Your browser does not support script
Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation |Home|Community Connections|Search|About Us|Visitor Information|Artifacts & Features|Whats Happening

> People & Terms
> Timeline
> Journal Entries & Letters

> New Discoveries
> Other Places
> Panoramas

Henry Crout to Sir Percival Willoughby, April 10, 1613.

John Guy left Cupers Cove to return to Bristol on April 10, 1613. He sailed aboard the vessel Hope captained by a Master Bowling and this letter probably traveled with him. In it Henry Crout describes, among other things, the long hard winter of 1613 and his encounters with the pirates at Ferryland. He also provides another description of the voyage into Trinity Bay and the meeting with the Beothuk in Bull Arm.

in Cupers Cove the 10th of april 1613

Right Worshippful,

My duty always remembered. It may please you to vnderstand that yours of the 24th of November I have received by Master Bollinge [on] the 29th of March by whom I [also] Received some apparel for master Thomas and some other small things as per this enclosed note shall appear. For I received not any letter for the receipt of it. Understanding ther was a young man [who] came for [an] apprentice and at Barnstaple he quit them and carried certaine letters with him, therefore I fear me ther wilbe something wanting. For the things were taken out of the hamper by master bollinge and put into his Chest because they were all wet at sea. The Barke hauing verie Fowl weather and [being] in some danger, as he said, it was put into Barnstaple to new fit his ship which cost him much money.

... Master governor [John Guy] told me he had received a kind letter from you. I do insure you he doth respect Master Thomas verie much and I make no doubt, god sending him well home, you shall see a great alteration in him. I do not know your mind [as to] how long you do determine that he should stay [in Newfoundland] but if he stay vntill the next year he will wantt more provision of clothes and linen & we were driven verie near now [before] Easter both for clothes and linen.

Before this [supply ship] came he had but one suit which [he] was forced to use every day. ... bands he wants very much. He brought but 3 out of England and one old one. I do write in regard [that] I should be sorowe to see him want for such things knowing some here will take notice of it thinking he is not respected .... . And, if it be your pleasure he shall stay, some butter and cheese may do him great pleasure the next winter keeping it to himself. The pot of Butter we brought the last year hath stood vs in great stead.

This winter hath bin verie hard. Ther hath died about 70 of our goates and many of our Pigges and all our cattle except one so far as we know [unless] ther be any living in the woods. Indeed, it was a great oversight in sending over so many [animals] before such tyme as ther might haue bin better provision made for them [and] to procure first to see wher corne will grow whereby they may ...[find] some strawe. For they will look for housing in the winter time as I know the beasts in other cold countries [do].

But there is no doubt by god's help, [the] ground being once rid [of stones], that in many places it will prove very well I judge - especially for rye. This summer we shall see the trial of wheat and rye for, in our absence acoasting, ther was both sown and it doth begine to appear vp verie fine. And I do insure you allso any kind of rootes will prove exceeding well as this year we have verie good cabbage and turnips grown.

... for the turnips they are exceeding good for the scurvy [for], by trial, it hath recovered many of our sicke men. But we had eight of [the] companie died before any man had the experience of it which roots [are] to be had all the winter. And we had at one tyme some 6 weeks s[ince] more than halfe of our companie verie sicke and lame [with this] disease. [But by] raising ther [turnip] roots [and] eating them raw, in very short tyme it did help them all. So they are excellent for that purpose and will serve for meat also. They do eat very delicate [when] they do [be cooked].

I hope at master governor['s] returne from England to bring you a full resolution of all businesses and the estate of the country for so far as we have coasted. ... This Springe the governor was determined we should coast with our pennice [the Indeavour] all round about the land but his going home hath disappointed all that business [unless] it be after his retorne which will be something late. Therefore, you may not looke as yet to haue a Full resolution and knowledgement of the country except we might have a boat to coast withal [and], as yet, since our coming [here, we] could procure none. But now I hope to performe both your and master Slany['s] desire this summer. Therefore, ther is no tyme neglected by me in [the] performance of that business.

And to do anything by land I could not, wanting verie much a compass dial to go through the woods. I wrote vnto your worship for one or 2 of them. They are the necessary things we want both for the land and for a boat.

... Sir, I am verie sorry that your selfe and others should haue that concept of me neglecting the tyme [by] not ... viewing your lot. The lord knowth my willing mynd if I might haue had wherewithal to perform it rather than to have stayed in Renoose ... making of the fish and spoiling our cloths. But I knowe ther were some I think [that] scorned to turn a fish [who] had good wages of the company. And by ones negligence, I knowe ther is many things lost of the company's. But I vnderstand it is in vain to speak of the party because he is much backed by good friends. Therefore, let everyone bear his burden. For I perceive I am hardly spoken of because I found fault withal. For it did grieve me to see how things were bezzelled away at Renoose even before my coming away [to Cupers Cove] in master Bollinge['s ship].

Sir, I am not a little sorry that you and others haue bin informed of the great familiarity that I should haue with the pirates and in carrying them many things. I was ther but 2 tymes at Ferriland. [The first time] was business touching our ship which they had taken away - [it being] one of our shallops. And also to entreat with others For a poore Frenchman which they had taken from Renoose [that was] ready to depart laden with fish and train [oil]. And they carried ...[his ship] to Ferriland amongst the rest of ther consarts. So, coming ther, we found aboard Easton['s ship] diverse masters of the Fishing Ships. ... some of them I did know verie well, [they] being of Plymouth and Dartmouth, [and] they being well acquainted with him.

I entreated them verie earnestly to entreat Captaine Easton for this Frenchman being [as], myself, I did not know him. So, by great entreaty, he promised for ther sakes [that the Frenchman] should haue his ship againe and all except ten thousand Fishe for his provision. Whereof the Frenchman was verie glad. ... he promised [that] we should also haue our shallop againe. But I learn[ed] after we were gone [that he] never regarded much his promise. For he and his companie riffled the poor man of all and so gave him his ship againe but no vittles nor sails to carry him home. But [he] was forced, and his company, to haue help of some english men, both for vittles and sails to carry him home.

Easton, understanding that ther were some roasting pigs at Renoose, we sent him 2 of 4 in regard [that] he should not doe any other mischief as he did vnto all other men for vittles and munitions. Besides, we procured a note of his hand whereby any of his ships should not molest us if we should haue met with them going to cupers cove.

...At our coming there [to Cupers Cove] we advertized ... how all [this] was passe[d] vnto our master governor and of the 2 pigs which he [Easton] had a desire unto. [This] Master governor liked well of for fear of other mischiefs [Easton] might do vs. For, as I did learn, he had a mynd unto some of our goats, cows and great pigs which made us to hasten them away [from Renews to Cupers Cove] the sooner in the barke.

The second time I went there [Ferryland], I was with Master Bollinge by his entreaty and Master Roberts only to see if we could procure ... 3 men which [had] run away from Master Bollinge with one of our boats. But, coming at Ferriland, Easton being not ther, [we] could not get our men again. And so [we returned] again, as Master Bollinge can inform you and Master Roberts also. But I learn they are not to be believed ... [by] some men. But, if need be, for to justify myself, at the tyme I was ther, ther was some 6 or 8 masters, men of worth and sufficiency. I prayed them to entreat for me being they had some acquaintance with ... [Easton] and myself [I had] not.

Not none of his [Easton's] companie but 2, which I saw at Cupers Cove before such tyme as I coasted for the bear, before that tyme I had never seen them. So this is the effect and truth of the Familiarity I had with them and also of the things which I should carry them to which I leave vnto your worship to consider... . So, they made me drink with them and that was all the kindness I Received from them nor did [I] expect any other at ther hands.

Sir, if it may so please you to give Credit vnto my writing, I do promise you of my Faith and salvation [that] this is all the familiarities which I had with them. For if it had not bin for entreaties of others and for the good [of] something [that] concern ourselves, I ...[would have] never come near them.

I do partly gather by whom these informations haue bin given of me [and] who hath also wronged me in saying, as I learn, that I should be one that should go about to betray him vnto the pirates. The lord doth know I had never such [a] thought in my mind. Now, I call to mynd Master Spencer was ther in [Easton's] Companie when I was who can Justify the truth. Saying so well, he might haue said so much of him but, only fearing his brother's displeasure again, that my being here was to little purpose or small good vnto the companie. For to answer that, I refer myself vnto the governor whom I hope you shall converse withal before his returne from England.

In the mean time [I am] not a little grieved in mynd of ther reports without desert or deserving. Whereas my hart and mynd was bent vnto this country and also [to] encouraging others for dwelling here [the] which they can no way dislike of it. But now ... these reports doth something dismay me of hopes to be had in [this] country being [as I am] so soon crossed and wronged. The [which] I leave to the tryer of the truth not knowing as yet [how] to amend myself.

For my kinsman, I am very sorry that ther is also [a] disliking of him. But I am sure, so long as he was able to stand or go, he wrought very hard as Bartholomew [Pearson] can inform you. But there is spleen both against him and me, I now perceive, by that fellow. I am sorry, as it falleth out, that ever I made your worship acquainted with him or the companie either. Ther hath not bin contentment given by means of ther reports.

I have received [an] order from master Treasurer [John Slany] for a boat and men for to assist me in surveying of the country and your 2 lots [the] which last year could not be performed by no means.

The 7th of October last we departed from Cupers Cove with our penice [the Indeavour] to go acoasting and that day at night [we] put into a harbour called harve de grace. [We stayed] ther some 3 days to unload some salt and bring the French ship ashore which was taken by Captain Easton. [There] being some 15 tons of salt in her but this winter [it was] all consumed with the water.

The 17th [of] October we ankered in Green Bay [Bay de Verde] which is part of your lot of land. [In] the morning we were put into the sea. The 19th we ankered at Saint Cattlins Island [off Catalina on] the north side of Trinity [Bay]. The 22th [we arrived] in Mount Eagle Bay [Hopeall] which was an exceeding good place. In some places [there was] very good earth and excellent fine cherry trees.

October 24th, we ankered in Savage Bay [which is] so called because ther we had the first sight of them [i.e. the Beothuk]. [Savage Bay] is not above 2 days Iourney by land from Cupers Cove. We had sight of them in a Fresh lake 2 myles from the water side. But at night they go from the firm land and dwell in a little island in the midst of the lake.

The governor went and some of the company thinking to have found them in ther houses at night but they were gone vnto the island. But [he] found ashore, in ther houses, fair and diverse furs. But the governor charge[d] that no man should not touch any thing. But [they] found over ther fire a little brazen kettle in which our governor left some biscuit, points, and beads. [They found] some 12 deer [caribou] feet which they had newly killed. Ther houses [were] also covered with deer skins. And so [they] left them without doing any other thing vnto them. In the night was seen a Canoe go[ing] from the land vnto the island with 2 men in her.

The 30th [of October] we departed from this place coasting vnto the north side of Trinity [Bay]. In one place William Hatten had spied directly, as he said, some Iron stone [iron ore] near the seaside but could not go ashore [because] the sea went so lofty. ... our governor did determine to returne back again, but afterwards [we] could not, being the winter did ensue so Fast vpon us. But the governor did mynd to return this spring into Trinity [Bay] again to have viewed every crooke and thinking also to haue some parley again with the savages and, afterwards, to have gone all about to the northwards and also Round about all the land but his going into England hath disappointed all.

4th November, we ankered in Truce Sound [Bull Arm], which went very far in, thinking sure it [would have] gone through into Plasaunce Bay [but it] wanted but 2 myles by land from one side vnto the other. In this sound we Found a very fine Canoe of the savages, contrived in a most skillful manner which I thinke the governor doth mynd to send [to] England.

This day [November 4], after dinner, myself and others went into the country. [Upon] coming ashore we found a great path made by the savages which ... we followed [and] which brought vs vnto a Fair river [the Come-By-Chance River] and much marshy ground being but 2 myles from the place where our penice was [anchored]. [In this] river [there] showeth to be great store of salmon by reason [that] the sea cometh vp vnto it [out] of Pleasaunce Bay. Near by that river, we found some of the savages houses and ther they had left in a basket many fishing hooks and a brassen kettle and diverse other trifling things. For they had made a great pathway [by] which they be accustomed to carry ther canoes that way from one side vnto the other, for they have cut the way and great trees apurpose for to pass.

The next day, after dinner, we had sight of a fire made by the savages which was some 2 myles from vs by the waterside. So soon as we espied them ...[we] made towards them both with [our] penice and boat. [There] being of them 2 canoes and 8 of them, 4 in eache boat. But, as we did draw near them, ... [those] being ashore made shows and signs with a flagg of truce pointing vnto vs that we should come vnto them [and] crying with great voices vnto vs. So we put out our Flagg of truce to answer thers which did give them great content.

So, the governor, sending the boat ashore [and] the boat drawing near the shore, they began to be something fearful and got again into ther boats and were rowing away again in [a] great pace vntil we made signs vnto them. Then, they returned again with ther canoes and put one man ashore with a wolfe skin in his hand instead of a flag of truce. So, then the governor sent one ashore [and] after they sent another ashore [and] so did the governor also.

And so they made much sport together by the fire, making signs and tokens one to the other. So, afterwards, the governor went ashore and some three more carrying with him some biscuit, butter and beer. But they liked not very well our beer - they did drink very little of it - but the aquavitae did like them well.

They did give us bracelets to hang about our necks and vnto the governor some two arrows. Ther bracelets were of little shells but they made accompt [i.e. acted as if] it had bin a great present which they gave vs. The governor gave them a verie good shirt and they made great signs for to haue our flag of truce which our governor bestowed on them, whereat they did much rejoice. Also he gaue them other small trifles [such] as raisons and points. They gave us, each of us, some of ther pemmican which had bin dried [and] which did ... eat [very] well.

Before such tyme as we came ashore, they had h[anged] vp diverse sorts of furs upon poles by the waterside. We made accompt [that] it had bin to dry them [the furs] but [we] vnderstand since [that] they hanged them vp as in a faire, according vnto ther custom, for to sell them.

So, night drawing near, they were desirious to depart from vs and made shows also [that] we should [do the same]. So, presently, as they departed, we went aboard [our boat and] they went away and left all ther skins behind.

So, the governor [was] thinking [that] they would haue returned againe the next day but they came not. That whilst, the day after, the governor with his company began to build a house vpon an island being it is in the Right Way as they do trade to and fro [from Placentia Bay]. But the second day [there] came such a frost which did cream all the bottom of the sound over which urged our governor to hast away for fear we should have bin Frozen in.

Coming forth [out of] the sound by the place wher we had parley with them, the governor, seeing the skins still hanging ther vpon the poles, went ashore with the boat and ther, seeing all the skins remayning, lefte a hatchet, a knife, scissors and some other things and took in the stead of that some 2 beavers skins, a sable, and a bird skin and so left all the rest standing vpon the poles.

If it had not bin for fear to haue bin kept in with the Ice, within 2 or 3 days, without doubt, we [would have] come to have spoken with them again. So far as we could perceive, [they] were the Same people which were in the lake [at] which the governor left in ther brassen kettle bread and points and amber beads. For we found the same boat sail which covered ther house [in the place] wher we had parley with them. They finding at first to be so kindly dealt withal [it] made them to follow vs along the coast. We wanted small things to truck with them so [we left] all ther skins that were resting vpon the poles by the beach.

They are people very personable but only they do red all ther faces with ochre and all ther skins and they seemed to be very fat. All [were] going bare footed except one [of them] which had shoes of seal skin and had mittens vpon his hand. And, in saluting, [he] would pull them off and kiss the top of his Finger. All [were] clothed with good furs down to the legs [and] with a beaver skin about ther necks but [they] go also bare legged. They had more store of furs in ther boats which they did not land. The governor hath written the description of them in every manner which you shall see at large.

With frequenting ther company but a little tyme, ther wilbe much good done by them. We did think to haue visited them this winter by land but, being vpon the way one day's Iourney [and] finding the snow so deep and [it] still snowing, [those that went] returned again. With much bad weather [we] could not travel through the woods but we made full accompt to have visited them this summer but the master governor going home will now hinder it. I know of many small things which wilbe good to truck with them hereafter this. From some of your lot, with a shallop, a man may row vnto them in a day as hereafter you shall be further informed.

Coming back out of Trinity Bay [on] the 10th [of] November, at night, we put into Harts Content. Making accompt to [have] gone the next day at the top of the hills to haue taken [a] view of the country but the snow [was] falling in such abundance that we could not stir anywhere but [could] only see the harbour - an excellent place for fishing for some 8 ships.

The 13th [of November] we came by the point of green [bay], wher is also part of your lot, which sometimes, as I learn, the savages do come ther to hunt for deer. As we passed along vnder the Land with our penice even at the point, we [did] see some [document damaged] deer or more marching along one after another vpon the top of the hill.

That night we ankored ther [at Bay de Verde] in a little cove thinking certainly the next day to have gone ashore a hunting for some deer and to see the country being [that] it is hard by Backaloo. But our boat came not to vs that night but put in at Perlican and left ther our canoe. So, by no means could we get ashore.

[On the] 14th we were put from thence by force of fowl weather and left one of our ankers behind us. Even as we were putting into the sea, our boat [the shallop] was come about the point of the land. ... they were willed to seeke for our anker but could not find it. So they, going towards the shore [and] the sea being so lofty, filled their boat and drived ashore against the rocks. They [were] in great danger in saving ther lives but [they] lost all ther cloths in a very cold tyme and snowy weather [there being] some five of them.

Bartholomew [Pearson] was one of them. [He] lost an Irish gown and other things. ... afterwards, I furnished him with an old doublet and a pair of breeches [and] stockings [I] being but bare myself. For this Countrie doth vse [up] very much hose and shoes. Here is not provision left scarce of the company's to serve the prentices. Therefore ther is nothing to be had nowe for Master Thomas nor me.

Sir, after this mischance that they had cast away the boat, they were put in great extremity for vittles, having not anything to strike fire withal. William Hatten was also with them. They traveled some 9 or ten days up and down the woods and open grounds and could not find ther way. ... before they got home [they] were like to be starved with hunger.

All this time they were traveling vpon your lot of land vntil they came vnto Carbonnier. But, as Bartholomew showth me, all these parts, as they passed too and fro, was verie good open ground and verie good long grass in yt between that and Perlican. For some 4 days they traversed betwine Green Bay and Perlican, for they had scarce any sight of the sun nor any [compass] dial. So, in the end, ther own reason made them keep [to] the sea side.

At Green Bay they had sight of 4 or 5 companies of deer [caribou], 4, 5 & 6 in a companie, which came verie near vnto them. They wanted but a piece [and] they [would have] killed diverse. Also, they had sight of great [many] partridge which was very strange. [There were] above 100 in a companie. Here [they] are [in] great abundance all over in this country. The deer would follow after them and gaze at them. At Green Bay [there] is very great store of deer, as I have heard it by diverse which have killed some ther.

Also, as they came alonge the coast, they came wher [there] were exceeding good and fair birch trees and verie good earth and rivers in many places. Which, if god lend me life, I wilbe resolved [of] wholly this summer. But about Green Bay [there is] much open ground and ther the deer doth haunt. I do mynd to see it by land also if I could procure a dial.

Ther is also, in that quarter, good store of beaver, otter and beavers nests and many foxes which, partly, now we know how to take them. Our men killed 3 fair beavers whilst we were acoasting in a fresh water lake [by] watching when they go into ther nest. And so [they] let out the water and afterward killed them with staves and dogs. But sure, the savages do shot them with arrows.

Whereas you write to endeavor ourselves for the kill[ing] of these beasts in the winter and summer: there might be good store killed yf one would give attendance unto it and again, when the beasts are killed by any of vs, that we might have the furs for your use. But we think, in spending your shot and powder, it is reason[able that] you should have the skins. ... I do see a man shall never haue the benefit of that except [he] do plant vpon his owne lot which then will put any in heart to kill some.

As, for example, Bartholomew, watching this winter some 3 nights for foxes, killed one verie fair gray fox [and], the third night, a verie fair black fox - all black - which the governor commanded to be brought to the steward room. We kept them 2 or 3 days without any demanding [them], thinking surely to have sent them unto your worship [for] we learn a black fox is worth very much money, 20li or more, which you may be best informed of in England. I know not weather the governor do mynd to deliver them to you or else doth mind to put them to the Company's vse. He doth carry all the skins home nowe with him.

But, I prey, let vs be resolved from you whether the skins we kill shalbe for your use or the company's. For it doth take away the courage of many, and [they] do not care whether they kill any or not, for they cannot have the benefit of them for ther friends. Master Thomas killed one also when we were coasting. [The] which it hath brought Bartholomew out of heart ever since, not desiring to stay much longer here except therbe [a] plantation vpon yor own Lot. He hath demanded leave of the governor at the Latter end of the year.

I think the sending of malt and meal wilbe more waste in yt then in sending of biscuit and beere from Bristow. For as yet here are not rooms nor places fitted for it. And sure, for the health of men, the provision from Bristow is excellent good.

Ther is this [year] 8 of our people dead in the scurvy & some 22 more which were sicke but, god be thanked, all were again recovered, [of] which now some do go home with the governor. By great chance ther was one first, of our Companie, [who] did vse turnip roots which we had in the ground all this winter vnder the snow. [The] which root hath since, by Trial, sufficient recovered them all to ther health but the other 8 were dead before we had trail of it in eating of them raw. They were so crippled most of them [were] not able [to] stir out of ther beds. [The turnips] have a far sweeter taste than the English turnip.

Sir, I pray excuse me because it is in some hast [that I write], desiring your worship not to think so hardly of me, contrary vnto my good meaning, as the Lord doth know, that I should incur displeasure in seeking and preserving of these things we had - as you and Master Slany shalbe informed more of the truth hereafter. In the mean tyme, I beseech your worship, conceive but well of me as truth shall try all.

So, I end with my daily prayers unto the almightie for you and my lady's long life and prosper[ous] health. [As] for your son, ther is no fear but you shall receive great Comfort by him. But ther must be things sent [including] some aquavitae. [The] aquavitae that we had last year stood vs in great stead.

Your Worships to Command,

Henry Crout

(Middleton Manuscript, Mi x 1/ 23, 59, University of Nottingham)


This transcription is based on a transcription by Gillian T. Cell published in her book Newfoundland Discovered: English Attempts at Colonization, 1610-1630 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1982 pp. 79-89) and my own reading of a microfilm copy of the original document. 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.