"O how sweet is the quiet of these parts, freed from the anxious and troublesome solicitations, hurries, and perplexities of woeful Europe "
"I like it so well that a plentiful estate, and a great acquaintance on the other side, have no charms to remove; my family being once fixed with me, and if no other thing occur, I am like to be an adopted American."
"30 match-coats, 20 guns, 30 kettles, 1 great kettle, 30 pair of hose, 20 fathoms of duffels, 30 petticoats, 30 narrow hoes, 30 bars of lead, 15 small barrels of powder, 70 knives, 30 Indian axes, 70 combs, 60 pair of tobacco tongs, 60 pair of scissors, 60 tinshaw looking-glasses, 120 awl-blades, 120 fish-hooks, 2 grasps of red paint, 120 needles, 60 tobacco boxes, 120 pipes, 200 bells, 100 Jew's-harps, and 6 ankers of rum."A great deal of oratory was expended on the making of these treaties. Penn wrote of one of them, "When the purchase was agreed, great promises passed between us, of kindness and good neighbourhood, and that the Indians and English must live in love as long as the sun gave light: which done, another made a speech to the Indians, in the name of all the Sachamakan, or kings, first to tell them what was done; next, to charge and command them to love the Christians, and particularly five in peace with me and the people under my government; that many governors had been in the river, but that no governor had come himself to live and stay here before; and having now such an one that had treated them well, they should never do him or his any wrong. At every sentence of which they shouted, and said, Amen, in their way."
land, air, and water good, divers good sorts of wood and fruits that grow wild, of which plums, peaches and grapes are three; also cedar, chestnut and black walnut and poplar, with five sorts of oak, black and white, Spanish, red and swamp oak the most durable of all, the leaf like the English willow.
We have laid out a town a mile long, and two miles deep. On each side of the town runs a navigable river, the least as broad as the Thames at Woolwich, the other about a mile over. I think we have near about eighty houses built, and about three hundred farmers settled around the town. I fancy it already pleasanter than the Weald of Kent, our being clearer, and the country not much closer; a coach might be driven twenty miles end-ways. We have had fifty sail of ships and small vessels, since the last summer in our river, which shows a good beginning.
"Here is a hickory-nut tree," he wrote, "mighty large, and more tough than our ash, the finest white and flaming fire I have ever seen. I have had better venison, bigger, more tender, and as fat as in England. Turkeys of the wood, 8 had of forty and fifty pounds weight. Fish in abundance hereaways yet as I hear of, but oysters, that are monstrous for bigness, though there be a lesser sort."
"First of the fall, for then I came in. I found it from the 24th of October to the beginning of December, as we have it usually in England in September, or rather like an English mild spring. From December to the beginning of the month called March, we had sharp frosty weather; not foul, thick, black weather, as our northeast winds bring with them in England, but a sky as clear as in the summer, and the air dry, cold, piercing, and hungry; yet I remember not that I wore more clothes than in England. The reason of this cold is given from the great lakes, which are fed by the fountains of Canada. The winter before was as mild, scarce any ice at all, while this for a few days froze up our great river Delaware. From that month to the month called June we enjoyed a sweet spring; no gusts, but gentle showers and a fine sky. Yet this I observe, that the winds here, as there, are more inconstant, spring and fall, upon that turn of nature, than in summer or winter. From thence to this present month, August, which endeth the summer, commonly speaking, we have had extraordinary heats, yet mitigated sometimes by cool breezes."
"They are generally tall, straight, well built, and of singular proportion; they tread strong and clever, and mostly walk with a lofty chin. Of complexion black, but by design, as the gypsies in England. They grease themselves with bear's fat clarified; and using no defense against sun and weather, their skins must needs be swarthy. Their eye is little and black, not unlike a straight-looked Jew. The thick lip and flat nose, so frequent with the East Indians and blacks, are not common to them; for I have seen as comely European-like faces among them, of both sexes, as on your side the sea; and truly an Italian complexion hath not much more of the white; and the noses of several of them have as much of the Roman.
"Their language is lofty, yet narrow; but, like the Hebrew in signification, full. Like short-hand in writing, one word serveth in the place of three, and the rest are supplied by the understanding of the hearer; imperfect in their tenses, wanting in their moods, participles, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections. I have made it my business to understand it, that I might not want an interpreter on any occasion; and I must say that I know not a language spoken in Europe, that hath words of more sweetness or greatness, in accent and emphasis, than theirs; for instance, Octocockon, Rancocas, Oricton, Shak, Marian, Poquesian, all which are names of places, and have grandeur in them. . . .
"Of their customs and manners there is much to be said. I will begin with children. So soon as they are born they wash them in water, and while very young, and in cold weather to choose, they plunge them in the rivers to harden and embolden them. Having wrapt them in a clout, they lay them on a straight thin board a little more than the length and breadth of the child, and swaddle it fast upon the board to make it straight; wherefore all Indians have flat heads; and thus they carry them at their backs. The children will go very young, at nine months commonly. They wear only a small clout round their waist till they are big. If boys, they go a-fishing till ripe for the woods, which is about fifteen. Then they hunt; and, having given some proofs of their manhood by a good return of skins, they may marry: else it is a shame to think of a wife. The girls stay with their mothers, and help to hoe the ground, plant corn, and carry burthens; and they do well to use them to that, while young, which they must do when they are old; for the wives are the true servants of the husbands: otherwise the men are very affectionate to them. . . .
"Their houses are mats or barks of trees, set on poles in the fashion of an English barn, but out of the power of the winds, for they are hardly higher than a man, They lie on reeds or grass. In travel they lodge in the woods about a great fire, with the mantle of duffils " [a coarse woolen cloth] "they wear by day wrapt about them, and a few boughs stuck round them.
"Their diet is maize or Indian corn divers ways prepared, sometimes roasted in the ashes, sometimes beaten and boiled with water, which they call homine. They also make cakes not unpleasant to eat. They have likewise several sorts of beans and peas that are good nourishment: and the woods and rivers are their larder. . . .
"But in liberality they excel. Nothing is too good for their friend. Give them a fine gun, coat, or other thing, it may pass twenty hands before it sticks: light of heart, strong affections, but soon spent: the most merry creatures that live: they feast and dance perpetually; they never have much, nor want much. Wealth circulateth like the blood. All parts partake; and though none shall want what another hath, yet exact observers of property. Some kings have sold, others presented, me with several parcels of land. The pay or presents I made them were not hoarded by the particular owners; but the neighboring kings and their clans being present when the goods were brought out, the parties chiefly concerned consulted what, and to whom, they should give them. To every king, then, by the hands of a person for that work appointed, is a proportion sent, so sorted and folded, and with that gravity which is admirable. Then that king subdivided it in like manner among his dependents, they hardly leaving themselves an equal share with one of their subjects: and be it on such occasions as festivals, or at their common meals, the kings distribute, and to themselves last. They care for little, because they want but little: and the reason is, a little contents them. In this they are sufficiently revenged on us. If they are ignorant of our pleasures, they are also free from our pains. They are not disquieted with bills of lading and exchange, nor perplexed with Chancery suits and Exchequer reckonings. We sweat and toil to live. Their pleasure feeds them; I mean their hunting, fishing, and fowling, and this table is spread everywhere."
"There is no need of giving any description of them, who are better known there than here; but they are a plain, strong, industrious people, yet have made no great progress in culture, or propagation of fruit-trees; as if they desired rather to have enough than plenty or traffic. . . . They kindly received me as well as the English, who were few before the people connected with me came among them. I must needs commend their respect to authority, and kind behavior to the English. They do not degenerate from the old friendship between both kingdoms. As they are people proper and strong of body, so they have fine children, and almost every house full: rare to find one of them without three or four boys and as many girls; some six, seven, and eight sons. And I must do them that right, I see few young men more sober and laborious."
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