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Henry Crout to Sir Percival Willoughby from Cupers Cove (Cupids) August 27, 1612.

Henry Crout, Thomas Willoughby and eight apprentices arrived at Renews in Newfoundland on May 8, 1612 where the Newfoundland Company was hoping to establish a second plantation. The dangers to navigation posed by the pirate Peter Easton forced Crout's party to remain in Renews until August helping with the fishery. In August plans for the Renews plantation were abandoned and the colonists, including Crout's party, withdrew to Cupers Cove so that, according to Crout,  "the general and chiefest place be made strong" against the pirates.

This is the second letter written by Crout from Cupids. In it he describes, among other things, his impressions of the country, preparations for the voyage into Trinity Bay, his plans to trade with the Beothuk, and his hopes of discovering minerals. He also discusses some of the problems facing the colonists including the threat posed by the pirates, the absconding of the surgeon from Renews with most of the medical supplies, and a disagreement between Sir Percival's faulkner and a surveyor called Master Olney over who should deliver the young bear procured by Crout for Sir Percival.

In Cupers Coue the 27 of August 1612

Right Worshipfull

My bounded dutie Ever remembered towards you desiring Long to continve your prosperous health in Christ Saviour. Yt may please you to understand [that] 2 Former letters I haue written you: one of the 4th [of] August from Renoose by [a] ship of Dartmouth; the other the 20th of August from this place. Hoping they will come both [to] passe vnto your hands. I advised you then in the best Manner I can but not as I wished or desired because many occasions this summer hath Crossed us in our business.

... I was directed by Master Iohn slany at my coming out of England to have a boat and 3 men to coast where I would in rivers and elsewhere. But coming here it was not to be performed. So, by that means, I have lost my tyme this summer which hath bin the occasion that all this summer I have assisted Master Roberts in the fishing voyage what possible I could.

Again, we have bin very much hindered all this Summer by Captayne Eastone who hath done great harme vnto many poore fishermen in taking ther victuals, ordinance and men (Englishmen) throughout the Land and [he] hath taken also about 30 sailes of French. This hath bin the cause [that] none of vs could Followe our [business]. But tomorrow, god willing, Master Guy doth put all his Carpenters to worke vpon the pinnace [i.e. the Indeavour] which wilbe ready 15 days hence and, the god willing, we shall to the northwards wher your lot is [in] Trynitie bay to have practice with the savages which, if we can bring [it] to pass, I doubt not but we shall do great good by them. And then, at my coming into England, I [will] know what Commodities will serve ther turne - [they being] matters of no great value. He that doth first break the Ice shall do most good for they are very rich in furs and I understand [there are] great store of Beavers nestes about your lot which Lyeth neerest of any towards the savages.

I haue not yet seen any part of your Lott but only Carbonire which is at the beginning of your [lot which] doth Continue vntil we come unto Harts Content in Trynitie [Bay]. I have myself council of divers fishermen and others who have bin in that part of the bay and also in Trinity Bay and the Iland of Backalao which they faithfully report to be Exceeding good open ground and verie good woods and [has] verie great store of deer in it. Ther was one that told me some 2 years since that he killed 4 deer in one place and did see great store [of deer] besides near about Green Bay [i.e. Bay de Verde].

There is no Fear but your lot will prove to be good for every man doth give it great commendations. But, god willing, hereafter I shalbe able to Certify at Full at such tyme as, please god, we returne againe with Master Governor. The mayne tyme, we will entreat you to pacify yourself being very sorowe that I cannot at this instant Certify [i.e. assure] you according unto my desire being I have not been there as yet myself that, the reason I have already written you, for want of a boat and besides [being] hindered by the men of war [i.e. the pirates]. To the southwards I have bin in most parts of the harbour [and] in some places [there is] very good ground and, with some good industry, near here be good land in most places. But .. there must not be sent over no Idle people which are not desirous to take any pains but it must be such sent as are l[abourers] ... I hope within this Few yeares that your lot and others will torne you to good benefit, both for good Land and fishinge. And also, being so near the savages, I hope we shall procure good trading with them as I will Certify you more at Large hereafter.

For my owne part, I could desire to dwell in this Country and Live here for that I have seene by my owne experience. For god be thanked for all sorts of fishe in the summer in great abundance and then in the Wynter all sorts of fowls and deer in like manner. That is the cause [that] here [there] is no need of any ducks or anything else but only hens which doe increase very much here. Nor [do we need] no kind of beasts [but] only goats as yet before the country be more inhabited. And there s no doubt but the ground will carry good corne for we haue made trial this summer by some barley that it came to verie good perfection and then the goats spoiled it. But Master Governor is making of a plot of ground nowe to put corne in. Here was one deer killed of late which your people can certify you of the goodness.

I do not doubt but hereafter this, yf we have a boat, but we shall find out some kind of metal in these Countries but as yet we haue not had any view in that Manner which I desire. For your good, hoping the next year we shall haue a boat vnto our Content by maynes of your Letter and Master Slanys.

For Master Governor, I know he wilbe still busied as he is now about buildinge about the sawe myll and other houses. ... also, against the next spring, he must make himself strong doubting [not] of other Pirates if the same come not again. Therefore, it is requisite that the general and chiefest place [i.e. Cupids] be made strong for the plantation first before any other be taken in hand [and] before any [one] else may take vnto his own in particular.

Master Slany did writt me verie earnestly to bring home some Torbay hawkes with me for the kings service which should be for my own good as he did write me. I do mind, god willing, to see the trial of the winter and to be satisfied at full of the Country ere I do mynd to return [to England] only for your own good and Master Slany also if [it be] possible [that] I may. Hoping that the next years hawkes may serve as well, if it please Master Slany, I shall make a present with some. Hoping I shall haue your worships helpe in hand withal, if you please to send him that came this year [Master Poltney, the faulkner] I do not doubt but we shall procure them in Torbay and in divers other places.

For mulberries, strawberries and gooseberries and many other berries in this country your people can certify you.

Yf you please in your next Letter to remember the governor because, in his love, he doth much respect your sonne for your sake. And also, by that maynes, I know, yf I haue occasion, I shall procure his Letter for any thing vnto any harbour or Shipp master in this Country the next summer. For any bears or hawkes which may be taken by any fishermen they will not deny [me] having his Letter.

In my Former [letter] I did writt for some cloth to make some Apparel and some Linen to make some shirts and some bands, buttons and thread. Some soap and candles for the Wintter Master Thomas doth need and myself verie much for all his clothes are already done [i.e. worn out] Except his best suit and I haue kept [it] for sundays. I have bought divers small things for him [such] as bands, doublet, jerkin ... shoes and other things as by my note hereafter appears to the [sum] of forty [shillings] which I will pray your worship to pay it vnto one Andrew Beawcoll whom I bought it of as I gave him a note for it.

For Master Olney, I know not why he were sent, but I hold it had bin better [if] he had stayed [i.e. waited] one year longer whereby he might haue bin much resolved of the country and Certified at large by others. For I knowe his charges must be great in Coming and going if he pay it himself. But, as I understand by others, as he sayeth himself, that he was sent by your worship to survey or measure land and I am very sorrowe we could not haue further trial of him, before his departure, upon your own lot.

The faulkner [Master Poltney] and he are in strife [over] who shall carry your bear. I am indifferent so [long as] they wilbe careful of him. But I do understand by your Letter, it is your desire [that] such things as the re[st] doth afford that the faulkner should bring with him. Me think they do not agree very well vpon the business. I perceive [that] Master Olney [is] very desirous to have the carriage of him only to have your worships favor. I hope they will giue you all Content. I do not see b[ut] Poltney doth behaue himself verie well and [is] well thought of by [Master] governer. I should be glad, yf you please, to see him the n[ext year] here [again]. .....

I haue written you in my Former Letters of the departure of our surgeon with some 4 or 5 more from Renoose much marveling [that] he should depart in such a slender manner leaving the companys things between six and seven with 3 or 4 youths which were found afterwards a bezzeling of things away into the woods. And [they] carried away also those things which were in his chest except that [which] were to the value of some 30 or 40 [shillings] at the uttermost. ...

Master Guy did expect he would have sent [the chest] hither for the preserving of his people this winter that are here [at Cupids]. For the surgeon that was here before has [the provisions] in his chest all spent and he was ready bound for England. But now Master Guy hath stayed him and hath sent him abroad to seek ... amongst other shipping to seek amongst other surgeons for some things. But [he] can find very Little for the shipping is all gone. So, if it should please god to visit any of us here with sickness this wintter, we shallbe but in bad cause solely by his means.

It may please you to understand that he [the surgeon] hath taken with him the Little birding piece we brought with vs without any leave. [We pray] that it may be demanded of him by some of your people. Small were the good he did amongst poor sick people but only [that] they have bin something refreshed and helped since their coming hither. But, all his means being spent and yet some [still] being sick, therefore he [John Guy] hath sent some home.

I wrote you in my former [letter of] the occasion of my kinsmans [probably Richard Crout] return which hath taken, I do insure you, great pains so long as he was able to [continue] in the fishing voyage but since [then] he was very sick.... . So, the surgeons chest being all spent, Master Guy doth send all the people that are sick home. I will entreat your favour to Master Slany towards him. For Master Slany had a good liking vnto him at his coming away from England. ... Only that the tyme was shorte and [he] could not then determine because his ships were ready to depart otherwise he would haue has sent him for [a] purser. Not doubting but now, by your good maynes, but that he will entertain him the sooner [for] which he shalbe ever bound in duty to pray for your Worship.

For sarsaparilla here is some in divers places that I have seen but it is very small. But it maybe [that] at the Iland of backalao [there] may be better. It is an Iland that is all full of flowers which belongeth vnto your lot.

Master Thomas hath written you a letter hoping to haue your Loves and favours and that, by gods help, you shall find him to become a new man which truly I do hope the like. For truly, so far as I can see, he hath wit sufficient if he will so employ it as he faithfully promiseth to alter his life. I could wish at [an] instant here were an good suit of strong clothes to change for him for he needeth it very much. We shall do as yet but little with his books vntil it come vnto wintter and as yet we haue not any fitting room to put anything in vntil these people are gone. ... Master Guy doth send away some 35 persons in all. I make accoumpt [that] Master Thomas doth go acoasting with us when we goe.

I pray you to remember vs for some Leade which we want very much. Also, if you please, to send me a dial with a compasse to go through the woods which we need much. I haue had some speech with one of the prentices who hath some knowledge, I perceive, in Irone ore and other metals. So, the next year, if we can procure him to go acoasting, he will serve to take hawkes and besides I make accompt to show him wher he shall find some metal. So, if you please to send one that may keepth hawkes, I make accompt we will find them out. One may serve whereby the charge may be the less.

Master Olney hath spared us two harts because we shall need them very much: praying you to giue him satisfaction for them. I am very sorrowe [that] he had not come in a better tyme but only this year that hath bin troublesome. For he hath seen but Little and what knowledge he hath truly in measuring land I can not say. For he sayeth he hath skill in it but the governor doth not love one of many Words but desireth rather to see performance. [The governor] doth Imagine [that] you did not send him a purpose for surveying your lot and others surmising [that] he came of his owne Free will and [is] not such [a]one [as] sent by you. For one that will count for with the governor must not be full of words nor vse many speeches except his grounds be good.

He [i.e.Olney] mindeth to returne againe the next year but in uncertainty Let him stay vntil he hear further from hince. ... then your worship shalbe able to encourage him as, god willing, you shall have full satisfaction after our coasting. I will write Master Slany also that we may have a boat the next spring to go with William Hatten. Myself and others hoping, having a boat to ourselves, to find out some good places for Irone ore. [We] are also all under one [mind] in coasting for hawkes.

Yours to be Commanded

Henry Croute

All your prentices are very liked by the governor.

(Middleton Manuscript, Mi x1/15, University of Nottingham)


This transcription is based on a transcription by Robert Barakat and my own reading of a microfilm copy of the original document. Barakat's transcription and microfilm copies of the document are housed at both the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland. 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.