and the course is mostly 
north by west and south by east.  On the other bank of the kill 
there are also houses; but we did not go in, because they were 
most of them filled with corn and the houses in this castle are 
filled with corn and beans.  The savages here looked much 
surprised to see us, and they crowded so much around us that 
we could hardly pass through, for nearly all of them were at 
home.  After awhile one of the savages came to us and invited
us to go with him to his house, and we entered.  This castle 
had been surrounded by three rows of palisades, but now there 
were none save six or seven pieces so thick that it was quite a 
wonder that savages should be able to do that.  They crowded 
each other in the fire to see us.

December 23.  A man came calling and shouting through some 
of the houses, but we did not know what it meant, and after awhile
Jeronimus de la Croix came and told us what this was--that the 
savages are preparing and arming.  I asked them what all this was
about, and they said to me:  "Nothing, we shall play with one 
another," and there were four men with clubs and a party with 
axes and sticks.  There were twenty people armed, nine on one 
side and eleven on the other; and they went off against each 
other, and they fought and threw each other.  Some of them 
wore armor and helmets that they themselves make of thin 
reeds and strings braided upon each other so that no arrow or 
axe can pass through to wound them severely; and after they had 
been playing thus a good while the parties closed and dragged 
each other by the hair, just as they would have done to their 
enemies after defeating them and before cutting off their scalps.  
They wanted us to fire our pistols, but we went off and left them 
alone.  This day we were invited to buy bear meat, and we also 
got half a bushel of beans and a quantity of dried strawberries, 
and we bought some bread, that we wanted to take on our march.  
Some of the loaves were baked with nuts and cherries and dry 
blueberries and the grains of the sunflower.

December 24.  It was Sunday.  I saw in one of the houses a 
sick man.  He had invited two of their doctors that could cure
him--they call them simachkoes; and as soon as they came they 
began to sing and to light a big fire.  They closed the house most 
carefully everywhere, so that the breeze could not come in, and 
after that each of them wrapped a snakeskin around his head.  
They washed their hands and faces, lifted the sick man from his 
place, and laid him alongside the big fire.  Then they took a 
bucket of water, put some medicine in it, and washed in this 
water a stick about half a yard long, and kept sticking it in 
their throats so that no end of it was to be seen; and then they 
spat on the patient's head, and over all his body; and after that
 they made all sorts of farces, as shouting and raving, slapping 
of the hands; so are their manners; with many demonstrations 
upon one things and another till they perspired so freely that 
their perspiration ran down all sides.

December 25--being Christmas.  We rose early in the morning 
and wanted to go to the Sinnekens; but, as it was snowing steadily, 
we could not go, because nobody wanted to go with us to carry 
our goods.  I asked them how many chiefs there were in all, and 
they told me thirty.

December 26.  In the morning I was offered two pieces of bear's 
bacon to take with us on the march; and we took our departure, 
escorted by many of them that walked before and after us.  They 
kept up shouting:  "Allesa rondade!" that is, to fire our pistols; 
but we did not want to do so, and at last they went back.  This 
day we passed over many a stretch of flat land, and crossed a kill 
where the water was knee-deep; and I think we kept this day mostly 
the direction west and northwest.  The woods that we traversed 
consisted in the beginning mostly of oaks, but after three or four 
hours' marching it was mostly birch trees.  It snowed the whole 
day, so it was very heavy marching over the hills; and after seven 
leagues, by guess, we arrived at a little house made of bark in the 
forest, where we lighted a fire and stopped for the night to sleep.  
It went on snowing, with a sharp, northerly wind.  It was very cold.

December 27.  Early in the morning again on our difficult march, 
while the snow lay 2 1/2 feet in some places.  We went over hills 
and through underwood.  We saw traces of two bears, and elks, 
but no savages.  There are beech trees; and after marching another 
seven or eight leagues, at sunset we found another little cabin in the 
forest, with hardly any bark, but covered with the branches of trees.  
We made a big fire and cooked our dinner.  It was so very cold 
during this night that I did not sleep more than two hours in all.

December 28.  We went as before, and after marching one or two 
leagues we arrived at a kill that, as the savages told me, ran into 
the land of the Minquaass, and after another mile we met another 
kill that runs into the South River, as the savages told me, and here 
a good many otter and beaver are caught.  This day we went over 
many high hills.  The wood was full of great trees, mostly birches; 
and after seven or eight leagues' marching we did the same as 
mentioned above.  It was very cold.

December 29.  We went again, proceeding on our voyage; and after
marching a while we came on a very high hill, and as we nearly had
mounted it I fell down so hard that I thought I had broken my ribs, 
but it was only the handle of my cutlass that was broken.  We went
through a good deal of flat land, with many oaks and handles for 
axes, and after another seven leagues we found another hut, where 
we rested ourselves.  We made a fire and ate all the food we had, 
because the savages told us that we were still about four leagues 
distant from the castle.  The sun was near setting as still another of 
the savages went on to the castle to tell them we were coming.  We 
would have gone with him, but because we felt so very hungry the 
savages would not take us along with them.  The course northwest.

December 30.  Without anything to eat we went to the Sinnekens' 
castle, and after marching awhile the savages showed me the branch 
of the river that passes by Fort Orange and past the land of the 
Maquas.  A woman came to meet us, bringing us baked pumpkins 
to eat.  This road was mostly full of birches and beautiful flat land 
for sowing.  Before we reached the castle we saw three graves, just 
like our graves in length and height; usually their graves are round.  
These graves were surrounded with palisades that they had split 
from trees, and they were closed up so nicely that it was a wonder 
to see.  They were painted with red and white and black paint; but 
the chief's grave had an entrance, and at the top of that was a big 
wooden bird, and all around were painted dogs, and deer, and snakes, 
and other beasts.  After four or five leagues' marching the savages 
still prayed us to fire our guns, and so we did, but loaded them again
directly and went on to the castle.  And we saw to the northwest of 
us, a large river, and on the other side thereof tremendously high 
land that seemed to lie in the clouds.  Upon inquiring closely into this, 
the savages told me that in this river the Frenchmen came to trade.  
And then we marched confidently to the castle, where the savages 
divided into two rows, and so let us pass through them by the gate, 
which was--the one we went through--3 1/2 feet wide, and at the top 
were standing three big wooden images, carved like men, and with 
them I saw three scalps fluttering in the wind, that they had taken 
from their foes as a token of the truth of their victory.  This castle 
has two gates, one on the east and one on the west side.  On the 
east side a scalp was also hanging; but this gate was 1 1/2 feet 
smaller than the other one.  When at last we arrived in the chief's 
house, I saw there a good many people that I knew; and we were 
requested to sit down in the chief's place where he was accustomed 
to sit, because at the time he was not at home, and we felt cold and 
were wet and tired.  They at once gave us to eat, and they made a 
good fire.  This castle likewise is situated on a very high hill, and 
was surrounded with two rows of palisades.  It was 767 paces in
circumference.  There are 66 houses, but much better, higher, and 
more finished than all the others we saw.  A good many houses had
wooden fronts that are painted with all sorts of beasts.  There they 
sleep mostly on elevated boards, more than any other savages.  In 
the afternoon one of the council came to me, asking the reason of 
our coming into his land, and what we brought for him as a present.  
It told him that we did not bring any present, but that we only paid 
him a visit.  He told us that we were not worth anything, because 
we did not bring him a present.  Then he told us how the Frenchmen 
had come thither to trade with six men, and had given them good 
gifts, because they had been trading in this river with six men in 
the month of August of this year.  We saw very good axes to cut the
underwood, and French shirts and coats and razors; and this member 
of the council said we were scoundrels, and were not worth anything
because we paid not enough for their beaver skins.  They told us that 
the Frenchmen gave six hands of seawan for one beaver, and all sorts 
of things more.  The savages were pressing closely upon us, so that 
there was hardly room for us to sit.  If they had desired to molest us, 
we could hardly have been able to defend ourselves; but there was no
danger.  In this river here spoken of, often six, seven, or eight hundred
salmon are caught in a single day.  I saw houses where 60, 70, and 
more dried salmon were hanging.

December 31.  On Sunday the chief of this castle came back (his 
name is Arenias), and one more man.  They told us that they 
returned from the French savages, and some of the savages shouted 
"Jawe Arenias!" which meant that they thanked him for having come 
back.  And I told him that in the night we should fire three shots; and 
he said it was all right; and they seemed very well contented.  We
questioned them concerning the situation [of the places] in their 
castle and their names, and how far they were away from each other.  
They showed us with stones and maize grains, and Jeronimus then 
made a chart of it.  And we counted all in leagues how far each place 
was away from the next.  The savages told us that on the high land 
which we had seen by that lake there lived men with horns on their 
heads; and they told us that a good many beavers were caught there, 
too, but they dared not go so far because of the French savages; 
therefore they thought best to make peace.  We fired three shots 
in the night in honor of the year of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus 
Christ.

Praise the Lord above all!  In the castle Onneyuttehage, or Sinne-
kens, January 1, 1635.

January 1, 1635.  Another savage scolded at us.  We were scoundrels, 
as told before; and he looked angry.  Willem Tomassen got so excited 
that the tears were running along his cheeks, and the savages, seeing 
that we were not at all contented, asked us what was the matter, and 
why we looked so disgusted at him.  There were in all 46 persons 
seated near us; if they had intended to do mischief, they could easily 
have caught us with their hands and killed us without much trouble; 
when I had listened long enough to the Indian's chatter I told him 
that he was a scoundrel himself and he began to laugh, said he was 
not angry and said:  "You must not grow so furious, for we are very 
glad that you came here."  And after that Jeronimus gave the chief 
two knives, two pairs of scissors, and a few awls and needles that we 
had with us.  And in the evening the savages suspended a band of 
seawan, and some other stringed seawan that the chief had brought 
with him from the French savages as a sign of peace and that the 
French savages were to come in confidence to them, and he sang:  
"Ho schene jo ho ho schene I atsiehoewe atsihoewe," after which all 
the savages shouted three times:  "Netho, netho, netho!" and after 
that another band of seawan was suspended and he sang then:  
"Katon, katon, katon, katon!" and all the savages shouted as hard 
as they could:  "Hy, hy, hy!"  After long deliberation they made 
peace for four years, and soon after everyone returned to his home.

January 2.  The savages came to us and told us that we had better 
stop another four or five days.  They would provide for all our needs 
and have us treated nicely; but I told them we could not wait so long 
as that.  They replied that they had sent a message to the Onondagas--
that is, the castle next to theirs--but I told them they nearly starved 
us.  Then they said that in future they would look better after us, and 
twice during this day we were invited to be their guests, and treated 
to salmon and bear's bacon.

January 3.  Some old men came to us and told us they wanted to be 
our friends, and they said we need not be afraid.  And I replied we 
were not afraid, and in the afternoon the council sat here--in all, 24 
men--and after consulting for a long while an old man approached 
me and laid his hand upon my heart to feel it beat; and then he 
shouted we really were not afraid at all.  After that six more members 
of the council came, and after that they presented me a coat made of 
beaver skin, and told me they gave it to me because I came here and 
ought to be very tired, and he pointed to his and my legs; and besides, 
it is because you have been marching through the snow.  And when I 
took the coat they shouted three times:  "Netho, netho, netho!" which 
means, "This is very well."  And directly after that they laid five pieces 
of beaver skins on my feet, at the same time requesting me that in the 
future they should receive four hands of seawan and four handbreadths 
of cloth for every big beaver skin, because we have to go so far with 
our skins; and very often when we come to your places we do not find 
any cloth or seawan or axes or kettles, or not enough for all of us, 
and then we have had much trouble for nothing, and have to go back 
over a great distance, carrying out goods back again.  After we sat for 
a considerable time, an old man came to us, and translated it to us in 
the other language, and told us that we did not answer yet whether 
they were to have four hands of seawan or not for their skins.  I told 
him that we had not the power to promise that, but that we should 
report about it to the chief at the Manhatans, who was our commander, 
and that I would give him a definite answer in the spring, and come 
myself to their land.  Then they said to me "Welsmachkoo," you must 
not lie, and surely come to us in the spring, and report to us about all.  
And if you will give us four hands of seawan we will not sell our 
skins to anyone but you; and after that they gave me the five beaver 
skins, and shouted as hard as they could:  "Netho, netho, netho!"  
And then, that everything should be firmly binding, they called or 
sang:  "Ha assironi atsimach koo kent oya kayuig wee Onneyatte
Onaondaga Koyocke hoo hanoto wany agweganne hoo schene ha 
caton scahten franosoni yndicho."  That means that I could go in all 
these places--they said the names of all the castles--freely and every-
where.  I should be provided with a house and a fire and wood and
everything I needed; and if I wanted to go to the Frenchmen they 
would guide me there and back; and after that they shouted again:  
"Netho, netho, netho!" and they made a present of another beaver 
skin to me, and we ate to-day bear meat that we were invited to.  In 
this house, belonging to the chief, there were three or four meals a 
day, and they did not cook in it, as everything was brought in from 
the other houses in large kettles; for it was the council that took their
meals here every day.  And whoever then happens to be in the house
receives a bowlful of food; for it is the rule here that everyone that 
comes here has his bowl filled; and if they are short of bowls they 
bring them and their spoons with them.  They go thus and seat them-
selves side by side; the bowls are then fetched and brought back 
filled, for a guest that is invited does not rise before he has eaten. 
Sometimes they sing, and sometimes they do not, thanking the host 
before they return home.

January 4.  Two savages came, inviting us to come and see how 
they used to drive away the devil.  I told them that I had seen it 
before; but they did not move off, and I had to go; and because I 
did not choose to go alone I took Jeronimus along.  I saw a dozen 
men together who were going to drive him off.  After we arrived 
the floor of the house was thickly covered with the bark of trees 
for the hunters of the devil to walk upon.  They were mostly old 
men, and they had their faces all painted with red paint--which 
they always do when they are going to do anything unusual.  
Three men among them had a wreath on their heads, on which 
stuck five white crosses.  These wreaths are made of deer hair 
that they had braided with the roots of a sort of green herb.  In 
the middle of the house they then put a man who was very sick, 
and who was treated without success during a considerable time.  
Close by sat an old woman with a turtle shell in her hands.  In the 
turtle shell were a good many beads.  She kept clinking all the 
while, and all of them sang to the measure; then they would 
proceed to catch the devil and trample him to death; they trampled 
the bark to atoms so that none of it remained whole, and wherever 
they saw but a little cloud of dust upon the maize, they beat at it in 
great amazement and then they blew that dust at one another and 
were so afraid that they ran as if they really saw the devil; and after 
long stamping and running one of them went to the sick man and 
took away an otter that he had in his hands; and he sucked the sick 
man for awhile in his neck and on the back, and after that he spat in
 the otter's mouth and threw it down; at the same time he ran off like 
made through fear.  Other men then went to the otter, and then there 
took place such foolery that it was a wonder to see.  Yes; they 
commenced to throw fire and eat fire, and kept scattering hot ashes
 and red-hot coals in such a way that I ran out of the house.  Today 
another beaver skin was presented to me.

January 5.  I bought four dried salmon and two pieces of bear bacon 
that was about nine inches thick; and we saw thicker, even.  They 
gave us beans cooked with bear bacon to eat to-day, and further nothing 
particular happened.

January 6.  Nothing particular than that I was shown a parcel of flint
stones wherewith they make fire when they are in the forest.  Those 
stones would do very well for firelock guns.

January 7.--We received a letter from Marten Gerritsen, dated from 
the last of December; it was brought by a Sinneken that arrived from 
our fort.  He told us that our people grew very uneasy about our not
coming home, and that they thought we had been killed.  We ate 
fresh salmon only two days caught, and we were robbed to-day of 
six and a half hands of seawan that we never saw again.


January 8.  Aarenias came to me to say that he wanted to go with 
me to the fort and take all his skins to trade.  Jeronimus tried to 
sell his coat here, but he could not get rid of it.

January 9.  During the evening the Onondagas came.  There were 
six old men and four women.  They were very tired from the march, 
and brought with them some bear skins.  I came to meet them, and 
thanked them that they came to visit us; and they welcomed me, and
because it was very late I went home.

January 10.  Jeronimus burned the greater part of his pantaloons, that 
dropped in the fire during the night, and the chief's mother gave him 
cloth to repair it, and Willem Tomassen repaired it.

January 11.  At ten o'clock in the morning the savages came to me 
and invited me to come to the house where the Onondagans sat in 
council.  "They will give you presents"; and I went there with 
Jeronimus; took our pistols with us and sat alongside of them, near 
an old man of the name of Canastogeera, about 55 years of age; and 
he said:  "Friends, I have come here to see you and to talk to you;"
wherefore we thanked him, and after they had sat in council for a 
long time an interpreter came to me and gave me give pieces of 
beaver skin because we had come into their council.  I took the 
beaver skins and thanked them, and they shouted three times 
"Netho!"  And after that another five beaver skins that they laid 
upon my feet, and they gave them to me because I had come into 
their council-house.  We should have been given a good many 
skins as presents if we had come into his land; and they earnestly
requested me to visit their land in the summer, and after that gave 
me another four beaver skins and asked at the same time to be better 
paid for their skins.  They would bring us a great quantity if we did; 
and if I came back in the summer to their land we should have three 
or four savages along with us to look all around that lake and show 
us where the Frenchmen came trading with their shallops.  And when 
we gathered our fourteen beavers they again shouted as hard as they 
could, "Zinae netho!" and we fired away with our pistols and gave 
the chief two pairs of knives, some awls, and needles; and then we 
were informed we might take our departure.  We had at the time five 
pieces of salmon and two pieces of bear bacon that we were to take 
on the march, and here they gave a good many loaves and even flour 
to take with us.

January 12.  We took our departure; and when we thought every-
thing was ready the savages did not want to carry our goods--twenty
-eight beaver skins, five salmon, and some loaves of bread--because 
they all had already quite enough to carry; but after a good deal of
grumbling and nice words they at last consented and carried our 
goods.  Many savages walked along with us and they shouted, 
"Alle sarondade!" that is, to fire the pistols; and when we came near 
the chief's grave we fired three shots, and they went back.  It was 
about nine o'clock when we left this place and walked only about 
five leagues through 2 1/2 feet of snow.  It was a very difficult road, 
so that some of the savages had to stop in the forest and sleep in the 
snow.  We went on, however, and reached a little cabin, where we 
slept.

January 13.  Early in the morning we were on our journey again, and 
after going seven or eight leagues we arrived at another hut, where 
we rested awhile, cooked our dinner, and slept.  Arenias pointed out 
to me a place on a high mountain, and said that after ten days' 
marching we could reach a big river there where plenty of people are
living, and where plenty of cows and horses are; but we had to cross 
the river for a whole day and then to proceed for six days more in 
order to reach it.  This was the place which we passed on the 29th of
December.  He did us a great deal of good.

January 14.  On Sunday we made ready to proceed, but the chief 
wished to go bear hunting and wanted to stop here but, because it 
was fine weather, I went alone with two or three savages.  Here two
Maquas Indians joined us, as they wanted to go and trade elk skins 
and satteeu.

January 15.  In the morning, two hours before daylight, after taking 
breakfast with the savages, I proceeded on the voyage, and when it 
was nearly dark again the savages made a fire in the wood, as they 
did not want to go farther, and I came about three hours after dark 
to a hut where I had slept on the 26th of December.  It was very 
cold.  I could not make a fire, and was obliged to walk the whole 
night to keep warm.

January 16.  In the morning, three hours before dawn, as the moon 
rose, I searched for the path, which I found at last; and because I 
marched so quickly I arrived about nine o'clock on very extensive 
flat land.  After having passed over a high hill I came to a very even 
footpath that had been made through the snow by the savages who 
had passed this way with much venison, because they had come 
home to their castle after hunting; and about ten o'clock I saw the 
castle and arrived there about two o'clock.  Upward of one hundred 
people came out to welcome me, and showed me a house where I 
could go.  They gave me a white hare to eat that they caught two 
days ago.  They cooked it with walnuts, and they gave me a piece 
of wheaten bread a savage that had arrived here from Ford Orange 
on the fifteenth of this month had brought with him.  In the evening 
more than forty fathoms of seawan were divided among them as 
the last will of the savages that had died of the smallpox.  It was 
divided in the presence of the chief and the nearest friends.  It is 
their custom to divide among the chief and nearest friends.  And 
in the evening the savages gave me two bear skins to cover me, 
and they brought rushes to lay under my head, and they told us 
that our kinsmen wanted us very much to come back.

January 17.  Jeronimus and Tomassen, with some savages, joined 
us in this castle, Tenotogehage, and they still were all right; and 
in the evening I saw another hundred fathoms of seawan divided 
among the chief and the friends of the nearest blood.

January 18.  We went again to this castle, I should say from this 
castle on our route, in order to hasten home.  In some of the houses 
we saw more than forty or fifty deer cut in quarters and dried; but 
they gave us very little of it to eat.  After marching half a league we 
passed through the village of Kawaoge, and after another half league 
we came to the village of Osquage.  The chief, Ohquahoo, received 
us well, and we waited here for the chief, Arenias, whom we had left 
in the castle Te Notooge.

January 19.  We went as fast as we could in the morning, proceeding 
on the march; and after going half a league we arrived at the third 
castle, named Schanadisse, and I looked around in some of the 
houses to see whether there were any skins.  I met nine Onondagas 
there with skins, that I told to go with me to the second castle, where 
the chief, Taturot, I should say Tonewerot, was at home, who wel-
comed us at once, and gave us a very fat piece of venison, which we 
cooked; and when we were sitting at dinner we received a letter from
Marten Gerritsen, brought us by a savage that came in search of us, 
and was dated January 18.  We resolved to proceed at once to the 
first castle, and to depart on the morrow for Fort Orange, and a good 
three hours before sunset we arrived at the first castle.  We had bread
baked for us again, and packed the three beavers we had received from 
the chief when we had first come here.  We slept here this night and 
ate here.

January 20.  In the morning, before daylight, Jeronimus sold his coat 
for four beaver skins to an old man.  We set forth at one hour before
daylight, and after marching by guess two leagues the savages pointed 
to a high mountain where their castle stood nine years before.  They 
had been driven out by the Mahicans, and after that time they did not 
want to live there.  After marching seven or eight leagues we found 
that the hunters' cabins had been burned, so we were obliged to sleep
under the blue sky.

January 21.  We proceeded early in the morning, and after a long 
march we took a wrong path that was the most walked upon; but as 
the savages knew the paths better than we did they returned with us, 
and after eleven leagues' marching we arrived, the Lord be praised 
and thanked, at Fort Orange, January 21, anno 1635.

[Vocabulary of the Maquas.]

Assire or aggaha..............................Cloth.
Atoga...............................................Axes.
Atsochta...........................................Adze.
Assere..............................................Knives.
Assaghe............................................Rapier.
Attochwat.........................................Spoons.
Ondach.............................................Kettles.
Endat hatste......................................Looking-glass.
Sasaskarisat......................................Scissors.
Kamewari (Garonare?).....................Awls.
Onekoera..........................................Seawan, their money.
Tiggeretait........................................Combs.
Catse (Garistats?).............................Bell.
Dedaia witha.....................................Shirts or coats.
Nonnewarory....................................Fur caps.
Eytroghe...........................................Beads.
Canagosat.........................................Scraper.
Caris.................................................Stockings.
Achta................................................Shoes.

Names of animals that occur there:

Aque (Gario?)...................................Deer.
Aquesados.........................................Horse.
Adiron...............................................Cat.
Aquidagon.........................................Ox.
Senoto wanne....................................Elk.
Ochquari...........................................Bear.
Sinite................................................Beaver.
Tawyne............................................Otter.
Eyo...................................................Mink.
Senadondo........................................Fox.
Ochquoha.........................................Wolf.
Seranda.............................................Male cat.
Ichar or sateeni.................................Dog.
Tali...................................................Crane.
Kragequa..........................................Swans.
Kahanckt..........................................Geese.
Schawariwane..................................Turkeys.
Schascari wanasi..............................Eagles.
Tantanege.........................................Hares.
Onckwe............................................Men.
Etsi (Eightjen?)................................A man.
Coenhechti (Gahetien?)...................A woman.
Ocstaha............................................An old man.
Odasqueta........................................An old woman.
Sine gechtera...................................A wooer.
Exhechta..........................................A lass.
Ragina..............................................Father.
Distan...............................................Mother.
Cian..................................................Child.
Rocksongwa (Ronwaye?)................Boy.
Canna warori....................................Prostitute.
Onentar.............................................Woman in labor.
Ragenonou.......................................Uncle.
Rackesie...........................................Cousin.
Anochquis........................................Hair.
Anonsi..............................................Head.
Ohochta............................................Ears.
Ohonikwa........................................Throat.
Oneyatsa..........................................Nose.
Owanisse.........................................Tongue.
Onawy.............................................Teeth.
Onenta.............................................Arm.
Osnotsa............................................Hands.
Onatassa...........................................Fingers.
Otich kera........................................Thumb.
Otsira................................................Nails.
Onvare..............................................Shoulder blade.
Orochquine.......................................Spine.
Ossidan.............................................Feet.
Onera................................................Pudenda.
Oeuda...............................................Excrements.
Onsaha.............................................Vesicle.
Canderes...........................................Phallus.
Awahta.............................................Testicles.
Casoya..............................................Ship, canoe.
Conossade........................................House or hut.
Onega...............................................Water.
Oetseira............................................Fire.
Oyente.............................................Wood (firewood).
Oscante............................................Bark.
Canadera..........................................Bread.
Ceheda (Osaheta?)...........................Beans.
Onesta..............................................Maize.
Cinsie...............................................Fish.
Ghekeront........................................Salmon.
Oware..............................................Meat.
Athesera...........................................Flour.
Satsori..............................................To eat.
Onighira...........................................To drink.
Kastten kerreyager...........................Very hungry.
Augustuske......................................Very cold.
Oyendere.........................................Very good.
Rockste............................................Friends.
Iachte yendere.................................'Tis no good.
Quane (Kewanea?)..........................Great.
Canyewa..........................................Small.
Wotstaha..........................................Broad.
Cates................................................Thick.
Satewa..............................................Alone.
Sagat.................................................Doubly.
Awaheya...........................................Death.
Aghihi...............................................Sick.
Sasnoron...........................................Hurry up.
Archoo..............................................At once.
Owaetsei...........................................At present.
The derri...........................................Yesterday.
Jorhani..............................................To-morrow.
Careyago..........................................The sky.
Karackwero......................................The sun.
Asistock...........................................The stars.
Sintho...............................................To sow.
Deserentekar.....................................Meadow.
Sorsar................................................To raise.
Cana..................................................The seed.
Onea..................................................Stone.
Canadack or cany..............................Sack or basket.
Canadaghi.........................................A castle.
Oyoghi..............................................A kill [small river].
Canaderage.......................................A river.
Johati................................................A path or road.
Onstara.............................................To weep.
Aquayesse.........................................To laugh.
Ohonte..............................................Grass, vegetables.
Oneggeri...........................................Weeds or reeds or straw.
Christittye..........................................Iron, copper, or lead.
Onegonsera........................................Red paint.
Cahonsye...........................................Black.
Crage.................................................White.
Ossivenda..........................................Blue.
Endatcondere.....................................To paint.
Joddireyo...........................................To fight.
Aquinachoo.......................................Angry.
Jaghac teroeni....................................Frightened.
Dadeneye...........................................To gamble.
Asserie...............................................Very strong.
Carente..............................................Artful, crooked.
Odossera............................................The bacon.
Keye..................................................The fat.
Wistotcera.........................................The grease.
Ostie..................................................The bone.
Aghidawe..........................................To sleep.
Sinekaty.............................................Carnal copulation.
Jankurangue.......................................Very tired.
Atsochwat..........................................Tobacco.
Canonou.............................................Pine.
Esteronde...........................................The rain.
Waghideria.........................................To sweat.
Kayontochke.......................................Flat arable land.
Ononda...............................................Mountains.
Cayanoghe.........................................Islands.
Schasohadee......................................The overside.
Caroo.................................................Close by.
Cadadiene..........................................To trade.
Daweyate...........................................To sit in council.
Agetsioga...........................................A string of beads.
Aquayanderen....................................A chief.
Seronquatse........................................A scoundrel.
Sari wacksi.........................................A chatterer.
Onewachten........................................A liar.
Tenon commenyon.............................What do you want?
Sinachkoo...........................................To drive the devil away.
Adenocquat.........................................To give medicine.
Coenhasaren.......................................To cure.
Sategat................................................To light the fire, make fire.
Judicha................................................The fire.
Catteges issewe..................................When will you come again?
Tosenochte..........................................I don't know.
Tegenhondi.........................................In the spring.
Otteyage..............................................In the summer.
Augustuske.........................................In the winter.
Katkaste..............................................To cook dinner.
Jori................................................It is ready.
Dequoguoha.................................To go hunting.
Osqucha........................................I'll fetch it.
Seyendere u..................................I know him well.
Kristoni asseroni..........................Netherlanders, Germans.
Aderondackx................................Frenchmen or Englishmen.
Anesagghena................................Mahicans, or Mohigans.
Torsas...........................................To the north.
Kanon newage..............................Manhattan.
Onscat...........................................One.
Tiggeni..........................................Two.
Asse...............................................Three.
Cayere............................................Four.
Wisch.............................................Five.
Jayack............................................Six.
Tsadack.........................................Seven.
Sategon..........................................Eight.
Tyochte..........................................Nine.
Oyere.............................................Ten.
Tawasse.........................................Forty.
Onscat teneyawe...........................Hundred.


BEGIN PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT "MEGAPOLENSIS 
ON THE MOHAWKS."

A Short Account of the Mohawk Indians, by Reverend Johannes 
Megapolensis, Jr., 1644.   In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives 
of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early 
American History).  NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.


A Short Account of the Mohawk Indians, their Country, Language, 
Stature, Dress, Religion and Government, thus described and recently, 
August 26, 1644, sent out of New Netherland, by Johannes Megapol-
ensis the younger, Preacher there.


The Country here is in general like that in Germany.  The land is 
good, and fruitful in everything which supplies human needs, except
clothes, linen, woollen, stockings, shoes, etc., which are all dear here.  
The country is very mountainous, partly soil, partly rocks, and with
elevations so exceeding high that they appear to almost touch the 
clouds.  Thereon grow the finest fir trees the eye ever saw.  There 
are also in this country oaks, alders, beeches, elms, willows, etc.  In 
the forests, and here and there along the water side, and on the islands, 
there grows an abundance of chestnuts, plums, hazel nuts, large 
walnuts of several sorts, and of as good a taste as in the Netherlands, 
but they have a somewhat harder shell.  The ground on the hills is 
covered with bushes of bilberries or blueberries; the ground in the 
flat land near the rivers is covered with strawberries, which grow here 
so plentifully in the fields, that one can lie down and eat them.  
Grapevines also grow here naturally in great abundance along the 
roads, paths, and creeks, and wherever you may turn you find them.  
I have seen whole pieces of land where vine stood by vine and grew 
very luxuriantly, climbing to the top of the largest and loftiest trees, 
and although they are not cultivated, some of the grapes are found to 
be as good and sweet as in Holland.  here is also a sort of grapes 
which grow very large, each grape as big as the end of one's finger, 
or an ordinary plum, and because they are somewhat fleshy and have 
a thick skin we call them Speck Druyven.  If people would cultivate 
the vines they might have as good wine here as they have in Germany 
or France.  I had myself last harvest a boat-load of grapes and pressed
them.  As long as the wine was new it tasted better than any French or
Rhenish Must, and the color of the grape juice here is so high and red 
that with one wine-glass full you can color a whole pot of white wine.  
In the forests is great plenty of deer, which in autumn and early 
winter are as fat as any Holland cow can be.  I have had them with fat 
more than two fingers thick on the ribs, so that they were nothing else 
than almost clear fat, and could hardly be eaten.  There are also many 
turkies, as large as in Holland, but in some years less than in others.  
The year before I came here, there were so many turkies and deer that 
they came to feed by the houses and hog pens, and were taken by the 
Indians in such numbers that a deer was sold to the Dutch for a loaf of 
bread, or a knife, or even for a tobacco pipe; but now one commonly 
has to give for a good deer six or seven guilders.  In the forests here 
there are also many partridges, heath-hens and pigeons that fly together 
in thousands, and sometimes ten, twenty, thirty and even forty and fifty 
are killed at one shot.  We have here, too, a great number of all kinds of
fowl, swans, geese, ducks, widgeons, teal, brant, which sport upon 
the river in thousands in the spring of the year, and again in the 
autumn fly away in flocks, so that in the morning and evening any 
one may stand ready with his gun before his house and shoot them 
as they fly past.  I have also eaten here several times of elks, which 
were very fat and tasted much like venison; and besides these 
profitable beasts we have also in this country lions, bears, wolves, 
foxes, and particularly very many snakes, which are large and as long 
as eight, ten, and twelve feet.  Among others, there is a sort of snake,
which we call rattlesnake, from a certain object which it has back 
upon its tail, two or three fingers' breadth long, and has ten or twelve
joints, and with this it makes a noise like the crickets.  Its color is
variegated much like our large brindled bulls.  These snakes have 
very sharp teeth in their mouth, and dare to bite at dogs; they make 
way for neither man nor beast, but fall on and bite them, and their 
bite is very poisonous, and commonly even deadly too.

As to the soil of this country, that on the mountains is a reddish 
sand or rock, but in the low flat lands, and along the rivers, and 
even in the jutting sides of the mountains for an hundred or two 
hundred paces up, there is often clay.  I have been on hills here, 
as high as a church, to examine the soil, and have found it to be 
clay.  In this ground there appears to be a singular strength and 
capacity for bearing crops, for a farmer here told me that he had 
raised fine wheat on one and the same piece of land eleven years
successively without ever breaking it up or letting it lie fallow.  
The butter here is clean and yellow as in Holland.  Through this 
land runs an excellent river, about 500 or 600 paces wide.  This 
river comes out of the Mahakas Country, about four leagues north 
of us.  There is flows between two high rocky banks, and falls 
from a height equal to that of a church, with such a noise that 
we can sometimes hear it here with us.  In the beginning of June 
twelve of us took  ride to see it.  When we came there we saw 
not only the river falling with such a noise that we could hardly 
hear one another, but the water boiling and dashing with such 
force in still weather, that it seemed all the time as if it were 
raining; and the trees on the hills near by (which are as high as 
Schoorler Duyn) had their leaves all the time wet exactly as if it 
rained.  The water is as clear as crystal, and as fresh as milk.  I 
and another with me saw there, in clear sunshine, when there 
was not a cloud in the sky, especially when we stood above upon 
the rocks, directly opposite where the river falls, in the great abyss, 
the half of a rainbow, or a quarter of a circle, of the same color with 
the rainbow in the sky.  And when we had gone about ten or twelve 
rods farther downwards from the fall, along the river, we saw a 
complete rainbow, like a half circle, appearing clearly in the water 
just as if it had been in the clouds, and this is always so according 
to the report of all who have ever been there.  In this river is a great 
plenty of all kinds of fish--pike, eels, perch, lampreys, suckers, cat 
fish, sun fish, shad, bass, etc.  In the spring, in May, the perch are so
plenty, that one man with a hook and line will catch in one hour as 
many as ten or twelve can eat.  My boys have caught in an hour fifty, 
each a foot long.  They have three hooks on the instrument with 
which they fish, and draw up frequently two or three perch at once.  
There is also in the river a great plenty of sturgeon, which we Christians 
do not like, but the Indians eat them greedily.  In this river, too, are 
very beautiful islands, containing ten, twenty, thirty, fifty and seventy
morgens of land.  The soil is very good, but the worst of it is, that by 
the melting of the snow, or heavy rains, the river readily overflows 
and covers that low land.  This river ebbs and flows at ordinary 
low water as far as this place, although it is thirty-six leagues inland 
from the sea.

As for the temperature in this country, and the seasons of the year, 
the summers are pretty hot, so that for the most of the time we are 
obliged to go in just our shirts, and the winters are very cold.  The 
summer continues long, even until All Saints' Day; but when the 
winter does begin, just as it commonly does in December, it freezes 
so hard in one night that the ice will bear a man.  Even the rivers, 
in still weather when there is no strong current running, are frozen 
over in one night, so that on the second day people walk over it.  
And this freezing continues commonly three months; for although 
we are situated here in 42 degrees of latitude, it always freezes so.  
And although there come warm and pleasant days, the thaw does not
continue, but it freezes again until March.  Then, commonly, the 
rivers first begin to open, and seldom in February.  We have the 
greatest cold from the northwest, as in Holland from the northeast.  
The wind here is very seldom east, but almost always south, 
southwest, northwest, and north; so also the rain.

Our shortest winter days have nine hours sun; in the summer, our 
longest days are about fifteen hours.  We lie so far west of Holland 
that I judge you are about four hours in advance of us, so that when 
it is six o'clock in the morning with us it is ten in the forenoon with 
you, and when it is noon with us, it is four o'clock in the afternoon 
with you.

The inhabitants of this country are of two kinds:  first, Christians
--at least so called; second, Indians.  Of the Christians I shall say 
nothing; my design is to speak of the Indians only.  These among 
us are again of two kinds:  first, the Mahakinbas, or, as they call 
themselves, Kajingahaga; second, the Mahakans, otherwise 
called Agotzagena.  These two nations have different languages, 
which have no affinity with each other, like Dutch and Latin.  
These people formerly carried on a great war against each other, 
but since the Mahakanders were subdued by the Mahakobaas, 
peace has subsisted between them, and the conquered are obliged 
to bring a yearly contribution to the others.  We live among both 
these kinds of Indians; and when they come to us from their 
country, or we go to them, they do us every act of friendship.  
The principal nation of all the savages and Indians hereabouts 
with which we have the most intercourse, is the Mahakuaas, who 
have laid all the other Indians near us under contribution.  This 
nation has a very difficult language, and it costs me great pains 
to learn it, so as to be able to speak and preach in it fluently.  
There is no Christian here who understands the language thor-
oughly; those who have lived here long can use a kind of jargon 
just sufficient to carry on trade with it, but they do not understand 
the fundamentals of the language.  I am making a vocabulary of 
the Mahakuaas' language, and when I am among them I ask them 
how things are called; but as they are very stupid, I sometimes 
cannot make them understand what I want.  Moreover when they 
tell me, one tells me the word in the infinitive mood, another in 
the indicative; one in the first, another in the second person; one 
in the present, another in the preterit.  So I stand oftentimes and 
look, but do not know how to put it down.  And as they have 
declensions and conjugations also, and have their augments like 
the Greeks, I am like one distracted, and frequently cannot tell 
what to do, and there is no one to set me right.  I shall have to 
speculate in this alone, in order to become in time an Indian 
grammarian.  When I first observed that they pronounced their 
words so differently, I asked the commissary of the company 
what it meant.  He answered me that he did not know, but 
imagined they changed their language every two or three 
years; I argued against this that it could never be that a whole 
nation should change its language with one consent;--and, 
although he has been connected with them here these twenty 
years, he can afford me no assistance.

The people and Indians here in this country are like us Dutch-
men in body and stature; some of them have well formed 
features, bodies and limbs; they all have black hair and eyes, 
but their skin is yellow.  In summer they go naked, having only 
their private parts covered with a patch.  The children and young 
folks to ten, twelve and fourteen years of age go stark naked.  In 
winter, they hang about them simply an undressed deer or bear 
or panther skin; or they take some beaver and otter skins, wild 
cat, raccoon, martin, otter, mink, squirrel or such like skins, 
which are plenty in this country, and sew some of them to 
others, until it is a square piece, and that is then a garments 
for them; or they buy of us Dutchmen two and a half ells of 
duffel, and that they hang simply about them, just as it was 
torn off, without sewing it, and walk away with it.  They look 
at themselves constantly, and think they are very fine.  They 
make themselves stockings and also shoes of deer skin, or they 
take leaves of their corn, and plait them together and use them 
for shoes.  The women, as well as the men, go with their heads 
bare.  The women let their hair grow very long, and tie it together 
a little, and let it hang down their backs.  The men have a long 
lock of hair hanging down, some on one side of the head, and 
some on both sides.  On the top of their heads they have a streak 
of hair from the forehead to the neck, about the breadth of three
fingers, and this they shorten until it is about two or three fingers 
long, and it stands right on end like a rock's comb or hog's bristles; 
on both sides of this cock's comb they cut all the hair short, except 
the aforesaid locks, and they also leave on the bare places here and 
there small locks, such as are in sweeping-brushes, and then they 
are in fine array.

They likewise paint their faces red, blue, etc., and then they look 
like the Devil himself.  They smear their heads with bear's-grease, 
which they all carry with them for this purpose in a small basket; 
they say they do it to make their hair grow better and to prevent 
their having lice.  When they travel, they take with them some of 
their maize, a wooden bowl, and a spoon; these they pack up and 
hang on their backs.  Whenever they are hungry, they forthwith 
make a fire and cook; they can get fire by rubbing pieces of wood 
against one another, and that very quickly.

They generally live without marriage; and if any of them have 
wives, the marriage continues no longer than seems good to one 
of the parties, and then they separate, and each takes another 
partner.  I have seen those who had parted, and afterwards lived 
a long time with others, leave these again, seek their former 
partners, and again be one pair.  And, though they have wives, 
yet they will not leave off whoring; and if they can sleep with 
another man's wife, they think it is a brave thing.  The women 
are exceedingly addicted to whoring; they will lie with a man 
for the value of one, two, or three schillings, and our Dutchmen 
run after them very much.

The women, when they have been delivered, go about immediately 
afterwards, and be it ever so cold, they wash themselves and the 
young child in the river or the snow.  They will not lie down (for 
they say that if they did they would soon die), but keep going about.  
They are obliged to cut wood, to travel three or four leagues with 
the child; in short, they walk, they stand, they work, as if they had 
not lain in, and we cannot see that they suffer any injury by it; and 
we sometimes try to persuade our wives to lie-in so, and that the 
way of lying-in in Holland is a mere fiddle-faddle.  The men have 
great authority over their concubines, so that if they do anything 
which does not please and raises their passion, they take an axe 
and knock them in the head, and there is an end of it.  The women 
are obliged to prepare the land, to mow, to plant, and do everything; 
the men do nothing, but hunt, fish, and make war upon their enemies.  
They are very cruel towards their enemies in time of war; for they 
first bite off the nails of the fingers of their captives, and cut off 
some joints, and sometimes even whole fingers; after that, the 
captives are forced to sing and dance before them stark naked; and 
finally, they roast their prisoners dead before a slow fire for some 
days, and then eat them up.  The common people eat the arms, 
buttocks and trunk, but the chiefs eat the head and the heart.

Our Mahakas carry on great wars against the Indians of Canada, on 
the River Saint Lawrence, and take many captives, and sometimes 
there are French Christians among them.  Last year, our Indians got 
a great booty from the French on the River Saint Lawrence, and took 
three Frenchmen, one of whom was a Jesuit.  They killed one, but 
the Jesuit (whose left thumb was cut off, and all the nails and parts 
of his fingers were bitten,) we released, and sent him to France by a 
yacht which was going to our country.  They spare all the children 
from ten to twelve years old, and all the women whom they take 
in war, unless the women are very old, and then they kill them too.  
Though they are so very cruel to their enemies, they are very friendly 
to us, and we have no dread of them.  We go with them into the 
woods, we meet with each other, sometimes at an hour or two's 
walk from any houses, and think no more about it than as if we 
met with a Christian.  They sleep by us, too, in our chambers before 
our beds.  I have had eight at once lying and sleeping upon the floor 
near my bed, for it is their custom to sleep simply on the bare ground, 
and to have only a stone or a bit of wood under their heads.  In the
evening, they go to bed very soon after they have supped; but early 
in the morning, before day begins to break, they are up again.  They 
are very slovenly and dirty; they wash neither their face nor hands, 
but let all remain upon their yellow skin, and look like hogs.  Their 
bread is Indian corn beaten to pieces between two stones, of which 
they make a cake, and bake it in the ashes:  their other victuals are
venison, turkies, hares, bears, wild cats, their own dogs, etc.  The 
fish they cook just as they get them out of the water without 
cleansing; also the entrails of deer with all their contents, which they 
cook a little; and if the intestines are then too tough, they take one 
end in their mouth, and the other in their hand, and between hand 
and mouth they separate and eat them.  So they do commonly with 
the flesh, for they carve a little piece and lay it on the fire, as long as 
one would need to walk from his house to church, and then it is done; 
and then they bite into it so that the blood runs along their mouths.  
They can also take a piece of bear's-fat as large as two fists, and eat
it clear without bread or anything else.  It is natural to them to have 
no bears; not one in an hundred has any hair about his mouth.

They have also naturally a very high opinion of themselves; they 
say, Ihy Othkon, ("I am the Devil") by which they mean that they 
are superior folks.  In order to praise themselves and their people, 
whenever we tell them they are very expert at catching deer, or 
doing this and that, they say, Tkoschs ko, aguweechon Kajingahaga 
kouaane Jountuckcha Othkon; that is, "Really all the Mohawks are 
very cunning devils."  They make their houses of the bark of trees, 
very close and warm, and kindle their fire in the middle of them.  
They also make of the peeling and bark of trees, canoes or small 
boats, which will carry four, five and six persons.  In like manner 
they hollow out trees, and use them for boats, some of which are 
very large.  I have several times sat and sailed with ten, twelve and 
fourteen persons in one of these hollowed logs.  We have in our 
colony a wooden canoe obtained from the Indians, which will 
easily carry two hundred schepels of wheat.  Their weapons in 
war were formerly a bow and arrow, with a stone axe and mallet; 
but now they get from our people guns, swords, iron axes and 
mallets.  Their money consists of certain little bones, made of 
shells or cockles, which are found on the sea-beach; a hole is 
drilled through the middle of the little bones, and these they 
string upon thread, or they make of them belts as broad as a hand, 
or broader, and hang them on their necks, or around their bodies.  
They have also several holes in their ears, and there they likewise 
hang some.  They value these little bones as highly as many 
Christians do gold, silver and pearls; but they do not like our 
money, and esteem it no better than iron.  I once showed one of 
their chiefs a rix-dollar; he asked how much it was worth among 
the Christians; and when I told him, he laughed exceedingly at us, 
saying we were fools to value a piece of iron so highly; and if he 
had such money, he would throw it into the river.  They place their 
dead upright in holes, and do not lay them down, and then they 
throw some trees and wood on the grave, or enclose it with palisades. 
They have their set times for going to catch fish, bears, panthers, 
beavers and eels.  In the spring, they catch vast quantities of shad 
and lampreys, which are exceedingly large here; they lay them on 
the bark of trees in the sun, and dry them thoroughly hard, and then 
put them in notasten, or bags, which they plait from hemp which 
grows wild here, and keep the fish till winter.  When their corn is
ripe, they take it from the ears, open deep pits, and preserve it in 
these the whole winter.  They can also make nets and seines in their
fashion; and when they want to fish with seines, ten or twelve men 
will go together and help each other, all of whom own the seine in
common.

They are entire strangers to all religion, but they have a Tharon-
hijouaagon, (whom they also otherwise call Athzoockkuatoriaho,) 
that is, a Genius, whom they esteem in the place of God; but they 
do not serve him or make offerings to him.  They worship and 
present offerings to the Devil, whom they call Otskon, or Aireskuoni.  
If they have any bad luck in war, they catch a bear, which they cut 
in pieces, and roast, and that they offer up to their Aireskuoni, 
saying in substance, they following words:  "Oh! great and mighty
Aireskuoni, we confess that we have offended against thee, inasmuch 
as we have not killed and eaten our captive enemies;--forgive us this.  
We promise that we will kill and eat all the captives we shall hereafter 
take as certainly as we have killed, and now eat this bear."  Also when 
the weather is very hot, and there comes a cooling breeze, they cry 
out directly, Asorunusi, asorunusi, Otskon aworouhsi reinnuha; that 
is, "I thank thee, I thank thee, devil, I thank thee, little uncle!"  If 
they are sick, or have a pain or soreness anywhere in their limbs, and 
I ask them what ails them they say that the Devil sits in their body, 
or in the sore places, and bites them there; so that they attribute to 
the Devil at once the accidents which befall them; they have other-
wise no religion.  When we pray they laugh at us.  Some of them 
despise it entirely; and some, when we tell them what we do when 
we pray, stand astonished.  When we deliver a sermon, sometimes 
ten or twelve of them, more or less, will attend, each having a long 
tobacco pipe, made by himself, in his mouth, and will stand awhile 
and look, and afterwards ask me what I am doing and what I want, 
that I stand there alone and make so many words, while none of the 
rest may speak. I tell them that I am admonishing the Christians, that 
they must not steal, nor commit lewdness, nor get drunk, nor commit
murder, and that they too ought not to do these things; and that I intend 
in process of time to preach the same to them and come to them in 
their own country and castles (about three days' journey from here, 
further inland), when I am acquainted with their language.  Then they 
say I do well to teach the Christians; but immediately add, Diatennon 
jawij Assirioni, hagiouisk, that is, "Why do so many Christians do 
these things?"  They call us Assirioni, that is, cloth-makers, or
Charistooni, that is, iron-workers, because our people first brought 
cloth and iron among them.

They will not come into a house where there is a menstruous woman, 
nor eat with her.  No woman may touch their snares with which they 
catch deer, for they say the deer can scent it.

The other day an old woman came to our house, and told my people 
that her forefathers had told her "that Tharonhij-Jagon, that is, God, 
once went out walking with his brother, and a dispute arose between 
them, and God killed his brother."  I suppose this fable took its rise 
from Cain and Abel.  They have a droll theory of the Creation, for 
they think that a pregnant woman fell down from heaven, and that 
a tortoise, (tortoises are plenty and large here, in this country, two, 
three and four feet long, some with two heads, very mischievous 
and addicted to biting) took this pregnant woman on its back, because 
every place was covered with water; and that the woman sat upon 
the tortoise, groped with her hands in the water, and scraped together 
some of the earth, whence it finally happened that the earth was raised 
above the water.  They think that there are more worlds than one, and 
that we came from another world.

The Mohawk Indians are divided into three tribes, which are called 
Ochkari, Aanaware, Oknaho, that is, the Bear, the Tortoise and the 
Wolf.  Of these, the Tortoise is the greatest and most prominent; and 
they boast that they are the oldest descendants of the woman before 
mentioned.  These have made a fort of palisades, and they call their 
castle Asserue.  Those of the Bear are the next to these, and their 
castle is called by them Banagiro.  The last are a progeny of these, 
and their castle is called Thenondiogo.  These Indian tribes each 
carry the beast after which they are named (as the arms in their 
banner) when they go to war against their enemies, as for a sign of 
their own bravery.  Lately one of their chiefs came to me and presented 
me with a beaver, an otter, and some cloth he had stolen from the 
French, which I must accept as a token of good fellowship.  When he 
opened his budget he had in it a dried head of a bear, with grinning 
teeth.  I asked him what that meant?  He answered me that he fastened 
it upon his left shoulder by the side of his head, and that then he was 
the devil, who cared for nothing, and did not fear any thing.

The government among them consists of the oldest, the most 
intelligent, the most eloquent and most warlike men.  These 
commonly resolve, and then the young and warlike men execute.  
But if the common people do not approve of the resolution, it is 
left entirely to the judgment of the mob.  The chiefs are generally 
the poorest among them, for instead of their receiving from the 
common people as among Christians, they are obliged to give to 
the mob; especially when any one is deceased; and if they take 
any prisoners they present them to that family of which one has 
been killed, and the prisoner is then adopted by the family into 
the place of the deceased person.  There is no punishment here 
for murder and other villainies, but every one is his own avenger.  
The friends of the deceased revenge themselves upon the murderer 
until peace is made by presents to the next of kin.  But although 
they are so cruel, and live without laws or any punishments for evil 
doers, yet there are not half so many villainies or murders committed
amongst them as amongst Christians; so that I oftentimes think with
astonishment upon all the murders committed in the Fatherland,
notwithstanding their severe laws and heavy penalties.  These 
Indians, though they live without laws, or fear of punishment, do 
not (at least, they very seldom) kill people, unless it may be in a 
great passion, or a hand-to-hand fight.  Wherefore we go wholly
unconcerned along with the Indians and meet each other an hour's 
walk off in the woods, without doing any harm to one another.

JOHANNES MEGAPOLENSIS.


END OF PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT "MEGAPOL-
ENSIS ON THE MOHAWKS."



Letter and Narrative of Father Isaac Jogues, 1643, 1645.  
In J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Narratives of New Netherland, 
1609-1664 (Original Narratives of Early American History).  
NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909.



Letter of Father Isaac Jogues to His Superior in Canada, 1643.

I STARTED the very day of the Feast of Our Blessed Father Saint 
Ignatius from the village where I was captive, in order to follow 
and accompany some Iroquois who were going away, first for trade, 
then for fishing.  Having accomplished their little traffic, they 
stopped at a place seven or eight leagues below a settlement of the 
Dutch, which is located on a river where we carried on our fishing.  
While we were setting snares for the fish, there came a rumor that a 
squad of Iroquois, returned from pursuit of the Hurons, had killed 
five or six on the spot, and taken four prisoners, two of whom had 
been already burned in our village, with cruelties extraordinary.  
At this news, my heart was pierced through with a most bitter and 
sharp pain, because I had not seen, or consoled, or baptized those 
poor victims.  Consequently, fearing lest some other like thing 
should happen in my absence, I said to a good old woman--who, 
by reason of her age, and the care that she had for me, and the 
compassion that she felt toward me, called me her nephew, and I 
called her my aunt--I then said to her:  "My aunt, I would much 
like to return to our cabin; I grow very weary here."  It was not 
that I expected more ease and less pain in our village, where I 
suffered a continual martyrdom, being constrained to see with 
my eyes the horrible cruelties which are practised there; but my 
heart could not endure the death of any man without my procuring 
him holy baptism.  That good woman said to me:  "Go then, my 
nephew, since thou art weary here; take something to eat on the 
way."  I embarked in the first canoe that was going up to the 
village, always conducted and always accompanied by the Iroquois.  
Having arrived, as we did, in the settlement of the Dutch, through 
which it was necessary for us to pass, I learn that our whole village 
is excited against the French, and that only my return is awaited, for 
them to burn us.  Now for the cause of such news.  Among several 
bands of Iroquois, who had gone to war against the French, the
Algonquins and the Hurons, there was one which took the resolution 
to go round about Richelieu, in order to spy on the French and the 
savages, their allies.   certain Huron of this band, taken by the 
Hiroquois, and settled among them, came to ask me for letters, in 
order to carry them to the French, hoping, perhaps, to surprise some 
one of them by this bait; but, as I doubted not that our French would 
be on their guard, and as I saw, moreover, that it was important that 
I should give them some warning of the designs, the arms and the
treachery of our enemies, I found means to secure a bit of paper in 
order to write to them, the Dutch according me this charity.  I knew 
very well the dangers to which I was exposing myself; I was not 
ignorant that, if any misfortune happened to those warriors, they 
would make me responsible therefor, and would blame my letters 
for it.  I anticipated my death; but it seemed to me pleasant and 
agreeable, employed for the public good, and for the consolation 
of our French and of the poor savages who listen to the word of 
Our Lord.  My heart was seized with no dread at the sight of all 
that might happen therefrom, since it was a matter of the glory of 
God; I accordingly gave my letter to that young warrior, who did 
not return.  The story which his comrades have brought back says 
that he carried it to the fort of Richelieu, and that, as soon as the 
French had seen it, they fired the cannon upon them.  This frightened 
them so that the greater part fled, all naked, abandoning one of their
canoes, in which there were three arquebuses, powder and lead, and 
some other baggage.  These tidings being brought into the village, 
they clamor aloud that my letters have caused them to be treated like 
that; the rumor of it spreads everywhere; it comes even to my ears.  
They reproach me that I have done this evil deed; they speak only 
of burning me; and, if I had chanced to be in the village at the return 
of those warriors, fire, rage and cruelty would have taken my life.  
For climax of misfortune, another troop--coming back from Mont-
real, where they had set ambushes for the French--said that one of 
their men had been killed, and two others wounded.  Each one held 
me guilty of these adverse encounters; they were fairly mad with 
rage, awaiting me with impatience.  I listened to all these rumors, 
offering myself without reserve to our Lord, and committing myself 
in all and through all to His most holy will.  The captain of the Dutch
settlement where we were, not being ignorant of the evil design of 
those barbarians, and knowing, moreover, that Monsieur the Chevalier 
de Montmagny had prevented the savages of New France from 
coming to kill some Dutch, disclosed to me means for escape.  
"Yonder," said he to me, "is a vessel at anchor, which will said 
in a few days; enter into it secretly.  It is going first to Virginia, 
and thence it will carry you to Bordeux or to La Rochelle, where 
it is to land."  Having thanked him, with much regard for his 
courtesy, I tell him that the Iroquois, probably suspecting that 
some one had favored my retreat, might cause some damages 
to his people.  "No, no," he answers, "fear nothing; this oppor-
tunity is favorable; embark; you will never find a more certain 
way to escape."  My heart remained perplexed at these words, 
wondering if it were not expedient for the greater glory of our 
Lord that I expose myself to the danger of the fire and to the 
furty of those barbarians, in order to aid in the salvation of some 
soul.  I said to him then:  "Monsieur, the affair seems to me of 
such importance that I cannot answer you at once; give me, if you 
please, the night to think of it.  I will commend it to our Lord; I 
will examine the arguments on both sides; and to-morrow morning 
I will tell you my final resolution."  He granted me my request with
astonishment; I spent the night in prayers, greatly beseeching our 
Lord that he should not allow me to reach a conclusion by myself; 
that he should give me light, in order to know His most holy will; 
that in all and through all I wished to follow it, even to the extent 
of being burned at a slow fire.  The reasons which might keep me 
in the country were consideration for the French and for the 
Savages; I felt love for them, and a great desire to assist them, 
insomuch that I had resolved to spend the remainder of my days 
in that captivity, for their salvation; but I saw the face of affairs 
quite changed.

In the first place, as regarded our three Frenchmen, led captive into 
the country as well as I:  one of them, named Rene Goupil, had 
already been murdered at my feet; this young man had the purity of 
an angel.  Henry, whom they had taken at Mont-Real, had fled into 
the woods.  While he was looking at the cruelties which were 
practised upon two poor Hurons, roasted at a slow fire, some 
Iroquois told him that he would receive the same treatment, and 
I, too, when I should return; these threats made him resolve rather 
to plunge into the danger of dying from hunger in the woods, or of 
being devoured by some wild beast, than to endure the torments 
which these half-demons inflicted.  It was already seven days since 
he had disappeared.  As for Guilllaume Cousture, I saw scarcely 
any further way of aiding him, for they had placed him in a village 
far from the one where I was; and the savages so occupied it on the 
hither side of that place, that I could no longer meet him.  Add that 
he himself had addressed me in these words:  "My Father, try to 
escape; as soon as I shall see you no more, I shall find the means to 
get away.  You well know that I stay in this captivity only for the 
love of you; make, then, your efforts to escape, for I cannot think 
of my liberty and of my life unless I see you in safety."  
Furthermore, this good youth had been given to an old man, 
who assured me that he would allow him to go in peace, if I 
could obtain my deliverance; consequently I saw no further 
reason which obliged me to remain on account of the French.


As for the savages, I was without power and beyond hope of being 
able to instruct them; for the whole country was so irritated against 
me that I found no more any opening to speak to them, or to win 
them; and the Algonquins and the Hurons were constrained to 
withdraw from me, as from a victim destined to the fire, for fear of 
sharing in the hatred and rage which the Iroquois felt against me.  I
realized, moreover, that I had some acquaintance with their language; 
that I knew their country and their strength; that I could perhaps 
better procure their salvation by other ways than by remaining 
among them.  It came to my mind that all this knowledge would die 
with me, if I did not escape.  These wretches had so little inclination 
to deliver us, that they committed a treachery against the law and the
custom of all these nations.   savage from the country of the Soko-
kiois, allies of the Iroquois, having been seized by the upper 
Algonquins and taken a prisoner to the Three Rivers, or to Kebec, 
was delivered and set at liberty by the mediation of Monsieur the
Governor of New France, at the solicitation of the Fathers.  This good
savage, seeing that the French had saved his life, sent in the month of
April, some fine presents, to the end that they should deliver at least 
one of the French.  The Iroquois retained the presents, without setting 
one of them at liberty, which treachery is perhaps unexampled among
these peoples, for they inviolably observe this law, that whoever 
touches or accepts the present which is made to him, is bound to fulfil
what is asked of him through that present.  This is why, when they 
they are unwilling to grant what is desired, they send back the presents 
or make others in place of them.  But to return to my subject:  having
weighed before God, with all the impartiality in my power, the reasons 
which inclined me to remain among those barbarians or to leave them, 
I believed that our Lord would be better pleased if I should take the
opportunity to escape.  Daylight having come, I went to greet Monsieur
the Dutch Governor, and declared to him the opinions that I had adopted
before God.  He summons the chief men of the ship, signifies to them 
his intentions, and exhorts them to receive me, and to keep me 
concealed--in a word, to convey me back to Europe.  They answer that, 
if I can once set foot in their vessel, I am in safety; that I shall not leave 
it until I reach Bordeaux or La Rochelle.  "Well, then," the Governor 
said to me, "return with the savages, and toward the evening, or in the
night, steal away softly and move toward the river; you will find there 
a little boat which I will have kept all ready to carry you secretly to 
the ship."  

After very humbly returning thanks to all those gentlemen, I 
withdrew from the Dutch, in order better to conceal my design.  
Toward evening, I retired with ten or twelve Iroquois into a barn, 
where we passed the night.  Before lying down, I went out of that 
place, to see in what quarter I might most easily escape.  The dogs 
of the Dutch, being then untied, run up to me; one of them, large 
and powerful, flings himself upon my leg, which is bare, and 
seriously injures it.  I return immediately to the barn; the Iroquois 
close it securely and, the better to guard me, come to lie down 
beside me, especially a certain man who had been charged to 
watch me.  Seeing myself beset with those evil creatures, and 
the barn well closed, and surrounded with dogs, which would 
betray me if I essayed to go out, I almost believed that I could 
not escape.  I complained quietly to my God, because, having 
given me the idea of escaping, Concluserat vias meas lapidibus 
quadris, et in loco spatioso pedes meos.  He was stopping up the 
ways and paths of it.  I spent also that second night without 
sleeping; the day approaching, I heard the cocks crow.  Soon 
afterward, a servant of the Dutch farmer who had lodged us in 
his barn, having entered it by some door or other, I accosted him 
softly, and made signs to him (for I did not understand his Flemish), 
that he should prevent the dogs from yelping.  He goes out at once, 
and I after him, having previously taken all my belongings, which 
consisted of a little Office of the Virgin, of a little Gerson, and a 
wooden Cross that I had made for myself, in order to preserve the 
memory of the sufferings of my Savior.  Being outside of the barn, 
without having made any noise or awakened my guards, I cross 
over a fence which confined the enclosure about the house; I run 
straight to the river where the ship was--this is all the service that 
my leg, much wounded, could render me; for there was surely a 
good quarter of a league of road to make.  I found the boat as they 
had told me, but, the water having subsided, it was aground.  I push 
it, in order to set it afloat; not being able to effect this, on account 
of its weight, I call to the ship, that they bring the skiff to ferry me, 
but no news.  I know not whether they heard me; at all events no 
one appeared.  The daylight meanwhile was beginning to discover 
to the Iroquois the theft that I was making of myself; I feared that 
they might surprise me in this innocent misdemeanor.  Weary of 
shouting, I return to the boat; I pray God to increase my strength; 
I do so well, turning it end for end, and push it so hard that I get it 
to the water.  Having made it float, I jump into it, and go all alone 
to the ship, where I go on board without being discovered by any 
Iroquois.  They lodge me forthwith down in the hold; and in order 
to conceal me they put a great chest over the hatchway.  I was two 
days and two nights in the belly of that vessel, with such discomfort 
that I thought I would suffocate and die with the stench.  I remembered 
then poor Jonas, and I prayed our Lord, Ne fugerem a facie Domini, 
that I might not hide myself before his face, and that I might not 
withdraw far from his wishes; but on the contrary, infatuaret omnia 
consilia quae non essent ad suam gloriam, I prayed him to overthrow 
all the counsels which should not tend to this glory, and to detain me 
in the country of those infidels, if he did not approve my retreat and 
my flight.  The second night of my voluntary prison, the minister of 
the Dutch came to tell me that the Iroquois had indeed made some 
disturbance, and that the Dutch inhabitants of the country were afraid 
that they would set fire to their houses or kill their cattle; they have 
reason to fear them, since they have armed them with good arquebuses.  
To that I answer:  Si propter me orta est tempestas, projicite me in 
mare:  "If the storm has risen on my account, I am ready to appease it 
by losing my life;"  I had never the wish to escape to the prejudice of 
the least man of their settlement.  Finally, it was necessary to leave 
my cavern; all the mariners were offended at this, saying that the 
promise of security had been given me in case I could set foot in
the ship, and that I was withdrawn at the moment when it would be 
requisite to bring me thither if I were not there; that I had put myself 
in peril of life by escaping upon their words; that it must needs be 
kept, whatever the cost.  I begged that I be allowed to go forth, since 
the captain who had disclosed to me the way of my flight was asking 
for me.  I went to find him in his house, where he kept me concealed; 
these goings and these comings having occurred by night, I was not 
yet discovered.  I might indeed have alleged some reasons in all these 
encounters; but it was not for me to speak in my own cause, but rather 
to follow the orders of others, to which I submitted with good heart.  
Finally, the captain told me that it was necessary to yield quietly to 
the storm, and wait until the minds of the savages should be pacified; 
and that every one was of this opinion.  So there I was, a voluntary 
prisoner in his house, from which I am writing back to you the present 
letter.  And if you ask my thoughts in all these adventures, I will tell 
you.

First, that that ship which had wished to save my life, sailed without 
me.

Secondly, if our Lord do not protect me in a manner well-nigh 
miraculous, the savages, who go and come here at every moment, 
will discover me; and if ever they convince themselves that I have 
not gone away, it will be necessary to return into their hands.  Now 
if they had such a rage against me before my flight, what treatment 
will they inflict on me, seeing me fallen back into their power?  I 
shall not die a common death; the fire, their rage, and the cruelties 
which they invent, will tear away my life.  God be blessed forever.  
We are incessantly in the bosom of His divine and always adorable 
providence.  Vestri capilli capitis numerati sunt; nolite timere; nultis 
passeribus meliores estis vos quorum unus non cadet super terram 
sine patre vestro; he who has care for the little birds of the air does 
not cast us into oblivion.  It is already twelve days that I have been 
concealed; it is quite improbable that misfortune will reach me.

In the third place, you see the great need that we have of your 
prayers and of the holy Sacrifices of all our Fathers; procure us 
this alms everywhere, ut reddat me Dominus idoneum ad se 
amandum, fortem ad patiendum, constantem ad perseverandum 
in suo amore, et servitio, to the end that God may render me fit 
and well disposed to love him; that he may render me strong and 
courageous to suffer and to endure; and that he may give me a 
noble constancy to persevere in his love and in his service--this 
is what I would desire above all, together with a little New 
Testament from Europe.  Pray for these poor nations which burn 
and devour one another, that at last they may come to the know-
ledge of their Creator, in order to render to Him the tribute of their 
love.  Memor sum vestri in vinculis meis; I do not forget you; my 
captivity cannot fetter my memory.  I am, heartily and with affection, 
etc.

From Renselaerivich, this 30th of August, 1643.

END OF PROJECT GUTENBERG ETEXT "LETTER 
AND NARRATIVE OF FATHER ISAAC JOGUES."





End of Project Gutenberg's Original Narratives of Early American History


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