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Thomas Rowley to Sir Percival Willoughby from Cupids, fall or winter 1619/1620.

Thomas Rowley had been living at Cupers Cove (Cupids) in Newfoundland since at least 1612. In 1618 he and William Hannan entered into partnership with Percival Willoughby to settle on the Trinity Bay side of Sir Percival's lot. Rowley planned to settle at New Perlican. Once established, the colonists intended to live by fishing, farming, trading with the Natives and prospecting for minerals. Although this letter is not dated, it is clear from its content that it was written sometime between Rowley's letter of October 16, 1619 and his letter of February 8, 1620. In it he describes his plans to settle "near Harts Content...att New Pernecan" .

Right Worshipfull,

It may please you to understand what course I haue thought fittest with the advice of my best consideration. Seeing your desyre (and such is myne also) to settle near Harts Content, I hold this the best for us to liue this winter att kobbys kove [i.e.Cupids] and Fitt this winter what boards I can for our building next spring and then, the first of the yeare, fore Fishing come, I may goe with what company may be had taking with me a carpenter, now in the country (which att [present] is att his own hand) [and] my own mason [and] 2 more - we sawing them timber to ther hand when first we go - that ther may be building in the summer against winter. For my purpose is to build our dwelling house with stone. Then shall we be ready, being so neare to [them] among the savages, to see what good beginning we may haue with them [at] the end of the next fishing.

And for the Further prosecution of these businesses, I hold it a Fitt course to Furnish out a barke or a ship upon a Fishing voyage, as Master Hannam says he will come again, which may fish ther att New Pernecan or Sugerloafe Cove near adjoining.wher is vsually as good Fishing as is any in the land. By ... [Master Hannan] we may receive 3 or 4 tun of provisions and they shall have as much salt here of me as they may come unto so that thereby ther voyage is not hindered by our freight. For ther departure I propose, god willing, to lay up so much salt. I have bought some store, for if not so, then provision must come from Bristol in a sack [i.e. a sack ship] which must be free to deliver it at Cobbys Cove, where I am, or att New Pernecan wher the ship that cometh over with it may see it safe till I can hear from them. Then I may bring our carpenter and masson to meete it there [and] so set them to work.

And furthermore, as I have wrote unto you concerning an honest young man, one John Whitt, who liveth with Mrs Foynes in Bristoll which hath promysed me upon any settled course to come here [and] one winter here ... [and] with whom, if it please your worship to acquaint yourself, I presume he will, upon your worships letter, either come over to you or else be ready to do any Furtherance to the businesses and be employed therein. He s a man well known. Master Hannam knowes him for honesty and discretion. I know he hath both [for] I have good experience of it and have had much adoe to persuade him to it. And we must have one or other to goe between that must be honest and careful [and], yf you knew Master Whitt, you would like well to employ him.

If it please you thus to proceed, I pray you be doing betimes. I shall have halfe a score of Fishermen come unto me and I hope we shall make some benyfit yf it please god to send us health. Now, for our provision I pray employe some carefull man that may not wrong you nor us. I hold it a good course to send one of your servants, [such] as Master Cranwell, if you can get [him] to Join with John Whitt and whatsoever shall be delivered to John Whitts account I will be accountable by the grace of god.

The particulars of provisions that I would haue sent followeth in this enclosed and I take it these provisions will amount to a matter of £140 which will furnish us well. For my own part, I have in victual, salt, bedding and the like, £90 & might have got £40 this summer had not Master Hannam shipped my men whom I trusted to him. But I leave it to your good consideration but I pray send not Master Hannan where I shall haue to go. I would you would get Master Cranwell or some one of your acquaintance that you may send over if you have any jealousy of me. I desire nothing but what I will be accountable for and I would willingly giue you content & bear a good condition toward god so shall he bless us.

If you send over provisions in the first sack to Cobbys Cove I haue victual enough till then & then, god willing, we will presently to the no[rth]ward, albeit myselfe, the mason [and] carpenter & so much for this present. I thought good to be troublesome to you but I hope you will not forget me to seal me a Commission for my further Creditt that we be not trod on by other Fishermen.

For this time I humbly take my leave [with] my prayers for your health & content your Worship to gods protection. I pray remember my humble services to my lady.

Resting your worships att Command

Thomas Rowley

(Middleton Manuscript, Mi x 1/60, 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 original 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.