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A letter written by Henry Crout to Sir Percival Willoughby in Cupers Coue the 8th September 1612.
On September 1, 1612 Henry Crout and seven others left Cupers Cove to cut a trail overland to Trinity Bay. In this letter he describes that trip.
Right Worshipful, my dutie allways remembered in Christ Saviour
Yt may please you to understand [that] my last [letter] was of the last of August which was at my Departure from hence for Trinitie [Bay] by land. In Coasting through the woods and Forrest we found verie faire and Large trees especially of birch in great store and very Large and in the valleys I do in sure wilbe very good Land for the earth is excellent good but there must be some Labour men to manure it.
The second day we travelled, we went through very much champion ground and also woods vntill we came within 3 or 4 mylles of the bay and ther did happen with certain paunds which prevented altogeather our voyage [so] that we could not recover the harbour. ... the second day [after] we departed from cupers cove we had such fowlle weather that we spoiled all the bread we carried with vs which made us that we durst not to venture so Farr as the watter side which we did see very plaine. Then we took council amongst our selves [that it was] better to returne than to proceed without provisions and so to come again. As we travelled in the champion ground we did see the pathes of great store of deer and allso ... fowl of great store through the woods that had passed nereby before vs. But we being earnest to proceed in our Iourney had not the tyme to watch for them.
Being [as] we did mark the waye as we went within some 3 miles of the watter side, so Farr it is marked towards trinity bay that I do in sure you I will go it by land into that bay easily in ane day and [a] halfe farther than Harts Content. And in another harbour some 8 mylles from Harts Content we vnderstand of Late ther is some 14 housses of Savages ... [and] we made full accoumpt to have happened vpon them. By Sea into Trinity [Bay] it is at least 100 mylles and more.
Tomorrow ther is some doth proceed againe in the Iourney seeing if it be possible to discover the savages and to cutt the waye perfect. ... beffore we marked [along] the way all the trees as we went but nowe perfect and cutt it for 2 men to passe together. I would willingly haue gone with them again butt in retorning back in our last Iourney I toke a mischance in one of my legs that as yet I ame not able to go. But I hoope it wilbe well againe within this 5 or 6 dayes. ... I make accompt very shortly to go that way my selfe after ther return back againe [with] ...one more with me.
If they thus which go nowe can discover them [the Beothuk] we shall come by them the Better when our pinnace [the Indeavour] shall go which will be ready ten days hence, god willinge, to [go] through [the] whole bay [and] to find out the northwest passage, if possible to be found, as ther is great hope then .... to make a short way vnto canada.
But for your lott be you assured - from the place wher yt doth begine which is at carbonnire in the Bay of consumption vntill harts content in the Baie of Trinitie - for goodness of land and trees, by my own knowledge besides other mens, the like lot hath not bin seen in any parte as yet. For never none hath ever yet passed the Country in that manner as we have done. ... it will do a man good to view the Forrest and woods as we travelled [and] the passage of such store of deer and Fowl always duckes and goose great store in every paund [of] which we killed some by The waye.
A man may very easyly travel through the country without any danger at all having but a hatchet in his hand. ... I do not say it is dangerous neer wher the savages do inhabit but for any other beast no doubt at all. We could not see any beast not all the way as we wentt but in all places as [we] passed we found great store of paunds on every side as we passed. And in every paund great store of beavers nestes ... and so all along vnto the sea coast of Trinitie.
God sending me into England, I hope to procure some maynes by one friend or other, English or Dutch, to haue the knowledge for the taking of them [beaver]. Whosoever had the skill of it, it would be profitable and a riche trade. For the savages haunts are ever amongst the thickes of them and your lot lieth in the Right strook of the beavers nestes. Not doubting by gods help but ther wilbe good done by that trade having discovered the skill in taking them. For the savages taketh continually [a] great number but as I learn that they take most in the wintter tyme when the Froste is. I had some talk here with 2 masters of shipps (I mean Frenchmen) which hath used canada which did load ther in one ship 12 thousand and in another 18 thousand of beaver traded.
... the best time wilbe to take them when the pounds are Frozen. Ther be diverse that marvel to see so many beavers nestes towards the north and you would wonder to see howe they do make ther neste with sticks and earth and also to see how they stop the Fall of every water that noe fishe can escape out of the paunds. A man cannot make it more artificial to stop the water than they do for we passed over diverse.
I shall, god willing, advise you better this wintter of all our proceedings. I am very sorowe [that] I cannot proceed tomorrow againe in our Iourney by reason of my mischance of my leg but we shall come back that way shortly when we have coasted by sea in our pinnace into trinitie [Bay] to return by land.
I ame very sorowe that Mr. governer [John Guy] hath taken some discontent against one of the six prentices which you sent. [It being] the tailor upon some distrust of things which is gone which, as the governor told me, he was informed of by [diverse]. Ther is also 2 more which he was since in the mind to send ... them also [home] because [he feared] they should discourage others in ther labour and in not liking of the country but after talking with them they promised to reforme all business until the next year...
Truely ther hath come over many Idle fellows which are not desirous to take any pains and such ones will ever give an evil report of the country. They will rather filch and steal home than they will take any pains here. But, I do insure you, the countrie is good and doth yield many good things and ... it will with some industrus people which ther would [be] found. ...
If you please to send vs a salmon nett the next spring we doubt not but to procure some 3 or 4 barrels which we wanted much this summer. And we want lead very much For shot. We shall wantt hose much. I spoiled one paire in my last coasting. [We are] hoping this spring to see [Master] Polteney againe whereby we may procure store [of] hawks, he having [the] skill to keep them. Desiring the lord these [letters] may come faste vnto your hands which he hath carried with him and that you will send such necessaries as you think wilbe fitting [for] us for nowe we haue a room of night vnto our selves.
This may no doubt but to give you good comfort in all your business the next spring. But in the mayne time I do much require that your lot is Fallen towards trinitie bay for many considerations. Hoping in the lord it shalbe for your good both for profit and pleasure. So I end praying the lord to profit all our proceedings.
Yours ever to be command
Soap we shall wantt very much until spring.
The bill for 40 shillings payed to frame a hause.
(Middleton Manuscript, Mi X 1/20, University of Nottingham)
This transcription is based on an unpublished transcription by Robert Barakat and my own reading of a microfilm copy of the original document both of which are housed at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador. While every attempt has been made to present this document as originally written, certain changes have been made to render it more comprehensible to present day readers. In some cases the original punctuation has been altered and the spellings modernized. The text has also been broken down into paragraphs and, where deemed necessary, a word or two has been inserted within square brackets to clarify what is being said.