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

A letter from Henry Crout to Sir Percival Willoughby written during the summer of 1613.

In this letter Crout describes a voyage he undertook in the summer of 1613 in an attempt to reestablish contact with the Beothuk the colonists had met in Trinity Bay the previous fall. On July 1st the colonists entered a sound at the bottom of Trinity Bay (probably Chapel Arm) where William Hatten believed he had seen iron ore on the previous voyage. On closer examination they realized that it was not iron ore and on the morning of July 2nd they sailed east towards Savage Bay (Dildo Arm) in search of the Beothuk.

Right worshippfull,

It may please you to vnderstand that yours [of] the 15 [and] 12 of May I have Received by Iohn combers who by great chaunce we did meett [as we were] comying Forth [out] of triniitie bay [and he was] comying into the old Perllican in a shipp of London. Otherwise I do not knowe how he would haue gotten vnto cupers cove vntill the end of the Fishinge voyage.

We were agayne at the very bottome of trynitie bay with our shallop, [there] being 5 of us, only to see whether they wear still inhabiting in the fresshe watter lake which we did see the last year. But before we went vnto that lake, we went into another sound wher [William] Hatten did imagine the last winter of [seeing] the Irone stone. But comying hither ashoore vnto the place and taking view of it, he sayeth yt is none. But [he] sayeth by any man['s] Iudgment that doth see it would thinke it to \be/ verie Irone stone. At Belle Isle the like is [that] no man but would think yt wear metal. His skill I do not knowe [but] some trial [samples] he hath taken with him.

[On the] iith July we departed this sound and wentt towards Savage Bay. In the morninge ..., passing by a little pleasant Iland at the rising of the sunne, we first espied a canno hard vpon the rocks and presently we espied a savages t[ilt] which made us to put ashoore at the Iland. Comyinge ashore we perceaved the savages were newly gone from ther house into the woods, For we found the stones to be w[arm] in the mydest of ther house which they had made ther fire vpon.

Our men wear verie Impertinent to haue stayed 2 or 3 days watch the woods only for to have tak[en] them. Whereat I would not give any Consent. And, besides, they would haue taken away ther canno which I would not suffer neither. Which made our men to storme much at it.

In the end, we wentt into the house which was covered with some skynnes and they lay one [skin] with Fine long greene grass for ther pillow and ther heads and some under them. But \by/ all Imagination ther could not be but a man, his wyfe and child [in the house] as it may appear by shoes and other things which we brought with vs. So, having fully perused ther house and sundry roast meatts vpon ther wooden spits, we lefte in ther house both biscuit and cheese, one lynnen Cape, and one napkin. And so [we] departed without meddling with anything.

From thence departing, [we] went vnto the bottom of mount eagle bay but those which we [did] see last wintter wear gone all abroad acoasting all the summer for egges and birds against the wyntter which in one Island to the northwards they may fill boats with penguins [most likely the great auk] driving them into ther boats from the shore for they are not able to fly. Those egges and birds they dry for ther wintter. day [we] returned ... and in the morning came vnto the Iland wher we found the savages house the daie before but, at our return, they and ther canno and provisions were gone except [for] some spits of their roast meat they left behind them which I do Thinke they lefte for vs. So, from thence Rowinge homewards, we were not scarce one league [out when] they made vs a signe from the mayne with a Fire for to come vnto them. ...[so] presently we returned thinkinge to haue spoken with them. But against our cominge vnto the place, they hanged out such small store of skines as they had vpon poles on a beache as it were in a market place. We made all the means we could with a flag of truce and signs to come and speak but they were fearful [there] being so few [of them]. We [did] see them running to and fro in the woods but [they] would not come near us. So, seeing they would not, those few skynnes as they had we trucked & left vpon every pole instead of each skynne knives, aquavit, lynnen and other things which we esteemed twise to the value of them only to give them Content at the first.

I do insure you in [a] very short tyme they [the Beothuk] will be brought to be verie famyller as they are with the frenchmen in canada which do [go in] company dayly togeather and truck for very Rich skynnes which the savages do trade from hand to hand amongst themselves and bring to the french. ...[and] I do presume to do the like with those people in a shorte time. But if they should be touched or taken parforce, there wilbe never no hope of any good to be done by them. For they are bentt to revenge if they be any way wronged [and] they may here after do vs mischief or else they will do it vnto some fisherman.

I do write this because I do leave some in this place which haue a intent to take some of them perforce which I have told them already my pinion. ...[For] if they do, I will insure you, it may be a great loss in tyme vnto the Company. I knowe wher [there] is one to be procured which can speake ther language very well [and] which hath bin five years amongst them. And, in continuance of tyme, we shall procure some of them ... leaving some of us in [their] place as the french do in canada. At my return [to England] I shall inform your worship of all businesses more at large. 

I ame very sorry that Iohn Combers and myself can by no means find out any eyries or hawkes this year [for] which we have laide hard [in] wait in all places wher they haue bin accustomed to breed heretofore but [have found] no news of any this year. We do imagine it is the long and cold spring this year [which] hath bin the occasion of it blowing so cold against the high cliffs, for we haue made search throughout. And no fisherman also haue not had the sight of any this year.

Me thinks the company maketh too few fishing voyages which, if it were well considered and good advise taken, they might [defray] much of the charge towards the colony vntill such time as the land and ground is manured. They have heretofore sent fishermen which haue had no great e[x]perience which to my knowledge hath been a great loss unto the company. But those who have fished this year I hope will make the company [a] Reasonable profitt. Yet, good courses being taken, ther might be greatter good done.

For corne I do insure you, yf it wear sown in tyme, yt would prove exceeding good. But that [which] we sowed the last wintter cometh Forth too late and wilbe scarcely Ripe tyme enough [however] so well eared and querned as possible any corne may be. Maybe this is at [this] Instant the best tyme for putting of it into the ground where it maybe vp Free before the Cold weather do take it. For in the wintter the snowe doth keep it warme and doth nourish it. All kinds of herbs and Roots else doth prove exceeding well. 

I have sent by this shipp vnto master Slany a barrel of mackerel in pickle which I haue entreated him to deliver [on to] you the one half. Also, I haue sent you in this ship a little barrel of salmon and some mackerel to fill it up which is marked in this mark -  PW - in one of the heads. ... I will write Master Nunne for the receipt of it doubting that your worship is in the country.

I hope to bring some few herring and some lobsters by way of Bristol with me. I hope [that] at our Comying at Bristol we shall receive some letter or order ther from you because we have noe acquaintance ther and, for my owne part, I cannot show myself before any man for want of apparel. For, I do insure you, here [there] is no provision not for me nor any others scarce at all.

Here will remain some 30 in all this wintter. Bartholomew [Pearson, William] Hatton and [Robert] Rossell cometh with me [along with] Master Thomas [Willoughby], and Iohn Combers. I hope we shall be in England or London so soone as this ship. Hoping in god we shall be Ready within this 6 days, so I end with my daily prayers vnto the almightie for your prosperous success in all your actions and affaires.

Your worships to command,

Henry Croutt

To the right worshippfull Sir Percivall Willoughby knight these be delivered in London at Carlisle House in Lambeth Marsh. From H. Croutte in newfoundland.

(Middleton Manuscript Mi x 1/24, University of Nottingham)


This transcription is based on transcriptions by Robert Barakat and Gillian Cell and on my own reading and interpretation of a microfilm copy of the original document. Both Barakat's transcription and the microfilm copy are housed at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador. Gillian Cell's transcription is published in Ingeborg Marshall's A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen s University Press, 1996) pp 235-237. 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.