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Nicholas Guy to Sir Percival Willoughby from Carbonear, September 1st, 1631.

Nicholas Guy had been living at Cupers Cove (Cupids) in Newfoundland since at least 1612 and on March 27, 1613, his wife gave birth to the first English child in Canada. Guy seems to have moved to the Bristol's Hope plantation in Harbour Grace when it was established and by 1631 he had moved to Carbonear and was living on Sir Percival Willoughby's land there. In this letter Guy requests that Willoughby issue him a commission "Under yor hand & Seale" so that he can attract more settlers, "to come & plant upon you Lands" . The 'master Crooke' mentioned in the letter is probably Henry Crout.

The Guy family remained the predominant planter family in Carbonear throughout the seventeenth century. The 1677 census lists both Jonathan Guy (probably Nicholas's son) and Nicholas Guy (likely Jonathan's son) living there with their families. Jonathan owned, among other things, four dwelling houses, two boats and a vegetable garden and kept seven head of cattle, eleven sheep and 3 hogs. Nicholas had one dwelling house and two boats and kept six head of cattle and 4 hogs.

In Carbonnere the first of September i63i

Right Worshipfull,

Sir, my dutie with my seruice ever vnto you Remembered. Your continued health with all happiness & good Success with god continue.

These are to acquaint you that yor letter I haue received the which did greatlie rejoice me to be so happy as to receive two lines from you. For, [of] all yor former letters that you writt that you haue formerlie written, ther was never any that came to my hand. Notwithstanding, I haue written you Sundry letters which, I perceive, never came to yor hand. ... If they had come safe it might haue bin beneficial both to you & myself.

... as Concerninge that you writt to know what provision and men are best fittinge for our use, if you please to Send ouer two men to paye £4 the first yeare & £5 for the Second, and soe Increasinge it as they may deserve it, 2 men will be sufficient. And for Victuals, as [is shown] in the foot of my letter wilbe but enough for them.

For this yeare I haue made by my Industrie £100 clear In my purse & therefor, if you please to  [send] ... £100 or £50 in [the] plant[ation] ship, I do hope that I should doe both you & myselfe much good & will order & see yor businesses not as master Crooke did. I hope I shall giue you good Content if you please to try but one year or two.

Nowe, I Shall entreat you to Advise me whether both parts of this harbor [of Carbonear] be of yor Lotte. For tho[se] of Harbour de Grace doe Challenge it to belonge to ther parte &, if it do, [they] shall Desire yor Answere.

If you Adventure [your money] you shall haue noe neede to feare if it do come to my hand. For flesh I haue Enough & Sufficient of butter & Cheese which parte I Sell & parte I Spare to my Neighbours. I want nothinge but bread & that is for want of men to till yor Land. For yor Lott is as good as any in this Land, the which master Willis can acquaint you of the truth.

There be many hawkes in this Land [but] the Chiefest tyme to take them is our busiest tyme of fishinge. Therefore, if you please to send any men, you may send them by way of Bristol, if you can, in the plantation ship that doth usually come. For, if they be not here In Aprill or Maye, ther service can do me no pleasure. They must be at Bristol [by] the first of Marche. And, if you please to, send me two Iron Traps which will do me much pleasure.

Now, if yor Worship please to guide me Under yor hand & Seale, ther wilbe more which will Come & plant upon yor Lands and manure it for yor profit. For, if they Should plant & haue nothinge to show, they feare, when they haue taken pains, that they should be put from ther labours without any benefit.

So, hoping in god to profit you and yor proceedings, I shall always remaine & rest yor Servant & friend to Command,

Nicholas Guye

Ouer leafe for provision for men.

(Middleton Manuscript, Mi x 1/57, University of Nottingham)


This transcription is based on my reading of a microfilm copy of the original document. Microfilm copies of this letter and the rest of the Willoughby Papers 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.