Voyage to Virginia
April 17, 1732. Sayled from Kingroad about 6 afternoon …
June 22. 100 Leagues more and Still no Sounding, but [at] 8 a Clock [we] mett a Sloop from Philadelphia Who told us Cape Henry was 15 Leagues West 8 [degrees] by 5 [degrees] North. Found ground at 35 fathoms and [on] friday, June 23, Landed at York.
York. This City (as tis Called) is indeed a delicat Village. [It] Stands Elivated on a Sandy hill Like Black heath or Richmond Hill and Like that Overlooks a fine river Broader than the Thames at Those places and [it] has Likewise the prospect of a noble Bay. A Stranger [would] Conclude there were at Least 100 houses whereas there are really not 30—for Their Kitchins, Warehouses, etc. are here and generally Elsewhere Seperate from their Dwelling houses and make them appear different habitations. There are about 10 good houses, not above 4 of Brick, the rest of Timber, viz. Pine Planks Covered with shingles of Cypress. They are not Contiguous but Seperated 40, 50, or 100 Yards from Each other, for the town is divided into Lotts, each of which contains about 100 yds. square, and the streets [are] about 50 feet Wide. Here is a neat Stone Church with a bell and they are Just finishing a Court house or Town hall of Brick with a Piazza before it [which is] very handsom and Convenient.
They are all very neat in their houses [here] as Well as at Wmbergh [Williamsburg] and thro out Virginia, and the Negroes at the Better publick houses must not Wait on You unless in Clean shirts and Drawers and feetWashed. They tell You they Wash their Bed Curtains once a fortnight, But the truth is they seldom use any in Summer nor Testers or Head boards [?] because of the Chintzs or Buggs which are plenty. But they have few Muskettos and no Venemous Snakes here or at Williamsbergh and several old Inhabitants never saw a Rattle Snake Alive nor an Indian tho in the Back Woods there are plenty of the former and other Venemous ones. I could compare York to Clifton over Looking the River, and Kingroad, but ours [are] on a Rock, this on Sand.
In York, house rent is Extravagantly dear. The Swan paid £60 per annum, has 4 Rooms on a floor and only the ground floor and one floor above. Tis true it now is Empty and offered at Less and [with the addition of a?] Little Stable room. Other houses [are] in proportion dearer than London. A house with one fire room only [is] £12 per annum. There is no Brass Currency [and] hardly any thing to be had under a bitt or 7–1/2d. A Breakfast on Tea [costs] 15d per head, a Dinner the same besides the Liquer. Ale [is] 15 [pence] per Bottle and English Cyder the same. Madera Wine [is] 2s 6d, French Wine 4 sh[illings], Canary 5 shi[lings]. Milk [is] 3d per Quart, and Washing 2s 6d per dozen. And yet the Rates are Established by Law and hung up in the Public room of Every Ordinary. Besides, here no Excise [is] paid. And yet a Settled Inhabitant may live as Cheap as any Where and Board at £12 and in the country at £10 per Annum. Horse hire is 2s 6d per diem. The roads are Extremely good thro the whole Country which is levell without Hills or Stones.
Williamsberg is 14 Miles from York. The Horses, which are all pretty for Ladyes, Pad it Easily in 2 hours. Wmbergh is the Metropolis. It has about 100 houses, tho by the manner of building their offices seperately it shews to be 300. It is a full Mile Long and 1 Mile Broad. The House of Assembly, Called the Capitol, is an Elegant and Comodious building at the East end of the Town. The governor's [Palace], about the middle of the North side [of town], is also a Very Elegant Structure with a Cupula.
The College founded by King William is an hansome Pyle of Brick in [the] form of a [figure of square with bottom side removed]. [It] has a hansome garden before it, and in it a Chappel and Hall, Lodgings for the Principall [who is employed] at £100 an[nual] Salary. [There is also] a reading master or professor of grammar, and usher or professor of Greek or Oriental tongues, of Philosophy, and of Mathematicks. The Writing Master only attends twice a Week. There is also a Master for the Indians on Mr. Boyles foundation, and a seperate building called Brotherton house, who Endowed it with £200 [per] year for Educating Indians in Christianity, where they Learn to read, write, and Gable their prayers twice a day, and [they] may be bound to trades, but most return to their old way of Life and Carry more Vices away with them than they [their?] fellows ever knew. They have sometimes 7 or 8 at a time, but They can now get very few to Live there. They have appartments seperate from the College, making a Sort of Wing to it, and over against it is a new appartment building for the President which will make another Wing. [marginal comment] The Indian lodging Cost [£]500. The presidents new house [£]700. At Curr[ent] rate, the College [£]3000.
There is a Charter for a Market and 2 yearly fairs and a very Spatious square Laid out for a Market place, but neither take. There are 3 Streets paralel the Whole Length of the town and 6 Cross Streets Laid out, and a Magazine and square Erected in the Center of the town, which is a scituate on an Istmus between 2 Creeks a Mile from Each. The one Creek falls after a 3 mile Course in York river north, and the other in James river South, but [the town] has neither the Prospect or Little of the Convenience of Either [river], rather [it] decayes already than Increases whereas York flourishes. There are about 20 good houses [in Williamsburg], the rest but Ordinary. The Church [Bruton Parish Church] is pretty, build [built] like a Cross and [it] has 1 bell.
[marginal comment] [Williamsburg has] 2 dancing scholes. There was a Playhouse managed by Bowes, but having little to do is dropped.
From Yorktown to the Mattaponi
From York, Wednesday, 28 June, I went by ship up the [York] river, which has pleasant Seats on the Bank which Shew Like little villages, for having Kitchins, Dayry houses, Barns, Stables, Store houses, and some of them 2 or 3 Negro Quarters all Seperate from Each other but near the mansion houses make a shew to the river of 7 or 8 district Tenements, tho all belong to one family. Col. [Mann] Page on the North of York river is reputed [to have] the best house in Virginia.
West Poynt, so Called from the Proprietor Lord Delawar, [lies] between [the] rivers Pomonky [Pamunkey] and Matopomy [Mattaponi]. I sailed up the last, which divide[s] King and Queen County from King William as [the] Pomonky does the Latter from New Kent. The North side of Matopmy is Thick seated with gentry on its Banks with in a Mile or at most 2 mile from Each other, [such] as the Widow Gregory [Mildred Washington Gregory, widow of Roger Gregory], [blank], Dr. [John] Dixon, Mt. Vernon, Major [Richard] Johnson, Capt. [Henry] Hickman, Capt. [Philip] Roots, Col. [Gawin] Corbin, [and] Major Robinson [probably John Robinson]. Most of These have pleasant Gardens and the Prospect of the River render them very pleasant [and] equall to the Thames from London to Richmond, supposing the Towns omitted.
The Manner of Building is much alike. They have a broad Stayrcase with a passage thro the house in the middle which is the Summer hall and Draws the air, and 2 Rooms on Each hand. Some indeed have only one room on a Side and the Windows opposite each other. I landed at Capt. Roots's, lay there a Week, [and] was Entertained very elegantly there as Wel[l] as at Maj. Johnsons, Col Corbin['s] , and Col. [Augustine] Mores in King William, and Last settled at Dr. Dixons at £10 per annum each for Dyet, Lodging, Washing, and keep for a horse, finding Corn at 5 barells. The only Inconvenience of these places are the Muskettos which come from the Marshes near them, for which some have Wire [and] some Gause blinds which keep out the flyes but admit the air.
Other Tidewater Towns
Glocester is directly over against York where the river is about a Mile over, and there is a Battery of guns, about 10 on Each side, but mainly stored with ammunition and defended not so much [by them] as by a Parupet. At Glocester [there] are not above [blank] houses. Mrs. [illegible] has a good ordinary.
Hampton is the Port to James River, in all about [blank] houses.
James City was formerly the Capitol of the Colony, now not above 2 houses left.
The Whites in Virginia
The Creolians, or Natives of European parents, are few [of them] Corpolent, but [rather] tall and thin. In Summertime even the gentry goe Many in White Holland Wast Coat & drawers and a thin Cap on their heads and Thread stockings. The Ladyes Strait laced in thin Silk or Linnen. In Winter[they dress] mostly as in England and affected London Dress and wayes. The Gentry at Their Tables have commonly 5 dishes or plates, of whichPigg meat and greens is generally one, and Tame fowl another. Beef, Mutton, Veal and Lamb make another. Pudding, often in the mid[dle], makes the 5th. Venison, Wild fowl, or fish a 4th. Smal[l] beer made of molasses, with Madera Wine [and] English Beer [is] their Liquor. [They have] Claret, Port and Canery very Seldome. They have good Cyder but will not keep it, but [instead] drink [it] by pailfulls never Workt [?].
They are very Hospita[b]le, and in places where there are no Ordinarys you ride in where 2 brick Chimbles shew there is a spare bed and lodging and Welcome. Tho they have good horses, the Gentlewomen seldom ride but uses [sic] Chasse Chariots or Coaches. The first are very frequent with 2 or 4 horses.
The Indian Inhabitants are very few. The Nation of [blank] are not above 50 families. I saw 5 of them at Wmberg, one of them a Capt[ain], another was bred [?] at the College, which had old Coats and Shirts, and [a] sort of Boots half way their Legg bound about without heels, but [they had] no Breeches or Hatts, [and] there Hair [was] Cutt in different forms and tyed in knotts. One of them was Educated at the College, could read and write, and had been Christened [with] Alexander Spotswood, then Governor, Standing [as his] Godfather. But [he] was returned to his old Way.
There are many of our English Countrimen and Travelling persons and Watermen Exposed to the Sun who would be as Tawney, or Rather more, than these [Indians], if Like those they Went without hatts. And let men pussle their brains about the Blackness of the Negroes, its very Evident the Nearer you Come to the Line of Either side [of the Equator] the Inhabitants are the Blacker, and the same Paralel gives the Same Colour. So these Indians, being under the Latitude of Gibralter, are of Colour [similar] to the Spaniards of that Part of Spain.
Their Living seems to us very Wretched, being only on Roots, Turtles Where they can meet with them, and Dear when they can Shoot them. They Traffick a Little in Skins for Rum, of which they are very fond, and [for] old Blankets, which all wrap about them Like Pladds. However, [they] Enjoy freedom and Ease.
The Negroes are all Slaves brought in or born here. I have been on board 2 Ships from Guinea and Angolo. One had near 500 Negroes. The men are Stowed before the foremast, then the Boys between that and the mainmast, the Girls next, and the grown Women behind the Missen. The Boyes and Girles [were] all Stark naked; so Were the greatest part of the Men and Women. Some had beads about their necks, arms, and Wasts, and a ragg or Peice of Leather the bigness of a figg Leafe. And I saw a Woman [who had] Come aboard to buy Examine the Limbs and soundness of some she seemed to Choose.
Dr. Dixon, with whome I went, bought 8 men and 2 women on board the Ship Consigned to Col. More and Mr. [Cornelius] Lyde, and brought them on Shoar with us, all stark naked. But when [we had] come home [they] had Coarse Shirts and afterwards Drawers given [to] them. [They] cost £20 [per] head.
They allow them on shipboard only horsebeans. Here they are allowed a peck of Indian Corn per Week, which stand the master in 26 sh[illings] per annum each, and broun Linnen at 6d per yard [for] 2 shirts [and] 2 drawers [is] 10 yds, [costing a total of] 5s; shoes, 1 pair [at] 3s; all [together] will Cost about per annum [blank]. They also allow them to plant little Platts for potatoes or [?] Indian pease and Cimnells, which they do on Sundays or [at] night, for they Work from Sunrising to setting. 6000 plants of Tobacco, which wil[l] make 1000 lbs. weight, beside their Share of Corn is a Slaves task.
Food for Man and Beast
Thus the keeping their Slaves cost[s] Little. Fish and fowl cost nothing but Labour to Catch. Horses, Hoggs, [and] Cattle run in the Wood, as many as the Owner Can procure, and the Winter fodder is the Leaves and tops of Corn, the provender [is] the grain, of which they give the horses in the Stable a Gallon a day. Their Bacon is fatted after the mast Chestnuts and Chinkapin[s] by this Corn and Exceds any in England or even Westphalia.
Poultry [is] Plentifull, [and] Beef, Veal, [and] Lamb sufficient, but mutton is not so good as in England, nor do they feed many Sheep, [because] the grass being Course produces as Course Wool. Venison is Shot in the Woods where also Hares, or rather Rabbits, tho very small, are plenty enough. But by throwing away the Innards [they] deprive themselves of Bullocks heart, tripe, Calves feet, and Pluck.
They had Reaped their Wheat in June. Barley they have good, but they make little malt or Beer, and few Oats. Corn, by which you must alwayes Understand Indian, is planted like our Hops in hills [illegible] feet dist[ance], 3 grains in an hill. The stalk grows often 10 or 12 feet high [and] yeilds a prodigious Increase. I have [been] told [there are] 12 Rows round an Ear and 46 grains in Each [row], which amount to[blank], and 3 such ears on one Stalk, making [blank]. Its Planted in March or April, but not ripe till October. They strip the under Leaves for fodder for Horses and Cut of[f] the tops above the Ears for other Cattle in Sept. Tis the only support of the Negroes, who Roast it in the Ear, Bake it for Bread, Boyl it when Hulled, and Like our buttered Wheat, the Children and better sort breakfast with it and make farmity. The first they call Homeny, the Latter Mush. To Hull it they Beat it in a Mortar as the scots do their Barley. 5000 hills in midling land produces 5 barrels, each [containing] 5 Bushels. [marginal comment] Often 8 or 9 Barrel[s]. Their Hay is not good, tho there is enough in the Marshes.
They have plenty of Garden stuff, but as I came from England too soon, so I came here too Late for Pease, Beans, Cherryes, Raspberrys, Asparagas, Goosberrys, Currants, Strawberrys, Mulberrys, and tasted none Except a plate of old Pease and Withered Cherrys at York, and a dish of Beans and Bacon at the Governors table [which had been] kept backward in his own garden. [marginal comment] Strawberys plenty in the old fields and Asperagas also in many of them.
There are several sorts of french or Kidney beans, one sort called the 6 Weeks bean is striped and from the Planting ripens in that time. Another [is] something larger and the pod 8 Inches Long, and rounder, which they call Indian Pea, But [it] is truly a kidney bean. Cabbages and our Somer or Green Kale, with curled Savoyes are Plenty, but Few Colyflowers or Hartichoak, tho the Gentry sometimes rayse a few and have very lately tryed the Brochili. Cucumbers and Cymnells, which are a small round Gourd of the Pompion kind, with Quasshes, and Cushers, and Pompion[s] are in request, Especially Cimneles, at gent[lemen's?] tables.
Other Cultivated Food Crops
They dont generally Plow their Land but Manage it with the Broad Hough, tho I have seen some Ox ploughs. Their Potatoes are either of the Barmudas Kind, fashioned thick and short like a pear, or Long like a beet Root. These are either White or red and [are] Commonly rosted. They are Sweet and over Luscious, best in a pye. Turneps are in shape like a Parsnip. Such [turnips] I had at Sutton.
Musk Mellons are plentifull Enough, but they plant them among their Corn in the shade and [in] ordinary ground with out any care as our Gardeners use, and [therefore they] have not the Advantage of soyl or sun and Consequently [lack] the high flavor of our English Melons. But they cheifly [sic] Esteem the Water Melon, which is green, as bigg as a Pump[k]in, smooth, not furrowed. They Eat it as an apple, but in my opinion [it is] too flatt and Waterish. They say [eating] it hurts no one, even in fever.
Grapes grow wild in the Wood, twisting round the trees like woodbines, but being never Priened [Pruned] or Cultivated and always shaded, [they] are Very Sour. But [they] might be Improved and good Wine made, but all their Care is for Tobacco and Little Else Minded Except Corn.
To the same reason also I attribute their Peaches not having the same flavour. They plant them and apples Standard in the worst of their ground in order to Improve it, their Cattle and Swine feeding under [the trees], which they say Improves their Swine Extraordinary, and [they] often shake them down to them, otherwise the wind would shake them first down and [they] Can never Ripen to attain their due flavour. This makes them fancy their Cyder will not keep, tho I have Tasted good bodyed of 7 year[s] old and the same gent[leman], Col. Custis, has some of 13 [years old]. He attributes the not keeping to grinding their apples too soon. They also make strong hedges of Peach plants in their gardens.
Fruit- and Nut-Bearing Trees
Priscislum is a fruit growing in great abundance on a large tree as big as a Walnut tree. The fruit when green is very Rough, and almost Contracts the mouth. In September [it] grows red and soft, but is not ripe till October or November, when its black and Candyed over. [It is] about the Bigness of a London Plumb [but] rounder. It has 2 flat stones [which] when Joyned [appear] like those of a Tamerine. They make a Liquer of it, Hop it, and ferment it with Easter balm. The Leaf is exactly like that of a black Cherry.
The Chinkepin has a Leaf also like a Maszard, or Black, Cherry. The Nutts grow in a Burr like our Chestnuts, and drop out about Mich[aelmas]. The nut is Round and of a dark red, but in a manner polished. [They are] not so bigg as our Hazle. They are sweet as filberts. Great bearing Small bushes and Large tall trees bear plentifull. Hazel nuts and filberts are very scarce, unless in Hannover [County].
Walnuts are of 3 sorts. The Black [walnut]. The Outside Husk [of the nut] is very Rough and round and has a Sweet Smell. The Shell is very thick and the nut must be picked out with a fork. This makes the Chaires in England and tables here. The White [walnut], [blank]. The English Walnut. When growing here [the nut] is of an harder shell [than in England].
The Hickary is [a] Sort of Walnut. [It is] a very lasting Timber and hard. The Husk [is] Striated and Parts in quarters, Like an Orange. [It] Comes Clean from the Nutt, which is very thick and hard. The Kernel [is] small and sweet, but difficult to be picked out. The Leaf and husk [have] a Sweet Smell. [The tree has] a large full Leaf. The Nut [is] round, but something less than a walnut.
Peaches [are found] in great Plenty, but mostly Mealy and dry. Their best Common ones are the English Molacoton. I have heard of 50 hoggs fatted by apricots. [They] are plenty at York, but not high flavor. I have seen none Since.
[The] Locust tree is about the Bigness and has exactly the Leaf of the Quickbeam. [It] bears a White flower succeeded by a large, long pod Like that of a Kidney bean, Indian pea, or Indian Creeper, with in which is a Sweet pulp like Honey which Jo[hn the] Bapt[ist] Lived on. It also has a Long, stiff, sharp Thorn of a fingers length. There is another sort [of Locust with a] Leaf something like the former, but no Thornes. [Locust is] a very hard [wood], but lasting for Ever.
The woods abound in forrest Trees, but have little Incumbrances of Thorns and Briars, no Goz, or fern to hinder riders among them. But I see none but the Sycamore that Exactly agrees with our English, and the Holly and Hawthorn and Asp. There is the Black, White, and Spanish Oak, all being acorns. The Leaf of the White Oak somewhat resembles our Maple. The Black is darker and Broader and shorter. The Poplar has no resemblance to ours, but has the Leaf of a Maple or Black Oak. [It] bears a flower and is the same with the Tulip in Lord Peterborows garden. [It] grows as bigg as an Oak.
Cedars are plentiful, but make not so stately or fine [a] Tree as the Pine. The Leaf is smaller, exactly like a Savin or Juniper, but the Cedar is Sweet, whereas the Savin stinks. The Cedar Bears no Cone Like the fir, but a Bl[ue?] Berry which is the seed, and is the Juniper Cedar of Johnson, a sharp poynted Leaf and sweet sm[ell]. [The] Pyne bears a leaf and cone like our Pine, only the Cone is full of short Prickles, and I can find no seed or Kern[el] in it. There are Round and Long ones on the same tree. They use it as wee do firr, but its redder. It agrees otherwise with the Pinus Montana of [Thomas] Johnson. Cypress grows Larger and is the Wood of which they make their shingles for Covering [Roofs and?] for Clapboard.
Shrubs and plants. Myrtle grow very Plenty. They boyl the Berryes to a Wax and make green Wax Candles which burn well, but are dear, viz. 9d per lb., whereas tallow are 5d.
Dogwood grows [to] an high tree, equal of [an] Apple tree. [It] bears a small red Berry like an Haw in the Center of 3 Leaves, which Leaf in Autum grows red. Tis the root [which] has the Virtue by some esteemed Equal [to] the Jesaets bark, [although] some say the Inward Bark. The English Dogberry is black when ripe. Wood Sorrell is a bushy tree almost as large as the former. The Leaves also turn Red in Autumn. The Seed hangs in long Bunches 6 or 7 Inches Long, 10 or 12 Strings in a bunch, knotted Like Knotted fringe.
Cypress is of the sort of our garden Cypres. [It] bears very smal[l] Cones and [the] seed [is] much coveted by Ants. There are few of them in York, James City, or Kent, or King and Queen County, But plenty in Glocester and the Dragon Swamp. The Wood is very lasting. Of it they make shingles for their houses, which being tarred over every 2 or 3 years will hold good 20 Years. It grows in the Water like our Aldar.
Lignum Vitae is but a small tree, the branches hanging down, leaves exactly like a Savine, but Thicker, broader, and more gummy and Odoriverous. [It] bears a Yellow flower among the Leaves, but no fruit. It grows from Layers in England at falston. The Cedar is also much the same leaf, but [with a] pricky poynt, [whereas] this is smooth.
Sumack [is] of two sorts. The one for Dyers is a shrup [i.e., shrub] about 2 feet High. [It has] a Small Leaf [and] bears a Large Tuft or Clustor of Small Deep red Berries. The root is Excellent in the Pox.
Sassafras is as big as our Maple. [It has] a very rough bark. There is Little Virtue in the boughs and body, and the scent [is] in the root. The Blossom drank as Tea is a pretty relish.
Fish. In our Voyage wee Saw Several Grandpusses and great numbers of Porpusses. [We] struck one, but it get of[f]. [We also saw] several Bonettas, of about 2 feet Long, and Dolphins which wee struck at, but could take only one, which was as good as Zalmon. Its a Beautiful fish, both in shape and Colour, [being] strait, slender [and] of a Changeable Blue, red, and Gold Colour. It had in it 3 or 4 Garr fish, a small Rudder fish, [and] a Flying fish. Blubber and Carvil I described before. Sheeps heads are accounted a very good fish. Cats heads are more Course, but I think very good. Sting rays are the same as our Schates not [illegible] here. They say if You done [don't] Carefully and nimbly Cut of[f] its tayl when taken, it will strike it into your hand or Legg to the Endangery of the Limb.
Flying Squirrells are of the Colour of a Common Squirrel and differ in two Wings and the Tayl, All broad and thin films covered with hair Like other parts of their Body. [They] fly from tree to tree, but not farr. The Common Squirrell is red flesh, but eats like rabbit. I eat of it Aug. 9, 1733  at Major Johnsons.
They have no lobstors, nor are the Crabbs good. There are Crabbs in fresh Water. They slip their shells Yearly, have a Picked side, and their Claws [are] more slender than ours.
We saw very few fowle in our Voyage, Except Gulls, some Sheer waters, so Called because they skit on the Water like Swallows, one Troppick bird, and some Petterells, which are a Sea swallow. [The] Turky Buzzard flyes Like our Kite, but is Bigger and doth Prey on Chicken. Crows resemble ours in Shape and Colour, but fly in Company as Rooks and Make a noyse Like the Barking of a dog. Blackbirds resemble ours but do not whistle Like them, But make a noyse Like our Stares and fly Like them in Large flocks. The Cock is Black with a Spot of red as Broad as a 6 p[ence] on Each Pinion. The hen [is] more Like a Starling. Mocking birds are as bigg as a pigeon. Blew Birds and Red birds are so Called from their Colour. The Red is bigger than the blackbird. The Cock red bird has a beautiful Tuft on its head. The Blew birds are Least. Didapers more resemble our Sheldrake or Barrow Duck. [They are] very near as Large, and like them [have] red Leggs. Partridges often pitch on Trees. Humming birds, or Colibres, [are] no bigger than a Beetle. [It is] beautiful [and] makes a surprising noyse as it flyes. Muscovy ducks thrive Well and all their Poultry is good.
Raccoons and Possums both resemble Hogs flesh, exceeding fat and Luscious.
Flying Insects. The flying Bugg is a Very large kind of Beetle. [It] makes to the Light, and Like beetles Strike against the Walls till it falls down. Fire flyes are very thick and make a pretty shew in the night. [They] Carry a light in their Tayl, Like our Glowwork [glowworm]. Some fancy them Cantharides, but they are of a Brown Colour, and as I have Compared, differ also in shape from the other. There is a lesser Beetle Called a Tumbel turd. Tis a pretty amusement to see them Roll up dung as Bigg as a Billiard Ball and Work, two together, to roll it to a hole and Burry it. In it they Lay their eggs, and the outside is Winters Provision. They swarm and all most Cover the ground near the Cow penns.
Amphibious animall. Here are no Toads, but Innumerable froggs of different sort[s]. The Common Little land frog is Blackish, but striped down the Back less than ours. The Yellow frog is more like [ours], but the Bull frogg is Monstrous. The Land frogg sings like a Grashopper toward Evening. The other Croak very different from ours, but the little green frog is very Beautifull. It Lives altogather on trees, Eats the Leaves, [and] never comes on the ground. But when it [is] taken and placed on the ground, [it] takes greater Leaps than either, viz. 2 or 3 yards at a Leap.
Turtles, or tortoises, lye in Little ditches and standing Pools, Especially where a red weed grows. The Negroes eat them, but few of the English, more because their belly resembles an overgrown toad than for any Ill tast, for stewed they make good broth and the flesh [is] equal to stewed beef. They differ from Talopins in this: the Turtle Careys its shell on the back but is Soft under the belly; the other is all Environed with shell and Contracts its self into it. The Turtle are sometimes found 2 feet over or more. That whereof I eat was about a foot. The Talapin is seldom as Wide as a Common plate, 6 or 8 Inches.
Snakes. The black is not Venemous. It[']s Long and hunts Rats and therefore they rather cherish than drive them out of their Storehouses. The Green specked snake is also reputed of no venom. The Rattle snake will not avoyd you as repor[ted?]. [It] is a dull, heavy Animall, nor will it hurt you unless you strike or tread on it, when it will spring at you. And the bite is generally Mortal, tho they report that Indians can Cure it. There are 2 Instances of recovery without their help. They say they have an Additional Rattle every Year. The Horn snake is the most venomous of all. It lyes in its tayl which it will dart into a tree and kill the Tree with its poyson. Neither these nor Rattle snakes are frequent in the Inhabited parts, but Lye in the Back woods, so that many old Natives [n]ever saw one alive. I have yet seen of no kind.
Lizards are Very numerous and of different sorts. The Red headed one they say is the Scorpion. The lizard will run Cross you as Swift as an Arrow from a bow [so] that you can neither discover Colour or Shape.
Additional Notes on Crops and Husbandry
Tobacco is raised from the Seed, for the Stalks, after [being] Cut like Cabbage in a red flower, run to Seed. [The seed is] ripe in October and sown in beds in January, Thence planted out In hills Like Hops, about 3 feet dist[ant], in June, and after a months grouth [it is] topt to make the Leaf Larger. Its Cut in August and then runs to seed and bears a white flower.
Virginian Potatoes hath many hollow, flexible branches trailing on the ground, three Square Knoted at Certain distances, from which Knots Spring the Leaf. [It] bears a flower of purple Colour [and] the fruit suceeds round as a ball, as bigg as a Little Bullet, 1st green, and [then] black when ripe, wherein is [a] Small white Seed Less than Mustard. The Root [is] Thick, fatt, and Tuburous. In Colour and tast [it is] like the Common Potato [although] not so Long or bigg, and some [are] round, some Ovall. Ours came from America. N[ote:] I have seen none of this sort as yet. This is Johnsons description. [marginal comment] those [potatoes] that I have seen are Long Like parsnips, some White, but mostly redish Yellow. [They are] Luscious and as Large as Lincoln Shire or Spanish Potatoes.
Woodbines, with a red flower but have no smell, make a pretty shew over a Palisade or arbour and last till october. Snake root sends forth many slender stalks a foot Long [which are] tough, Indented, tending toward the ground or creping on it. [It has] green, sharp, poynted Leaves and [a] red flower. [It has] a smal, fibrous, matted root. Prickly Pear is a plant without body or boughs. The Leaf set in the ground produceth other Leaves. These Leaves are Broad and thick as a Mans hand, of a deep green, set with Long, Slender, Sharp, whitish Prickles. [so far it agrees with Gerards Indian figg]. At the End or top of these Leaves Issue a red flower Like a Pear in Shape, or Rather like a Crocus, full also of Prickes, which Containes fruit. It grows here close to the ground, but a foot high in the West Indyes. It grows green all the year, flowers in September, [and] is reputed very astringent, viz. the Juice.
Forreign Commod[it]yes are Brought almost [exclusively] from England, except some Madera [imported] directly and rum, which makes Almends, reasons [raisins], Orenges, Lemons, [and] Currants only seen sometimes at Merchants and gentlemens Tables.
Ginger is planted in Hills like our pease. Every kind sprouts forth blades Like Wheat. The roots are Scraped to Clear it from the outward skin and kill it, other wise it would be always growing. Some Scald it, but that proves not so good.
Red pepper is some of it at 2 y[ards] dist[ance] not to be discerned from a Childs Coral at 3 Yards dist[ance].
Purcelain grows wild and over runs the ground.
Tobacco in Stalk and Leaf and flower is not much unlike our Henbane, only [it] will grow 7 or 8 feet high if suffered. But they always top it in [blank] 1 to make the Leaves Spread the broader. The Stalk is as bigg as [a] good hand Cudgel, branchd with Long Branchs, to which is fixd a Long and broad Leaf, [which is] smooth with an [illegible] poynt, soft and of a Light green Colour. The flowers, in [the] Shape of a Bell flower, grow at top of the Stalks. [They are] hollow within, Long and Cornered, of a White Carnation Colour toward the Stalk, but more red toward the brim. The Seed is Contained in Long, Sharp poynted Podds, Like the Yellow Henbane, but Something Smaller and browner. The root [is] great and of [a] Woody substance with some Thready Strings. Its soun in beds in January. Carefully scattered, [it] needs no Raking, but will doe even til April. In June the Young plants are set out in hills Like hops, 3 feet dist[ant] and Cutt off or topt at a months grouth. They cut [it] about a foot from the ground in August. [It is then] hung in the Shade to dry and in October pickt and put in Cask.
Among other Virtues, the oyl [of tobacco] heals galls [and] kibed heels. Tis Excellent in Burnings and scaldings [when] boyled with hoggs greese into an Oyntment and spread on a Cloth and applyed. [The] Ashes [are] Excellent to Clean teeth.
Cotton is planted early in the Spring. In July and beginning of August, it produces a flower of Damask red or bright yellow Issuing from a Cluster of Green leaves. This flower consists of only 2 leaves which are Close like a Rose bud and Incloseth a Yellow Chive with [which?] become[s] a Cone of the Shape of a Pear which In[closes?] the Cotton, which bursts it open and is Ripe in October.
Husbandry, etc. They are the Slovenliest husbandmen Imaginable. Those few that use the Plough never harrow the corn nor Weed their Wheat, but when once Sown take no more Care of it. They lead their Oxen by the horns in Plowing, 1 Yoke to the Plough. Their hay is the coursest Sedge, Cut with an hook and dryed without Turning or Cocking.
They neither Shoe nor litter [?] their horses. After Galloping 20 or more mile[s], they will tye them to a tree or rayl all day, and Eat, bait, and away again home, perhaps turn them into a Stable loose where they may Eat Rackstaves if they please, and next morning On again. Yet will they hold it and [remain] more healthy than Ours which are so tenderly used.
Sheep do not thrive here and no Wonder. They never belch drench or take Care of them or their Lambs, nor Wash them before Shereing. Nor do they Wind the Wool, but they wash the Wool after tis taken off, which last of Washing the Wool after Sheering and not before is also usual in Devon.