The mapp and description of New-England together with a discourse of plantation, and collonies: also, a relation of the nature of the climate, and how it agrees with our owne country England. How neere it lyes to Newfoundland, Virginia, Nova Francia, Canada, and other parts of the WestIndies. Written by Sr. William Alexander, Knight

The mapp and description of New-England; together with a discourse of plantation, and collonies: also, a relation of the nature of the climate, and how it agrees with our owne country England. How neere it lyes to Newfoundland,Virginia, Nova Francia, Canada, and other parts of the WestIndies. Written by Sr. William Alexander, Knight.

PUBLISHED FOR Nathaniel Butter


[Page 8]

[...]All such adventrous designes out of ignorance, or envie (either contemned, or doubtfully ce[n]sured) are never approved, [Page 17] nor imitated, til they be justified by the successe, & then many who had first been too distrustfull falling in the other extremitie of an implicite confidence, to redeeme their former neglects, doe precipitate themselves in needlesse dangers. After that the Spaniards were knowne to prosper, and that it was conceived by the Voyage of Chabot what a large vastnesse this new Continent was likely to prove, Francis the first did furnish forth John Verrizzon a Florentine, who did discover that part of America which was first (and most justly) called New France, and now Terra Florida. And upon his returne he affirming it to be (as it is indeed for all the excellencies of nature) one of the most pleasant parts of the world, This was the cause that after a long delay (during the space of two Princes whole raignes) some new Discoveries reviving the memory of this, in the yeere of God 1562. Charles the ninth (having a haughty mind, and being so ravished with a desire of glorie, that he was sometimes tempted by sinistrous suggestions in seeking after it to goe upon wrong grounds) was quickly enamoured with the eminency of such a singular designe, wherein hee did employ John Ribant, who comming to Florida, was kindly received by the Natives there, and having made choice of a place where to build a Fort, after hee had stayed a time giving direction for such things as were necessarie to be done, he left forty men therein when hee came away with one Captaine Albert to command them, who after that hee had with difficulty beene freed from the danger of famine, and of fire (unseasonably affecting the disused austeritie of the Ancients) did for a small offence hang one of his companie with his owne hands, so losing both the dignitie of his place, and the hearts of his people at one time, which hee should have beene extremely studious to preserve, esteeming them as fellowes of his sufferings, and coheires of his hopes, at least the qualitie of the offence and necessitie of his death should have beene made so cleare, that as importing a common good, all (if not urging it) should at [Page 10] least have condiscended thereunto, but this errour of his was acquited in as rude a manner: for his companie putting him to death did make choice of another Captaine, and despairing of a new supplie though wanting skilfull workmen for such a purpose (necessitie sharpning their wits) they builded a little Barque which they calfatted and made fit for the Seas with the Gummes of trees which they found there in stead of Pitch, and in place of Sayles they furnished her with such linnens as they had upon their beds, and being thus set forth (couragiously overcomming a number of admirable difficulties) did returne to France after a desperate manner.



[Page 14]

[...]Monsieur De Lara [...]erdier a very worthie Gentleman did of late enterprise the like course in the same bounds, and was crossed in the same manner by the difference of Religion (disputations quickning them to contravert who will not be converted) that distracted his companie with severall opinions, yet at this time a long continuance making that lesse strange amongst the French then it was wont to be, the Gentleman did command with such judgement, and discretion, that what ever private dislike was, it never bursted forth in any open insurrection. And for the space of foure or five yeeres being befriended by the Natives, though continually opposed both by the Spaniards, and by the Portugals, yet he alwaies prevayled, living (as himselfe told me) with more contentment then ever he had done in his time either before or since; hee could never discerne any Winter there by the effects, seeing no stormy weather at all, and finding a continuall greennesse to beautifie the fields, which did affoord such abundance, and variety of all things necessary for the maintaynance, that they were never in any danger of famine, but in end finding no more people comming from France, and fearing that time should weare away them that were with him; then being flattered with the love of his native soyle, longing to see his friends, and tempted by the hope of a present gaine, which as he imagined might the better enable him for some such purpose in an other part, he capitulated with the Spaniards to surre[n]der the place having assurace given him for a great summe of money which should have beene delivered in [Page 15] Spaine, but comming to receive the same (it being more easie to pay debt by revenging a pretended injurie then with money which some would rather keepe then their Faith) he was cast in prison, where hee remayned long, till at last he was delivered by the mediation of our Kings Ambassadour, and came here where I spake with him of purpose to give his Majestie thankes. I heare that for the present he is now at Rochell (with a hope to repaire his error) ready to embarque for some such like enterprise. This is all that the Frenchmen have done in the South parts of America, and now I will make mention of their proceedings in these parts that are next unto us.



[Page 26]

[...]Before I come to the Continent I must remember the Iles of the Bermudas, whose Discoverie and Plantation was procured by so strange a meanes, for a Ship happening to perish upon their Coast, her passingers seeking the next Land for a refuge, they were compelled to doe that out of necessitie whereunto in good reason, both for honour and profit, they might more warrantably have beene invited; Thus doth benefit flowe from losse, safety from ruine, and the Plantation of a Land from the desolation of a Shippe: they found at the first store of Hogs, which in all appearance had their beginning from some such an accident as theirs was, and the Fowles were there in abundance so easie to be taken that they could scarcely be frighted away, these first people by repairing of their Ship which was cast away upon the Land, or by building some other Vessell out of her ruines, comming backe to England, and reporting what was past, some joyned together in a companie after they had taken a Patent thereof from the King, and did send people of purpose to inhabite there, who trusting too much to the goodnesse of the soyle, and neglecting their owne industrie, or not governing that well which was carried [Page 27] with them, were reduced to a great distresse for want of victuals, so that, if they had not beene confined within an Iland (more sensible of a present suffering then capable of future hopes) they would willingly have retired from thence, but a great quantitie of Ambergreece having been found by one by chance, and sent backe in a Ship that was going for London, their Merchants finding it to bee of a great value, were so encouraged by such a substantiall argument, that they presently dispatched away a new supply of persons and all provisions necessary, who arriving there, and having considered what a gulfe of famine was likely to have swallowed their fellowes, they improving their judgement by the others experience, by betaking themselves to labour in time did prevent the like inconvenience; there is no Land where men can live without labour, nor none so barren whence industrie cannot draw some benefit, All Adams posteritie were appointed to worke for their food, and none must dreame of an absolute ease, which can no where subsist positively, but onely comparatively, according to the occasions more or lesse.

This Plantation of the Bermudas, a place not knowne when the King came to England, hath prospered so in a shore time, that at this present, besides their ordinary (and too extraordinarily valued) commoditie of Tobacco, they have growing there Oranges, Figs, and all kind of fruits that they please to plant, and doe now intend to have a Sugar worke. These Iles being about twentie miles in bredth can onely be entred into but by one passage, which is fortified and easily commanded by Ordnance, so that, having no Savages within, and fearing no forces without, it is esteemed to be impregnable; and the number of the Inhabitants there, being neere three thousand persons, are sufficient for the ground that they possesse, This part may prove exceedingly steadable to this State, if ever it happen to have (as it hath heretofore had) any designes for service in these Seas.

The first Plantation that ever the English intended abroad [Page 28] was in Virginia, which was first discovered and named so by Sir Walter Raleigh, who in the time of ignorance, or lazinesse, not using the ordinary means (the usual fault of all beginners) were brought by famine to a great extremity. And Sir Francis Drakes comming by chance that way did transport them backe with him to England, whilest at the same time there was another companie furnished forth by Sir Walter Raleigh, who missing them whom they expected to have found there, did remaine still themselves; but what did become of them, if they did remove to some other part, perish, disperse, or incorporate with the Savages (no monument of them remayning) is altogether unknowne; This noble worke having so hard a beginning after a long discontinuance was revived againe in the Kings time by a companie composed of Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Merchants, who (joyning private purses with publike supplies) did send thither a sufficient Colonie, well furnished with all things necessary, who after their first comming had a continuall warre with the Natives, till it was reconciled by a Marriage of their Kings sister with one of the Colonie, who having come to England, as shee was returning backe, died, and was buried at Gravesend. Thus even amongst these Savages (libertie being valued above life) as they were induced to contest in time, before that power which they suspected, could come to such a height, that it might have a possibilitie of depressing them, so was their malice with their feares, quickly calmed by the meanes of a marriage; Lawfull allyances thus by admitting equalitie remove contempt, and give a promiscuous off-spring extinguishing the distinction of persons, which if that People become Christians, were in some sort tolerable, for it is the onely course that uniting minds, free from jealousies, can first make strangers confide in a new friendship, which by communicating their bloud with mutuall assurance is left hereditary to their posteritie.

[Page 29]

This longed for peace, though it bred a great contentment for the time, was attended by wrapping them that apprehended no further danger (too common an inconvenient) up in the lazie remissenesse of improvident securitie. For a number leaving the seate of the mayne Colonie, did disperse themselves to live apart, as if they had bin into a well inhabited Countrey, which (as perchance) it had emboldened the Savages to imbrace the first occasion of a quarrell, so did it give them an easie way for executing the mischiefe that they intended, by killing two or three hundred persons before they could advertize one another, farre lesse, joyne to oppose them in a company together, which course might not onely then have made them able to resist, but preventing the others resolution had kept them from being pursued: yet I heare of late, that they have revenged this injury (though (as some report) not after a commendable manner) by killing their King, with a great number of the chiefe of them whom they suspected most.

This Plantation of Virginia, if it had not beene crossed by the Incursion of the Savages abroad, and by the division of their Owners at home, had attayned to a great perfection ere now, having had Inhabitants from hence to the number of neere three thousand persons, and if some of them who are there, being Lords of reasonable proportions of ground, and having people of their owne, owing nothing but due obedience to a Superiour Power, and the leading of a life conforme to the Lawes, had no care but (making their Lands to maintayne themselves) how to build, plant, and plenish in such sort as might best establish a fortune for their Posteritie, they might quickly make up a new Nation, but it is a great discouragement unto them who dwell there, that they must labour like the Servants of a Family, purchasing their food and rayment from England, in exchange of Tobacco, as they are directed by their Masters, many whereof are strangers to the estate of that bounds, and intending to settle none of their Race there, [Page 30] have no care but how the best benefit may presently bee drawne backe from thence, the number of voyces at their assemblies prevayling more then the soundnesse of judgement, otherwise that Countrey before this time for Wine, Oyle, Wheate, and other things necessary for the life of man might have equalled for the like quantitie any bounds within Europe, to which the soile of it selfe lacking nothing but the like industry is no way inferiour. And it is to be exceedingly wished by all his Majesties subjects that the Plantation of Virginia may prosper well, which lying neerest to the part from whence danger might come, may prove a Bulwarke for the safetie of all the rest.

This is a selection from the original text


confidence, figs, food, sea, soil, success

Source text

Title: The mapp and description of New-England together with a discourse of plantation, and collonies: also, a relation of the nature of the climate, and how it agrees with our owne country England. How neere it lyes to Newfoundland, Virginia, Nova Francia, Canada, and other parts of the WestIndies. Written by Sr. William Alexander, Knight

Author: Stirling, William Alexander, Earl of

Publication date: 1630

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 342 Physical description: [4], 47, [1] p., folded plate : Copy from: Cambridge University Library Reel position: STC / 609:05

Digital edition

Original author(s): Stirling, William Alexander, Earl of

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Title Page
  • 2 ) pages 8-10 ("All such adventrous designs ... after a desperate manner")
  • 3 ) pages 14-15 ("Monsieur De Lara ... next unto us")
  • 4 ) pages 26-30 ("Before I come to the Continent ... of all the rest.")


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > non-fiction prose > politics and governance

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.