A Frenchman in Virginia
Being the MEMOIRS of a HUGUENOT REFUGEE In 1686
Translated by A VIRGINIAN
Privately Printed 1923
COPYRIGHT 1924 BY FAIRFAX HARRISON
Introduction ... 5
I. The "Virginian Voyage" ... 9
II. The North River Neighbourhood in Gloucester ... 13
III. A Visit to Kiccotan ... 19
IV. A Walk through Warwick and York Counties ... 28
V. An Overseer's Wedding ... 32
VI. Life at Rosegill on the Rappahannock ... 36
VII. An Excursion up the Rappahannock ... 53
VIII. A Christmas Frolic at Bedford on the Potomac ... 66
IX. An Excursion into Maryland ... 70
X. Animadversions on Gloucester Hospitality to Strangers ... 75
XI. "The Present State of Virginia" in 1686 ... 85
Notes ... 127
Index ... 141
Page 4 [blank]
ONE of the rarest items of bibliographic Americana is a little book, of which the title page reads as follows:
Voyages | d'un | Francois | Exilé pour la | Religion | avec | Une Description | de la | Vergine & Marilan | dans | l'Amerique | A la Haye | Imprimé pour l'Autheur, 1687.
The only clew to the identity of the author is his own statement that he was born in Dauphiné "of the ancient and noble" Huguenot family of Durand. Bred for the army, in his youth he made several campaigns in the protestant cause, including one in 1655 when he led a
band of his neighbours to the aid of the Vaudois survivors of that "late massacre" on the Alpine valleys, which stirred Milton to noble imprecation upon "the bloody Piemontese, that rolled Mother with infant down the rocks."
Thereafter he married and retired to his estates, of which he had two, one in his native Dauphiné and the other in adjacent Provence. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes found him more convinced than ever in his ardour for "the Religion," but no hero of romance. He was now a childless widower of middle age, comfortable embonpoint, and robust health; thrifty withal in the tradition of his race. Physically, his countryman Tartarin of Tarascon might have been his lineal descendant.
Within a few days after the fatal October 18, 1685, a dragonnade
scattered Durand's kinsmen and plundered his property with theirs, but our author himself escaped arrest by the accident of being at the moment on his Provençal lands. Collecting all his available money, he fled to Marseilles. While there he saw some of his unfortunate neighbours, who had refused to recant, lead to the galleys, shaven and manacled. Depressed by the spectacle, he made his way into Italy. At Leghorn he took ship and, after a hair breath 'scape from Algerine pirates, told with the convincing simplicity of detail of a narrative by Defoe, duly reached London in the summer of 1686. There he refreshed his soul in free communion with his co-religionists at the French Temple and then looked around for a future occupation. He soon found that the English climate was too damp for him and so began to remember the
alluring broadsides which he had read at home, depicting, on behalf of the Proprietors, the joys and opportunities of residence in Carolina. He determined to emigrate to America.
A Frenchman in Virginia
I. "The Virginian Voyage"
BUYING a modest planter's outfit, Durand took passage on a London ship bound for Charles Town. Under a bad mannered and unskillful master the ship's company included, with a number of men and women drafted from the London slums and going out as servants, several English merchants. Among the latter was a certain "Mr. Isny," as Durand understood him to call himself:(1) a man of 32 or 33 years of age, well set up in body, of a lively wit, and speaking excellent French. He told me that he was a factor for several rich London merchants who had sent him to Carolina with a stock of goods to establish commercial relations with the planters.
He was a great comfort to me not only because he spoke French but because I found him the most honest and agreeable man I had ever met.
The voyage was protracted by bad weather. At the end of eighteen weeks, when, according to the ship's master, they should have been within 24 leagues of Charles Town, they spoke a ship from Barbadoes, with slaves and sugar consigned to Maryland and intending to load tobacco. From this ship they learned that they were still 200 leagues from Charles Town, and, what was more disturbing, that the earthly paradise to which they were bound had been abandoned.
The Captain of the sugar ship said that two years previously he had landed in Carolina 32 passengers from Plymouth, all in vigorous
health, that eleven months later when he returned only two were left alive and that so far as he could learn there was not an acre of good land in the whole colony. One of the sailors added that he had been there last year in July and that then half the population of Charles Town had either left or was dead.
On the faith of this astonishing intelligence most of the merchants on Durand's ship decided to give over their original plans and transferred their goods to the Barbadoes ship in order to prosecute their venture in Maryland. Durand, believing that there were none of his countrymen either in that province or in Virginia, stood by: but to his great regret his friend, Mr. Isny, joined the departing merchants. And so the ships and the company separated. Within two days our author's ship ran into a storm, evidently
off Hatteras, and was disabled. After battling with contrary winds for another day, the Master gave up the fight and, turning about, made a run for the Virginia capes, planning to refit before he pursued his voyage. One day in October, 1686, the ship came safely to anchor in North River of Mobjack Bay. The neighbouring Gloucester men immediately swarmed on board. To his unexpected comfort Durand found among them a Frenchman who had recently served his indentures in the country and was now established as an overseer. With him he went ashore to see what he could while the ship was refitting, and so began the observations of Virginia, of which he left the following lively and entertaining record:(2)
II. The North River Neighbourhood in Gloucester
THE place where we landed was in the county of Gloucester, outwardly one of the most charming in all Virginia, but neither the most healthy nor socially the most agreeable; there are, indeed, no gentlemen living there. My compatriot came on board daily to take me off in his canoe; but after seven or eight days of that experience, being weary of it, I thought of renting lodgings on shore, where I might stay until the ship was refitted. They demanded sixteen shillings a month for a single mean room. Rather than pay at such an outrageous rate I resolved, after all, to
stay on board. Several days later, as the crew was stepping a new foremast, the ship began to take water so freely that two men had to stand by the pumps day and night, and it soon became expedient to beach the ship, on the flood tide, in order to careen her. The leak proved to be in the bottom and to reach it the order was given to discharge the cargo. Thus it befell that in order to care for my goods I had to rent lodgings after all on whatever terms I could. At last I made a bargain for ten shillings a month.
My Frenchman now began to take me visiting: it was the cider making season and the custom of the country requires one to drink freely; indeed, even when there were as many as twenty in company they all drank the health of a
stranger in turn and I had to return the compliment to each. They drink rum also, which is much stronger than brandy. Until they were drunk these people usually let me drink as I wished and thus I merely kissed the glass, but once they were fairly soaked they insisted on the rigor of the etiquette. This distressed me so that as soon as I secured my lodging I went abroad no more. Their cider made me sick. I think this was because it was new; but, what was worse, their water had the same effect, with the result that time dragged slowly with me. The crew worked on the ship diligently but the leak in the bottom proved serious; indeed, the damage was so great that every one was astonished that we had made land at all.
Four or five days after I was
established on shore I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing Mr. Isny again. He had landed in Gemrive County(3) with the other merchants, and there heard of our arrival at [New] Point Comfort in Gloucester (for such was the name of the place where I was). Being en route to see the Governor,(4) he now had the kindness to turn out of his way five or six leagues to call on me. He sought to dissuade me from my plan of going to Carolina; he told me things which I do not write down because I could not believe them possible. He did not invent these tales, however, for I had already heard as much from several people. Nevertheless my purpose was not shaken and, after spending the night with me, Mr. Isny went his way. We parted in the belief that
we should never meet again and embraced with great tenderness.
All these rumours about Carolina discouraged two more of the merchants. They had persisted so far because their passage was paid, but now they were so affected that they withdrew their goods from the ship and established themselves as best they could in Gloucester. Moreover, the Captain sold here all the women servants for tobacco, as well as such of his other vagabond passengers as had survived the diseases which usually ravage these wretches at sea. Nevertheless, the longing I had to be with French people held me firm in my determination to surmount every difficulty.
My lodging was near the shore, and I noticed that all the people of the neighbourhood looked sickly and
so judged that that situation was unhealthy. Moreover, these honest folk, who in their cups had forced me to drink by way of hospitality more of their cider than I could carry, changed their tune when sober. Once I sought to buy, for daily use, the liquor with which they had been so free, they charged me six pence a pot, although they charged one another but tuppence. The result was that although the water was unpalatable, I had to drink it. That would not have been an unbearable hardship if their water had been good, for it has befallen me before to have endured two months and a half with no other drink.
III. A Visit to Kiccotan
AT last, after the work on the ship had been in progress for five weeks, the master came to my lodgings and informed me that he would sail in two days. Accordingly, despite a peculiar weakness and langor which suddenly overcame me, I prepared to remove my goods on board; but that very night I lay sick of a fever, and had to report that I was in no state to put to sea. The Master accepted this decision cheerfully enough and duly weighed anchor at the time he had appointed. It was God's will that three days later the fever left me and I was as before, still feeble, but able to leave my bed and go abroad.
Two months later we learned that the ship was lost with all on board soon after passing out of the Virginia capes.
When Mr. Isny was with me, unconscious of what was to befall him at the Governor's house, he had proposed that I go to live with him, saying that he was comfortably established in the house of one Mr. Servent, an honest Frenchman of Rochelle, who had lived in the county of Gemrive for thirty-five years. As I pondered my destiny and reflected on our shipwreck within sight of the coast of Carolina, the reiterated warnings I had had against that country, Mr. Isny's persuasion to abandon my plans, and, finally, the fever God had sent upon me only so long as was necessary to prevent my sailing again, I was convinced that the hand of Providence
must have shown itself in these obstacles to my plans. For these considerations I no longer persisted in my determination to go to Carolina and I recognized that God called me elsewhere. But I was bored greatly where I was. I could talk to no one for lack of the language, but it would have done me little good if I had known English for in that neighbourhood there were none but peasants, and at that the greatest set of rascals in all Virginia.
I resolved then to go in search of Mr. Isny and, if I found a better place to stop, to send back for my goods. I learned that by land the distance was thirty leagues, but less by sea. I was unwilling to go to the expense of chartering a boat alone (they wanted three pistoles for the voyage) and was too weak to make the journey on foot. In this state of
mind I sauntered daily on the beach (which is, by the way, one of the most charming of promenades) and sometimes went some distance from my lodging. I took with me always my servant, a lad of twenty, who was beginning to pick up some English, and through him I made enquiry everywhere if any one was going to Gemrive by sea.
During these excursions I perceived that nature had been pleased to give to this country a feature at once beautiful and useful, namely, that the sea from time to time extends into the land by little arms of 150 or 200 feet in width. Along the coast some of these estuaries make inland as much as half a league. The planters live along these waters and call them "criks." On some there is only one plantation on each side; on
others, which go farther inland, five or six. The one called North River is an arm of the Bay:(5) it makes five leagues into Gloucester and is three in breadth. These waters serve all the inhabitants as a common highway, as do likewise the four great rivers. For this reason it happens that none of the plantation houses, even the most remote, is more than 100 or 150 feet from a "crik," and the people are thus enabled not only to pay their visits in their canoes but to do all their freight carrying by the same means. Their horses and other draft cattle are only a reserve for the occasion when it may please their fancy to travel by land, or when the water is rough. This means of transportation is used also by the little sloops employed by the ships which come to load tobacco.
After inquiry during several days
I finally found a man in my neighbourhood who was going to Gemrive, intending for a landing within two leagues of the house of Mr. Servent, where Mr. Isny was lodged. He proved to be so honest that he would take no money for carrying me with him. We arrived at our destination at daybreak. My friend sent at once for a Norman who had served his indentures and he in turn led me to Mr. Servent's house. I found this worthy(6) to be a well-to-do man who had some official charge in the country. I asked him if Mr. Isny did not live with him and he replied that as I knew the gentleman only as Mr. Isny he would tell me in a few words what had happened to him.
He then narrated that, after Mr. Isny had been in his house for five
weeks, they were one day out for a walk on the beach and by chance met a servant of the Governor, who was carrying an order to the warship which lay near by.(7) Mr. Isny was recognized by this servant. He tried his best to persuade the boy that he was a merchant and that he was no more than what he pretended to be. The boy gave the appearance of acquiescing, but did not fail, as soon as he had returned, to report to his master that he had seen Milor Parker in the county of Gemrive, where he gave himself out to be a merchant and went by the name of Mr. Isny.(8) To assure himself of the truth of this tale the Governor immediately sent for Mr. Isny as if he believed him to be a merchant, saying it was reported that he had landed his goods without
notice to the customs and that he demanded to know by what right a stranger thus contravened the laws of the country; that he must not fail to come in person, and at once, to answer these questions. Mr. Isny went accordingly and was recognized; the Governor made him promise to come to stop with him and gave him only the time to fetch his luggage. "He lent him horses and servants," continued Mr. Servent, "and wrote me a note, unknown to his guest, by which he ordered me to render to Mr. Isny all the deference which was due to Milor Parker, since he was, indeed, no other. My former lodger accordingly came to get his clothes and after I had assisted him to dispose, at a sacrifice, of such merchandise as he had left, he departed and went
to live in the county of Middlesex, more than forty leagues from here."
When Mr. Servent had finished his narration, I replied that surely I had found qualities and perfections in Mr. Isny which persuaded me that he was something else than he said he was, and that if during my voyage I had not been preoccupied by a great sorrow I would, no doubt, have suspected him, especially when he told me of his intimacy at Grenoble with one of the most charming young women of our province and of the best quality; but during the time I was with him I was so scatter-brained I had not reflected upon these circumstances until, being on shore, I had time to think them over.
IV. A Walk Through Warwick and York Counties
I STAYED with Mr. Servent only a day and a half because his wife was ill. I no longer thought of lodging with him after I heard of Mr. Isny's departure. So I sought out again the man who had brought me from Gloucester. I came upon him in company with seven or eight of his friends. He belonged in this county and had come from Gloucester to visit relations. They all told me that he must stay and frolic with them for seven or eight days but that after that he would take me back in his boat. This did not suit me at all. I enquired for the Norman who had guided me to Mr.
Servent's and from him learned the road which I must take to return by land; and when he had indicated the house where I could spend the night and had given me other directions, I left.
One travels very comfortably and cheap in this country. There are no inns, but everywhere I was well received. The country people cheerfully gave me to eat and drink of whatever they had, and if I slept in some house where they had horses they were lent to me to make half of my next day's journey. My meagre condition now served me in good stead, for certainly in France I could never have endured the exertion of walking two leagues and here, with reduced girth, I readily walked six or seven. It is true that one's way here leads always
through the open woods and fields, unhindered either by rock or mud. In this way I crossed three of the southern counties and, in doing so, observed that their lands were much less valuable than those of Gloucester because they were more sandy.
I passed York River(9) near a brick fort in which were 20 or 25 good cannon.(10) The Governor's house is very near by,(11) but is not now occupied, because last summer, during two months of the hot weather, the Governor lost his lady, two pages and five or six other servants,(12) and in consequence had removed his residence to the house of Mr. Wormeley in Middlesex County, sixteen or eighteen leagues from his official residence. There his family did very well, being high above the river.
Having crossed the river I found myself again in Gloucester County, eight leagues from [New] Point Comfort. There I rested as well as I could, being greatly fatigued at having walked these thirty leagues.
V. An Overseer's Wedding
SEVERAL days after I returned to my lodging my first French friend came to see me again. He was a good fellow, born at Abbeville in Picardy. Having finished his service, he had laid by some money by acting as an overseer, and now was about to be married, at a distance of two leagues from my lodging. He came to invite me to the wedding. He was of the Religion and was marrying a good girl of decent family. On the day of the wedding he sent two negroes, belonging to his father-in-law, to fetch me in a boat, and I went by water.
The [West] Indians make a great festival of a wedding. There
were at least 100 persons invited, several of them of good estate, and some ladies, well dressed and good to look upon. Although it was the month of November, the feast was spread under the trees. It was a delightful day. We were 80 at the first table and were served so abundantly of meat of all sorts that I am sure there was enough for a regiment of 500 men, provided only it was not recruited in Languedoc, Provence, or Dauphiné.
The [West] Indians eat almost no bread and seldom drink during a meal, but afterwards they do nothing else. During the rest of the day and all the night the company drank, smoked, sang and danced. They had no wine; their liquors were beer, cider and punch, the latter a mixture made in a great bowl.
They put in three portions of beer, three portions of brandy, three pounds of sugar, some nutmeg and cinnamon, stir them well together and as soon as the sugar is melted they drink it. While one punch is being consumed another is brewing. As for me, I did not drink anything but beer. The cider made me sick and I do not like sugar. It is the custom of the country to serve only one meal on these occasions, at two o'clock in the afternoon. They do not provide beds for the men, those available being reserved for the women and girls; so about midnight, after I had seen the party in full frolic, some being already under the table, I went to sleep
in a chair near the fire. The master of the house observed me and hospitably lead me into one of the rooms reserved for
the women and girls, where there were four or five beds made up either on the floor or on feather matrasses. Collecting all their covers, he laid me out a bed on the floor, saying that he did not dare spread it in the hall because these drunken fellows would fall over me and keep me from sleeping. The frolic lasted all night. When it was day I got up, and found the whole company stretched about like dead men. A little later the bridegroom appeared, gave me a good breakfast, and then sent me back to my lodging, in the boat with his slaves.
VI. Life at Rosegill on the Rappahannock
I WAS impatient to see Mr. Isny, whom henceforth I will call Milor Parker. I was anxious to know how he would regard me since he had been recognised. It was not more than eleven leagues to Middlesex County, but as I must have made the journey on foot, and felt myself still too weak and distressed to undertake it, I remained where I was until the 17th of December. I had not yet reached any determination as to where I was eventually to establish myself. This country suited me well, but I had no inclination to remain. I had not left my native land to live the rest of my days without the exercise of Religion and in that respect this
country offered no comfort; for I could here have the privilege of hearing
the word of God only in a language which to poor me was still entirely
barbarous. So far as concerned Carolina, I had entirely abandoned my
design to go there, for I saw that without tempting Providence I could not
persist in that resolution after the obstacles which Heaven had
interposed. I knew that in the northern colonies there were many French
people, including some ministers, and had almost decided to go thither at
the end of January. Until then I would wait, because the reputation of the
winter season in the north restrained me as much as the fear of the heat
of Carolina. I was warned, too, of the danger of passing the Virginia
capes at this time of year.
A vessel laden with negroes had, indeed, been there cast away the week before. In this state of mind I humbled myself before God and prayed for guidance through all my doubts.
Still undetermined, I left my lodging and went to spend the night with a physician six leagues away. He entertained me most hospitably and the next day lent me horses to go on to Mr. Wormeley's, which was not more than five leagues distant.
Mr. Wormeley is the son of the late Governor.(13) Although a nobleman and still owning estates in England, he has established himself in this country. He has twenty-six negro slaves and twenty Christian, and holds the highest official positions. He has, too, at least 20 houses
scattered along a charming plateau above the Rappahannock River. The best of these he had lent to the Governor.(14) Arriving thither I might have believed myself to be entering a good sized town, and I learned later that all of it belonged to Mr. Wormeley.(15)
I encountered Milor Parker in the courtyard. He received me with great affection and at once presented me to the Governor. As soon as possible I drew Milor Parker aside into a corner of the room and said that I came in some manner to apologize for the incivilities and the too great familiarity with which I had treated him; that I deeply regretted my bad manners, although they were undoubtedly due to the care he had taken to keep me in error as to his identity. He replied
most courteously that even if I had recognised him he could not have expected of me more civility than he had received, and begged me to be pleased in future to maintain with him the same familiarity as before. It was true, he said, that he had taken great pains to hide his condition. He had, indeed, left his estate in charge of his mother and had arranged with a friend in London to put on our ship three or four tons of goods of all sorts and to secure him a servant from among the intending emigrants, so that he might safely assume the character of a merchant.
At this moment the table was laid. After having dined, His Excellency the
Governor asked me what I thought of the country. I replied that I found it
that if there was French preaching to be heard I would pass here the rest of my days, but that the difference of language constrained me either to return to Europe or to go into the northern colonies. He responded that he had order to give to each stranger who came to live in his government 50 acres of land, but to me, by reason of the fact that I had left my country for Religion and because I was recommended by Milor Parker, he would give 500, though it would be necessary to go some distance and live among the savages. "This is not in itself," he added, "a very great difficulty, but I find another inconvenience, which is that in the back country the streams are not navigable and one is deprived of that convenience for
carrying on commerce. But there are now a
number of good estates lying among the Christian people for sale cheap, and I would advise you rather to buy one of them than to go further."(16) He thought that this would be a better climate for French people than Carolina by reason of the great heat, or than Pennsylvania and New England because of the cold; that his recent letters from home advised him that there were many French people in England and more arriving daily; that if I desired to return and bring some of them back with me, including ministers, he would take pleasure in being of service to establish us
comfortably; that so far as concerned the pastors, provided only they would from time to time preach in English and would officiate at baptisms and marriages of the Christians in their neighborhood,
he would present two or three with livings. They would be required to use the book of common prayer, but when they preached to French people alone could hold services in the same manner they had been accustomed to do in France.
"There is nothing extraordinary," the Governor went on, "in the offer I have made to you as to quantity of land, for in all the English colonies it is the custom to give fifty acres to each stranger out of the lands which are not yet taken up." I made him my best thanks for these obliging offers and said to His Excellency that the journey was long for a man of my age who had already been much weakened by his voyage to America, but that nevertheless I would think it over and
would do myself the honour to give him an answer in a few days, whether my health would permit me to undertake the enterprise.
At this point several strangers entered the room and Milor Parker took the occasion to invite me to walk along the river. It was a fine day. He knew that I was curious as to his reasons for concealing his condition. He did not wait for me to ask, but as soon as we were alone said that two or three years ago while at Grenoble he had fallen in love with Mlle. Marie de la Garenne; that when this lady and her mother had indicated a desire to see Lyons and Paris, he had undertaken to escort them; that he had lived a couple of months at Lyons and eighteen or twenty at Paris, at
great expense, maintaining a fine
carriage and a large retinue of servants; and that in order to provide for all this he had anticipated his income for two years; that in consequence of the necessity of balancing his budget he had determined to spend two years in America, unknown and as a merchant, so that he might live at the least expense. "As soon as I knew who you were," I replied, "I was persuaded of the truth of all that you had said to me during our voyage concerning that young lady, but you must excuse me if, knowing her to be very beautiful, proud, and of the highest quality, I did not put the least faith in the fact of your acquaintance with her while I yet believed you
to be a merchant." Laughing, he replied that he could remove all doubt that might still linger in my mind on that
score, and would take pleasure in doing so, if only because it gave him pleasure to speak of the lady. He then gave orders to one of his servants to bring him his portfolio and putting in my hand four letters asked me to read them. They were from his demoiselle, composed in a tender and passionate style. I read aloud one, in which the lady remarked that as, to her great grief, she had come to perceive that he had ceased to love her, far from ever giving her affection to another, she would retire into a cloister for the rest of her days. Milor Parker interrupted me at this point and remarked that she had not, however, kept her word, "for I have
learned on good authority," he said, "that several days after I left for America the Archbishop of Paris
fell in love with her and has since maintained her secretly in a style more magnificent than mine; at which," he went on, "I am content, because I still love her a little, and I feared that after she had spent the forty pistoles I gave her on leaving, she might finally have fallen into necessity. But now I am relieved of anxiety on that score, for the good prelate is so charitable that he will not let her lack for anything."
"As you say," I replied, "that you take pleasure in speaking of her, I will in a few words tell you of the melancholy ravages which her beauty wrought within two leagues of my house. There lived a young gentleman of good estate, the last male heir of his family, having only a married sister. During several years he had done everything in his
power to gain the consent of his father and mother to suffer him to marry your demoiselle, but, although these good people could make no objection to the quality of the lady, yet, being themselves worth ten thousand livres a year, they steadfastly opposed the alliance on the ground that it was not materially what they expected for their son, for the lady had nothing. The result was that this young man left home in despair and immured himself in the Chartreuse at Lyons. While there the good fathers made so much of him that his father and mother were never able to get him to come out, and thus it was that the beauty of this lady had deprived the world of one of my neighbours, to the great regret of us all. But," I
added, "my guess is that his sister
may be readily consoled; for she has five or six children, and her husband, never a good manager, already has run through a great part of his estate." Milor Parker replied that the demoiselle had told him of all this, without conviction, for he believed she was flattering herself, but that now he was persuaded.
I sojourned a day and a half with these gentlemen and then proposed to retire. Milor Parker said that for the present he would not press me to stay because he was going the next day on a visit ten leagues distant, but that I should hold myself ready to come back at the commencement of the following week; that he would send his horses, for as soon as he was recognised he had bought three good ones. I did not refuse this offer for, I confess, I had
been greatly bored by my solitary life. Making my compliments, I departed and sent back the horses from the Piankatank River, which was half way to [New] Point Comfort and so broad that one has to cross it in a boat. Milor Parker did not fail to send the horses for me again on the day he had named, and the next morning I returned, with the expectation of remaining a week.
We had dinner daily with the Governor at two o'clock in the afternoon. This was the only meal of ceremony. The rest we took at Mr. Wormeley's house. The Governor served us white wine of Spain, and port, and Mr. Wormeley served port, cider and beer. As it was now nearly five months that I had drunk nothing but water, I found these
wines so strong that I asked permission to mix water with them, and yet the wine, even when so tempered, was still as strong as our pure wine in France. The Governor and Mr. Wormeley mocked me, but Milor Parker, who had traveled much in France, having tasted my mixture, decided to drink the same himself.
The Council met during this time.(17) It is their custom to assemble in extraordinary session to consider any affair of importance. At this time a vessel from Guinea, laden with negroes, had violated the customs and was taken by the station ship, condemned and confiscated. I found the councillors to be men of parts, but they are not necessarily educated in the law. They sit officially in their boots and swords.
What persuaded me that there is plenty of money among the people of quality in this country is that after supper they sat down to cards; and it was near midnight when Milor Parker, seeing that I was nodding, urged me to retire and go to bed, "for," as he said, "it is possible we may be here all night"; and, in fact, I found them next morning still at play, and saw that Milor Parker had gained a hundred pieces of eight.
VII. An Excursion Up the Rappahannock
AFTER the Council adjourned I learned that Mr. Wormeley was making arrangements for a journey into Rappahannock County, where he had plantations distant 22 leagues from his house. I at once proposed to withdraw and, having communicated my intention to Milor Parker, while he was still in bed, he said that he had not invited me for so short a time, that we must pass Christmas together, and that it was expected that I should make the journey with them. I agreed cordially. Mr. Wormeley lent me a good horse and one for my servant, and we departed the next day at three o'clock in the afternoon. The
Governor, who is a man of the utmost good humor, was not willing to have us go earlier without having dined with him.
They travel so vigorously in this country that in two hours we covered six
leagues. The horses are well accustomed to this pace. As soon as one is mounted one has nothing to do but keep his seat. I do not believe that there are better horses in the world, or worse treated. All the care they take of them at the end of a journey is to unsaddle, feed a little Indian corn, and so, all covered with sweat, drive them out into the woods, where they eat what they can find, even though it is freezing, as it was that day.
We were not very well lodged that night, which caused us to take
our departure early the next morning. Having made another six leagues at the same pace, we stopped for this night at the house of an honest man, who made us good cheer and gave us clean lodgings, including beds. We were in no hurry to resume our journey because Mr. Wormeley had dispatched his sloop charged with provisions and as there was no wind it had been able to make its way up stream only by means of the flood tide. The next day we began to see some hills. We now entered the county of Lancaster. As we were crossing the river, which it was necessary to do here in boats, Mr. Wormeley said to me that there lived in this neighbourhood the widow of a worthy citizen; that she was only 30 years of age, good looking,
without children, and that he knew that she wanted nothing better than to marry a person of quality; that he had great influence with her; that she had a good house, a plantation of 1,000 acres of land, and plenty of servants and cattle of all kinds; that it was only a league's distance, and if I agreed we might turn out of our way and he would propose me to her as a husband. Re-marriage was the last of my thoughts. This was a fortune for me without doubt, but the difference of language, which was compelling me to quit the country, required me to decline the honour. I
thanked my host for the solicitude he deigned to take in my establishment, and so we continued our journey. If I let slip this opportunity, I could not but wonder at the ways of Providence
and the fidelity of the promises that our Lord made us in his holy book, where he said that no man who hath left house or brethren or lands for his sake but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, and in the world to come eternal life. For in a dominion so remote as that on which we were cast away, where I feared lest I should find no one to give me shelter, the Lord had brought me among friends, and that, too, friends who were of the most illustrious station in all America, and who put me in the way of a portion of 1,000 acres of land and many other good things.
And so we entered into the county of Rappahannock. We went to stop with the Judge of that county. He had his houses along the river bank and there we came upon
our schooner, which, having pushed on at night with the flood tide, had
passed us. We went the next day to Portobago, for so is called Mr. Wormeley's rich plantations in this vicinity. The Judge, with a friend who was already stopping with him, came with us, as did also the good man with whom we had formerly lodged. Although the schooner came to get a cargo of beef, it brought with it all other kinds of provisions, and as soon as we dismounted these gentlemen busied themselves in mixing bowls of punch. But I excused myself and went for a walk, being charmed to see these lovely hills, the fountains and brooks which flowed out of them, as also the great quantity of wild vines there were in this country. I counted eight
or nine houses
that Mr. Wormeley had on his plantations in this neighbourhood. I saw also that his cattle were much larger and fatter than any I had seen in Gloucester or elsewhere in the country. I perceived at the same time that two-thirds of his lands were still in forest and the rest in fields which, I was told, were the plantations the savages occupied five or six years ago. Three of these savages came to visit us as soon as we arrived. They brought with them two great wild turkeys and one domestic turkey. The wild ones weighed quite forty pounds apiece. We saw their village on the other bank of the river and the next day, when I expressed a curiosity to visit
them, Mr. Wormeley sent three horses over the water. Having dined somewhat earlier than usual,
Milor Parker, Mr. Wormeley and I took a boat, which was provided for us, crossed and, having mounted, rode through all his lands on that side of the river, which were greater in extent than those on the north side where we had lodged. I counted six houses. I saw a great abundance of wild vines stretched along the earth and so many peach trees that, they said, in the season the swine could not be driven off from there; that although nothing was given them to drink, they kept drunk on the fruit and so fattened better even than when pastured on mast. Having explored all of this region, we went to the Indian village. . . .(18)
As it was now late afternoon we summoned the boat in order to return. There was, however, plenty
of time, and we made a short excursion by water. The river here is quite large, and, although 30 leagues from the sea, is navigable by boats of six tons burden. I was charmed with the beauty of the locality. Here also were the same lovely hills, from which flowed springs and brooks to water wide prairies along the shores, all filled with wild vines. I remarked to my companions upon the profusion of vines on these slopes, suggesting that undoubtedly they would make good wine. To this Mr. Wormeley replied that if I could find means to bring French people to settle upon these lands he would sell all of the 10,000 acres which he had here on both banks of the river; that his price would be four shillings per acre, including the
houses now standing (of which
I believe that there were in all fourteen), the fences and the cultivated lands, but for the cattle he would expect to be paid separately. He offered to give credit for two or three years to those who had not the cash to pay on taking possession; and, moreover, he would lend the immigrants all the corn they needed for their support during the first year, and otherwise look out for their welfare. "For," he said, "these lands are far from my home and I still have 10,000 acres in Middlesex
County. "Until then I had meditated whether I should return to England or make trial of the northern colonies, but, having seen the beauty and fertility of Rappahannock County, and particularly of these lands of Mr. Wormeley's, and being
warmed with a sense of returning strength and energy as the result of several pleasant days in such good society, I now determined definitely to return to Europe. I saw that this country was not sufficiently advertised; that as there are no Proprietors here, no one had taken the trouble to print descriptions of it like those circulated concerning Carolina and Pennsylvania. I concluded, too, that the obstacles which had been interposed to my plan to establish myself in Carolina must have been intended by Heaven to enable me to inform my poor refugee fellow countrymen of what an agreeable and salutary asylum Virginia offered them. The consciousness of my opportunity to do this act of charity, joined with other considerations, affected me so greatly that
I no longer had any thought but to find an occasion to return and accomplish that duty as soon as possible. Having communicated my intention to Milor Parker, he encouraged me heartily and urged upon Mr. Wormeley that he write out, and execute, contracts confirming his agreement to sell these lands at the price and on the terms he had named, so that I could take something in writing with me back to Europe. He promised to do this as soon as he got home.
The other consideration which contributed largely to my resolution, but which I had not communicated to Milor Parker because he was a Roman Catholic, and, in consequence, very little versed in the scriptures, was that on leaving for America I had bought Mr. de Jurieu's
book, "The Accomplishment of the Prophecies."(19) This great man here set forth such complete evidence in the scriptures of the present persecution, of the speedy deliverance of the Church, and of the resurrection of the martyrs, that, after having read the book two or three times, I became almost as much persuaded of the future it promised as rude experience had convinced me of the past. For this reason I wished to be on hand at home to witness the re-establishment of the Religion in my native country, as I had already witnessed her desolation and ruin.
VIII. A Christmas Frolic at Bedford on the Potomac
WE were now approaching the Christmas festival, Milor Parker was, as I have said, a Roman Catholic, not in any way a bigot, but truly a man of honour.(20) As he had left our kingdom after Easter 1686, he had been an ocular witness to what we of the Religion had suffered, and knew our innocence of the charges brought against us, all of which inspired him with so great compassion for our misfortunes that he never ceased to condemn the inhumanity of the French clergy. He wished now to pass
Christmas day in Maryland, and, as we were only five or six leagues distant and had
no desire to leave him, it was agreed that all should go to spend the night with Colonel Fitzhugh, whose house is on the shore of the great river Potomac.(21) We were delayed some time in getting off for, as we were about to mount our horses, all these savages, men, women and children, came to return our visit. . . . At last we left them, to their great regret, for I realized that they took sincere pleasure in being with us.
Mr. Wormeley is so beloved and esteemed in these parts that all the gentlemen of consideration of the countryside we traversed came to meet him, and, as they rode with us, it resulted that by the time we reached Col. Fitzhugh's we made up a troop of 20 horse. The Colonel's accommodations were, however, so ample that this company gave him
no trouble at all; we were all supplied with beds, though we had, indeed, to double up. Col. Fitzhugh showed us the largest hospitality. He had store of good wine and other things to drink, and a frolic ensued. He called in three fiddlers, a clown, a tight rope dancer and an acrobatic tumbler, and gave us all the divertisement one would wish. It was very cold but no one thought of going near the fire because they never put less than the trunk of a tree upon it and so the entire room was kept warm.
As soon as we left Mr. Wormeley's estate we had entered the county of Stafford, which begins here and lies between the two rivers. This county has no boundaries on the north and west. The land is as fertile as that of Rappahannock.
There are more hills, but none higher. I saw here also a great quantity of wild vines. A gentleman of the neighbourhood,(22) hearing of our presence, came to meet us and said that he was one of three or four who had 20,000 acres of land for sale in this county, six or seven leagues from the place where we were; that some of his partners lived in London and were men of the highest respectability and that it had been agreed that they should offer the land in question to French refugees, at an attractive price, if they would come out to seat them; that for encouragement of the settlers the Company was, moreover, prepared to advance money to those who built houses, and to provide corn sufficient to support the colony during the first year.
IX. An Excursion into Maryland
THE frolic continued well into the afternoon of the second day. It then became necessary for us to withdraw if ever we were to cross the river. Colonel Fitzhugh was hospitable to the last. He not only brought a quantity of wine and bowls of punch down to the shore, there to serve a parting glass, but he lent us his sloop.
Leaving our horses, Milor Parker, Mr. Wormeley and I now set sail. We spent the night with a gentleman of Maryland, who also received us most hospitably.
The following day, when it appeared that the nearest Catholic church was
seven or eight leagues
distant, Mr. Wormeley decided that his business required him to return, and, as I was riding his horses, I could not leave him. Thus, to my great regret, we were compelled to separate from Milor Parker. It was Christmas Eve and he wished to make his devotions in his own communion. Before we departed he took me to walk and said that as it was now some time since I had left my own country, I might possibly be in want of something, at the same time handing me a purse in which there were more than 100 pistoles. He urged me to take from it what I needed, and not to spare him. To relieve my evident embarrassment he added hastily that His Excellency, the
Governor, had expressly charged him when we set out to say to me that in case I determined to
return to Europe with the intention of coming back with some French immigrants, I might be assured that in any way he could aid me he would do so, and that he wished to give me a letter of recommendation to the Bishop of London, who was his kinsman.(23) As for himself, Milor Parker said that he expected in May to go to spend two or three months of the hot season in Pennsylvania and New England, but that he would return to Virginia in October, and later go to pass the winter in the island of Barbadoes. He hoped that if I, too, came back I would plan my arrival before that time so that he could have the pleasure of being of some service to me. He finally assured me that if he heard that I was still in America when he
returned from his excursion into
Maryland he would again come to see me. I replied that he put me in the utmost confusion by so many kindnesses and good wishes; that as for money I still had enough to accomplish my return voyage, but that I could acknowledge so much generosity only by testifying to the gratitude which I must feel towards him for the rest of my life. After this we separated.
Mr. Wormeley and I crossed over the river and slept that night at one of his plantations. After having spent Christmas day there, we went again to visit the Judge. Thence we went to the house of a captain of cavalry, where we stayed for several days while Mr. Wormeley, who was the Colonel of this county, reviewed the troop. Then we returned to Mr. Wormeley's house by the same
route. He kept me still two days, during which time there came in a master of a vessel who was to sail for London at the end of January, and I made a bargain with him to take me as a passenger. His Excellency, the Governor, repeated the same offers of service of which he sent me word by Milor Parker, and I departed.
X. Animadversions on Gloucester Hospitality to Strangers(24)
THE Governor lent me one of his servants to see me to my lodging and bring back the horses. This poor boy told me that he was the son of a minister of Montaban and that he had been sold into this country three years before. Unhappily, he fell ill of a pleurisy as soon as he arrived at my lodging and in five days was dead, which gave me the greatest distress. This accident caused me to entertain so great a disgust of my host and hostess that I could not look on them again. They had hardly waited for the death of the poor French lad to seize upon all his money and clothes. I had to
quarrel with them to save eight shillings for the physician who had attended him. With complete affrontery they claimed all the rest, although they had done nothing to earn it; for my servant had done all the nursing and I had been to all the expense. For these considerations I began at once to look about me for another lodging. At last I found, at a distance of two leagues, a place which was directly on the route, and within call, of our vessel where I could await her coming.(25) My old landlord demanded payment of his rent to the last day and would not even let me take away the locks I had put upon my room, saying that it was the law of America
that nothing could be taken away which had once been attached to a freehold. Thus I paid in all for the four
or five months of my tenancy enough to have built two rooms like that I occupied. In my new lodging I was, however, so unfortunate as to meet people who were even more uncivil and barbarous than those I quitted. Here they tried to cheat me out of my few remaining goods. If I employed a woman to wash my linen she demanded four shillings for half a day's work. If I sent some corn to the mill they had the affrontery to retain half of it as toll. If I bought something they sold it to me at three times its value. All of this threw me into apprehension lest if I remained among these inhuman people I should have enough money left to pay my passage and, accordingly, I resolved to buy nothing more, and reduced myself to a diet of bread and water.
During this period the rumor ran through the country that I was going to bring or send some French people to Virginia, whereupon two men came to me from beyond the Piankatank River, one offering to sell me 1,000 acres of land in a county five leagues from there, on the banks of the York River, and the other, 2,000. They asked 20 pence an acre. They told me that it was all in timber, but they did not know whether the land was good because they had never seen it. The people of the neighbourhood came also to make similar offers, one of 700 acres, another of 500 acres, another of 400 acres. To them I replied, for they brought an interpreter with them, that they could be assured that, as much because of their bad water as of the evil manner in which
they had treated me, I could never recommend any Frenchman to live among them.
These Virginia ship masters are so unpunctual that it was the 15th of February before I had any news of my ship. Meanwhile either the boredom of my situation or my diet caused me to lose all the embonpoint I had achieved during the four or five weeks of my visit on the Rappahannock. I saw myself growing gradually less and steadily more feeble. I waited as patiently as I could until the first of March but then, not being able to suffer longer the brutality of my landlord and his neighbours, I determined to go, cost what it might, to find my captain, who was said to be eighteen leagues distant. It was necessary to go by sea because of my
luggage. I engaged
a boat at the hire of a shilling a day, but I had to have two men to man it, because the owner was sick, and they demanded half a crown a day apiece and that I should feed them.
As Milor Parker was destined to render me all sorts of good offices, the afternoon before my departure I received from him a letter which stopped me. He had said previously, when we separated, that he would come to see me again, but, not daring to hope for so much honour, I had forgotten that promise. He revived it now most happily to save me the three or four pistoles which my intended voyage was to cost. Believing me to be still lodged in the same place, at the mouth of an arm of the sea which made into the land for two leagues, it seems that he
arrived on the lower side of this water, and, to avoid the ride of three or four leagues around its head, left his horses and came over in a boat. Learning then of my removal to a house two leagues distant, to which he must have made his way on foot, he gave up the attempt. But to relieve my anxiety, he was now good enough to write, bidding me stay where I was and saying that he would send a servant to give notice eight days before the ship was due to pick me up. Only such a letter could have constrained me to remain longer among the honest folk of that neighbourhood.
Since I had changed my lodging I was three leagues from the nearest church and so no longer could go to service. The Sundays were thus the days which weighed most heavily
upon me. Having no opportunity for the exercise of religion, I could only solace myself by remembering those charming exhortations by the excellent and illustrious ministers I had left behind in London, and I then made a firm resolution never again to expose myself to live in a place where I could not have such comfort.
Milor Parker did not fail, eight or ten days after his return, to send a servant as he had promised, with the most obliging letter in the world, notifying that the ship which was to carry me was then lying off the Governor's house in the Rappahannock and that His Excellency had charged the Captain expressly to take the best of care of me during the voyage. He enclosed also the letter His Excellency had written to
the Bishop of London in my behalf, and Mr. Wormeley's contract for the sale of his lands. Finally, on the 15th of March at two o'clock in the afternoon, four sailors and the surgeon of the ship arrived. The Captain drifted slowly in the offing, waiting for us. In a moment they had put everything I had into their boat and thus I departed, with great satisfaction, from a neighbourhood in which I had suffered so much chagrin.
After more harrowing adventures at sea, Durand reached London in the spring of 1687, and there, having refreshed his piety at the services in the French Temple, sat down to write his memoir in order that he might have something to put in the hands of the Huguenots in London to testify to his experience and to his judgment that Virginia
was the best place in America for them to go. He printed with his book a circular issued by Nicholas Hayward, advertising the advantages of the proposed Brent Town settlement in Stafford County, but failed to print Mr. Wormeley's offer of his Portobago lands on the Rappahannock because, as he said, he could find no one to translate it for him into French. With many repetitions of the charms of Virginia, Durand broke off his narrative abruptly.
It does not appear what, if anything, he did in the way of an effort to organize a party of Huguenots for emigration or what, indeed, was the ultimate destiny of the author himself.
The following chapter of collected observations upon the civilization of Virginia as he saw it, is not the least interesting part of Durand's book:
XI. "The Present State of Virginia," in 1686(26)
TO reach Virginia one must pass through the Capes, which are two points of land facing one another at the southern extremity of the territory. These Capes are heavily wooded and stand about a league apart. Often the Gulf of Florida silts up the channel with sand, enough to make the passage dangerous for large vessels, especially in winter. Not infrequently there are shipwrecks at the very entrance. On the left hand side coming in are four counties, fronting on Carolina, separated from the rest of Virginia by the Gemrive, which empties into the straits. On the right hand side also are four
counties, separated from the rest by an arm of the sea which is called the Bay. Three leagues above its outlet this water widens to six leagues and maintains that width almost to Maryland, whence, proceeding north, it washes and bounds that colony for thirty leagues more. The Bay receives four great rivers within a limit of 30 leagues; that is to say, commencing on the north, the Potomac, which is the greatest, being three leagues in width at its mouth, the Rappahannock, the York and the Gemrive. The Rappahannock is the second largest river, but the York River, which is the least, is greater than the Rhone between Beaucaire and Tarascon. Virginia (that is to say, the country inhabited by Christians, for the rest has no
name, although dependent upon
the colony) contains 26 counties or provinces, and Maryland contains 12. These together are the most beautiful, the most agreeable, and the most fertile countries of all the West Indies. They are watered by the four great rivers we have named.
The colony lies on the 36 and 37 degrees. The air is temperate; there are no fogs, and such rains as there were during the season I was there were as gentle as those of the month of May in France. Not more than six inches of snow falls and never lasts more than three days. I sojourned there until the 15th of March, 1687. I do not know what was the weather at that time in Europe, but in Virginia I saw snow fall only three times, the first time one inch, the second two inches, and
the third time six inches, and it never lay more than three days. The inhabitants of the country say that this was one of the most severe winters they had ever seen. When the northwest wind blows it is cold and freezes firm, but at other times the winter is like our spring in France. I judge that I can safely compare the mean temperature with that of Montélimar and Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux in Dauphiné. One can judge that this is so from the fact that they sow wheat at the end of October or commencement of November and harvest it in the middle of June.
On the subject of climate, I have seen books which say that the winters in America commence at the same time as our spring in Europe. This is not true. Their winter is
during the months of December, January and February, but what I remarked by way of difference from ours is that in the month of December they have much more daylight than we have. No one could give me the explanation of this, but I proved it to my own satisfaction. On the 29th of December (according to the calendar of France), going to pay my respects to the Governor of Virginia, I waited in the hall, where there was an excellent clock. While I was there it struck five and I noted that the sun was still reflected on the windows. Considering this, as soon as I reached my
lodgings I borrowed an hour glass and on the 22nd of December (following the old style calendar used in the West Indies), which is the day ship men note to be the shortest in the year, I set the instrument
as soon as there was enough daylight to read, and, taking care to turn it exactly every hour, counted eleven full hours of daylight. Thus I was satisfied that the length of the days does not here vary more than one hour throughout the year.
There is neither town nor village in the whole country, save one named Gemston, where the Council assembles. All the rest is made up of single houses, each on its own plantation.
They gather so large a quantity of tobacco as suffices to lade 150 ships every year in Virginia alone. The purchasers of this tobacco pay a tax of two shillings a hogshead exported, which yields a revenue sufficient to support the Governor, as well as to pay all the expenses of
the Council and of the five collectors.) There are twelve councillors, nominated by the king of England, and a judge of each county who holds court two days each month. Appeals from his judgment run to the Council, which assembles twice a year, in the months of May and October. Residents in the country pay no other taxes than the tithes due the parsons, and to the king a quit rent of two shillings for each 100 acres of land. It is true that for four or five years past they have levied a tax to maintain some troops.
I gathered that some years ago they made a treaty with the savages, under which the savages abandoned the tidewater lands to the Christians and themselves retired far into the country, except only a few who remained. These
savages had never had, nor had they heard of, smallpox. When this malady, which from time to time ravages the Christians in the West Indies, as in Europe, was communicated to them they asked what remedy for it was customary. Some evil spirits told them that they had only to find the freshest water and wash the whole body in it, with the result that few escaped. In great wrath of this treason (or perhaps by reason of their regret at having left the tidewater in which they were accustomed to fish) the Virginia savages now went to solicit the Canada savages to come to their aid to drive out the Christians from Virginia, promising them the plunder of the plantations. Accordingly, they formed an army. The Christians, being warned, raised troops
and awaited the barbarian army in good order in a plain on the Rappahannock River, which was pointed out to me. Here the savages were overthrown and all of the natives who were taken were put to death, while those from Canada were sold as slaves. The surviving people were driven far back into the country so that few now remain. The colonels of the troops which had been engaged took possession of the lands of the savages and had them surveyed, with the consequence that at the moment there is a great quantity of land for sale in Virginia, and that, too, very good
land, if remote.(27)
Since then several companies of cavalry and infantry have been maintained on foot in the frontier provinces. Two days a week they
range the forest, even though there is no longer anything to fear. They are paid in tobacco, which is a small charge on the country since it is not levied according to the land which one has, but according to the number of slaves, so that a man who has 2,000 acres of land and but nine slaves does not pay as much as one who has only 100 acres of land and ten slaves.
These Indies are the refuge of people who are unable to make a living in England. Taking ship, they are brought hither and sold for their passage. The country constitutes also the galleys of England, for those who have committed any crime short of hanging may be banished and condemned to service in America.(28) It is also the refuge of bankrupts. As to women likewise,
it is the refuge of those who have been convicted of picking and stealing or have lost their reputations for chastity.(29) For these considerations one might think it to be difficult to find an honest man in all the population, but it is quite otherwise, for there are gentry a plenty.(30) They have been attracted hither by the fertility of the soil. Among the nobility in England almost all the estate goes to the eldest son and thus many of the cadets, having only a small legacy, come to establish themselves in this new world, where they live like lords on a small
property and profess the highest virtue and honour. There are degrees among the slaves brought here, for a Christian over 21 years of age cannot be held a slave more than five years, but the negroes and other
infidels remain slaves all their lives.
There are no feudal laws. Each one is master in his own plantation. The gentlemen, whom they call squires, are greatly honoured and respected. Moreover, they have the best of manners and good faith. They serve nearly all the offices of honour or emolument in the country. Mr. Wormeley, of whom I have spoken, is at once a councillor, collector of the Rappahannock River, and colonel of his county.
It is a common law country. The laws are so equitable that there are almost no lawsuits. They are not forever talking, as we are, of discution and of substitution. When a man runs through his property he exhausts that of his wife also, and this is not unjust for the women show the way in drinking and
smoking. They spend most of their time visiting one another. Thus while we in Europe, with our droit écrit, pass the greatest part of our time in hatreds and expense and ill feeling, stretching out our lawsuits, the [West] Indians pass theirs in eating, drinking and smoking together in all amity.
They dress as we do in France, wearing almost altogether clothes made in England. I did not see any person with the consumption or any person with the gout, and it is the climate which accounts for this blessing. I had a bad cold in the chest which greatly incommoded me during all the sojourn I made in London, and in this country, by the grace of God, I was entirely cured.
It is a country so good and fertile that when a man has fifty acres of
land, two men servants and a maid, and some cattle, neither he nor his wife have ever anything to do except to make visits to their neighbours. The greater number of them do not even take the trouble to watch their slaves at work, for there is no house so ill provided which has not an overseer, as they call him, who usually is an indenture man recently enfranchised. To him they give (say) two servants in charge. The overseer feeds, directs and himself works with, these servants. He receives a third of the tobacco and grain or whatever else they put in the ground, and so the master has nothing to do except take his share of the crop. If the
overseer has entrusted to him three or four slaves, his share is in proportion. There is a law of the
country that if a servant rebels against his master while he is being whipped, he is condemned to be hanged, and if he rebels against his overseer he is condemned to serve two years more. It follows that no one who has served his indenture will continue in service, whatever wage you offer him, for he can readily find employment as an overseer and gain all that he wants.
There is little money in circulation, except among the people of quality. They do business with their tobacco as if it was money. With tobacco they buy lands, hire and buy cattle; and as they can secure all they want with this commodity they become so lazy that they even import from England their linen and their hats, their women's clothes and their shoes,
their iron, their nails, nay, even their wooden furniture, although they have the best and a superfluity of wood which could be made into tables and chairs and boxes and wardrobes and generally all kinds of furniture necessary for house or kitchen. I noticed that if they imported iron and copper they could do without all the other things they now buy in England. But to accomplish this it would be necessary for the country to be inhabited by Europeans and particularly by French people, who, thanks to our King, have become thrifty and economical by reason of the heavy taxes
which His Majesty is pleased to impose upon them.(31)
This colony sells every year more than 240,000 pounds sterling worth of tobacco, without speaking of that
which they reserve to do business with and for their own use; so that if they bought only iron and copper and sugar and spices and brandy, they would walk on money. More than that, in every county there are enough mulberry trees to make what silk they require, while in the southern counties there are enough such trees to make four times what they require. They could make also woolen cloth as good as that in England, and there are beaver skins to make hats, and leather to make shoes, and flax to make linen. On arriving I saw as good and as fine flax growing in Virginia as there is in Europe, but they let it waste after having gathered it,
because there is not a woman in all the country who knows how to spin.
For the support of life there is
also an abundance of all things necessary. To avoid confusion I will speak first of grains, and then of animals, and, finally, of the trees.
North America is naturally a pleasant country, and as for Virginia and Maryland, they are its garden, as you can see by a mere glance at their fair plains, at their woodlands of high forest trees, at their beautiful orchards of apples, pears, cherries, apricots, figs and peaches. (The land which has been cleared makes rich prairies on which are plantations of tobacco, of grain, of legumes, and of all that is needed to support life.) You see also winding through these lands the four great rivers, whose currents are so tranquil and steady that with difficulty can you determine from what direction they flow. Never do these
rivers become angry or leave their beds. If you climb the hills or the little mountains the country does not offer you a horrid prospect, like the mountains of Provence, of Genoa, of part of Tuscany or part of Spain, where you see nothing but rocks and a sterile land, stripped of its woods and devoid of virtue; but, on the contrary, here you see the waving tops of a vigorous forest, betokening the rich land in which it grows. Everywhere that land has been cleared and grubbed you see green grass and pleasant brooks.
But as we poor refugees are more in need of quality than of beauty, I will devote my discussion rather to the fertility of the soil. I learned that all the land of Virginia is fertile for anything one wishes to sow or plant, but it is not equally good
throughout. In the county of Gloucester, where I lived, there is but six inches of black top soil in some places, but more than a foot in others. On the banks of Gemrive and in the south of Virginia there is less good soil and as a consequence lands are less valuable; but in Rappahannock County and what I saw of Stafford County, and particularly the plantations of Mr. Wormeley, there is certainly more than a foot of soil; and, moreover, I saw there all the kinds of land common in France, even some gravel, but still black throughout. As to the lands in the south, I found the stems of the tobacco grown there more slender than Mr. Wormeley's,
while the stalks of their Indian corn grew to a less height and in less size, and by that
observation I judged that these southern lands are not so fertile.
Usually they plant tobacco, in indian corn and wheat, peas and beans, potatoes and yams, which last named roots grow to a monstrous size and are excellent to eat. In the gardens they have the same vegetables we use in Europe. Flax is of the best, but as I have already said, they do not know how to save it or to spin it. The soil is so fit for fruit trees that I saw orchards which I was told had not been set out more than ten years, and yet I found them better grown and larger than ours in Europe 20 years old. They make such a quantity of cider, as good as that of Normandy, that if they took any care of it they would have plenty to carry them through the year.
In Gloucester the wheat yields ten for one, and the indian corn 200 for one, but in Rappahannock and Stafford the indian corn yields 400 and 500 for one and the wheat fifteen and sixteen for one. The yield of the corn would have been incredible to me if I had not seen it. I examined the shocks and found that in the north there are two or three ears to the stalk, while in the south there is but one.
The peasants make only a few bushels of wheat on each plantation, intending it for pastry, because of the great abundance of venison and apples, which are excellent in quality. I asked them why they did not make more wheat and they replied because it only yields ten for one, while their indian corn produces at least 200 for one, and that they live
on corn bread as well as ever they did on wheat bread.
This corn bread is as white as paper, and good to the taste, but rather heavy on the stomach to those unaccustomed to it. It cannot be rolled into pastry. They make it by mixing salt and water with the meal, and secure a crust by greasing the dough with a bacon rind while it is in the oven. After it is baked this "pone" cuts like any other bread.
As the greater part of the meal is ground in hand mills, after they have sifted off the flour to make bread, there remains grains about the size of rice, of which they make an excellent porridge. That is the sole diet of the slaves. In this way it costs little to maintain the negroes, for only at Christmas are they allowed bread and meat.
They do not know what it is to work the land with cattle. Everything is hoed, although it would be easy enough for a single horse to plow the land, for it does not contain a single stone. Some of the people have as many as 100 cows or cattle, and thirty horses. The latter they use only to ride, except at some few plantations, far from the sea or a river, where they are used to draw carts. Their firing wood is so conveniently at hand that the slaves bring it in on their backs. All of this caused me to think that if I lived in that country and had two servants, a cart, two cows, and one or two horses.
I would undertake to do more work in a year than a Virginian does with eight lusty slaves. The quantity of wood available makes it possible for them to fence
cheaply their cultivated fields. A man who has fifty acres of land leaves twenty-five in woods. Of the remaining twenty-five, he cultivates half and the ther half he reserves as a pasture and paddock for his cattle. Every four years he transfers his fences to this second half, which has thus had a period of rest and of fertilization, and this is all the rotation they use.(32)
They sow their wheat at the end of October or beginning of November. On Mr. Wormeley's plantation I saw what was to me a curious practice. The cows, horses and sheep were pasturing on the wheat. It was then Christmas time and I remarked that this would ruin the wheat. The servants told me that they pastured it regularly until the 15th of March and that unless they did so the crop would be all straw.
The indian corn is planted at the end of April. This is one of the most convenient of crops for harvest; for those who run short can begin to make bread of it early in September, while the more provident and the lazy can wait until the end of November. The practice is to plant the entire corn crop in one field.(33) On a large plantation this may be of great extent, for they plant in hills, four grains to a hill, leaving a space of four feet about. This space is necessary to feed the plant, for it has roots growing seven or eight feet long and as much as three inches thick. They plant so many grains in a bill in order that the stalks may support one another against the wind. They plant also two beans in each hill; which do well with the corn because the stalk
of the corn serves as a trellis to support the beans.
They set out their tobacco in the month of May, leaving a distance of three feet between the plants. A great quantity of this crop is consumed in the country. Everyone smokes both at work and at rest. When I went to church (all their churches are in the woods) I saw the parson and all the congregation smoking in the churchyard while waiting for the hour of service. When the sermon was over they did the same thing before separating. There are seats provided in the churchyards for this purpose. It was here that I saw that everyone smoked, women and girls and boys down to the age of seven years. There are some very good houses in this country.
Those of the peasants
are all of wood. They are sheathed with chestnut plank and sealed inside with the same. As they get ahead in the world they refinish the interior with plaster, for which they use oyster shell lime, making it as white as snow; so that although these houses seem poor enough on the outside because one sees only the weathered sheathing, within they are most agreeable. Most of the houses are amply pierced with glazed windows. They make quantities of brick in Virginia and I saw a number of houses built entirely of brick.
Whatever their estates, for what reason I do not know, they build their houses consisting only of two ground floor rooms, with some closets and one or two prophet's chambers above. According to his
means, each planter provides as many of such houses as he needs. They build also a separate kitchen, a house for the Christian slaves, another for negro slaves, and several tobacco barns, so that in arriving at the plantation of a person of importance you think you are entering a considerable village. They provide no stables at all for they never house their cattle. More than that, few of their house doors are ever locked for robbery is here unknown. You could travel 200 leagues through the country with your hat full of money without fear that any of it would be taken from you by violence. When the women do their washing, if the clothes are not all dried the same day, they leave them out of doors sometimes two or three days and nights at a
time. Robbery is punished so severely that if a man is convicted of having stolen a chicken he is hanged. All of their cattle sleep in the woods. The only robbers the planters fear on their account are the wolves. As protection against these pests they have good dogs, while whoever kills a wolf receives from the government 100 pounds of tobacco, so that wolves have now become quite scarce.
My landlord had only two boys to work his land. For a maid he bought one of the trollops who came in the ship with me. With this force he usually harvested six bushels of wheat and 200 bushels of indian corn, after sowing one bushel of each; fifteen bushels of beans, of yams what would perhaps amount to fifty bushels if they had been
measured, and, finally, twelve casks of tobacco, weighing 6,000 pounds. The latter I saw him sell at forty-four shillings a cask, and he had never before sold so cheap. The standard cask of tobacco is 500 pounds.
The domestic animals are in all respects similar to those of Europe. They raise numbers of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens, all without expense either for feed or care. They do not know what it is to save hay, for all their animals pasture in the woods or else in that part of the plantation which has been turned out to rest. Thither the cattle come in every night, rather by instinct than by any care the planters take of them. Grass grows freely in this country. The same year that they
cease cultivation of a tobacco field the turf is as thick on it as in Europe after four or five years. As for pigeons, I saw them only on the plantations of the gentlemen. The peasants despise such small game.
At the end of the month of January the snow lay for three days and the wind blew steadily from the northwest, so that it was quite cold, but the people had no mercy upon their cattle. I saw the poor beasts of a morning all covered with snow and trembling with the cold, but no forage was provided for them. They eat the bark of the trees because the grass was covered. To the swine only they feed indian corn. Despite this treatment I saw no dead cattle. Their chickens roost in the trees around the houses. To secure what milk they require they keep the
calves shut up in a cow pen until they have milked the cows and only then permit the calves to suck. They make excellent butter, but their cheese is nothing to boast of. They give little more care to their horses than to their cattle. And yet, even when they live not 500 yards from the church, they mount their horses to go there. The women ride like the men, always at a canter. I was astonished how they held themselves on. They make the best use of their cattle only so far as food is concerned, for there is no house so poor that it does not salt down for the winter at least one steer, a cow and five or six big swine.
As to wild animals, there is so great a quantity of deer that one never enters a house where they do not serve venison. That meat is
particularly good when boiled, or roasted in pastry. There is also bear meat, but not in great quantity. The beavers and coons also are eaten and provide excellent meat. The hares are as small as, and much like, the rabbits of Europe. There are flying squirrels, which are in all respects like our squirrels, except that they have wings of membrane, like bats.
There is a prodigous quantity of birds. Beginning with the largest, the wild turkeys weigh from 30 to 40 pounds. One sees on the shores of the sea and on the banks of the rivers wild geese in troupes of more than 4,000 at a time. They are as big as our domestic geese, but almost black. Ducks appear in flocks of more than 10,000. There are also doves and thrushes. Partridges are so plentiful and so tame that they
come into the barnyards. They are smaller than those of Europe, but of the same taste. All these birds have different plumage from ours in Europe; indeed, I saw none of similar plumage except the crows and black birds. There are quantities of shore birds available for game, but the hunters despise them and never even waste powder on the ducks unless assured of killing three or four at a shot.
There are also numbers of small forest birds such as we have in Europe. Some, as big as swallows, are entirely red; others, the size of sparrows, all blue; others, not larger than a big fly, have a plumage like the rainbow. This little bird lives only on dew and the nectar of the odoriferous flowers. It has itself so agreeable an odor that they told me
the English prize them highly for that quality, wherefore the Virginians dry them in the ovens and sell them in England at a price of eight pounds sterling apiece.
There are quantities of bees. The people make candles of the wax and eat the honey.
Of fishes, too, there are unusual numbers. Oysters abound. Every Saturday my landlord would send one of his servants in a canoe to dig them two hours after the flood tide, and he always brought back the boat full. Some of these canoes are made of a single tree, hewed out in the middle, but of such burden that they carry fourteen persons or twenty-five hundred pounds of freight.
This country is entirely covered with trees except for the fields
which have been cleared for cultivation. It is reported, however, that twenty or twenty-five leagues from the sea there are open rolling prairies. Many of the clearings were the plantations of the savages six or seven years ago. It is a great pleasure to walk in the woods here. The trees have no low branches. They are tall and straight, branching high above one's head. There is no underwood or brush or, indeed, any rock to interfere with one's progress, so that one can drive freely through the forest in a coach. Along the sea coast are many enormous pine trees,
straight and tall, of which they make masts for ships. These trees have an unusually long leaf. There are live oaks as well as the other oaks we have. I saw some of them bearing mistletoe. There
are also quantities of chestnuts which bear freely. All of these trees have a foliage and a timber different from those of Europe. They have a close kernelled nut, which yields an excellent oil.(34) There are cedars, but not so many as in Carolina. This is an incorruptible wood, excellent for furniture. There are many poplar trees, the wood of which is straight and close grained, fit for making planks. There is a tree which bears a long pepper,(35) and plenty of mulberry trees, principally in the southern counties. There is also another common tree, which bears a fruit as large as an apple, of excellent taste and agreeable to see.(36) There are fig trees bearing black, red and white figs.
As for vines, they abound along the sea coast and the banks of the
rivers, rather than in the deep woods. They bear quantities of grapes, but of small size, as might be expected of a vine which has never been pruned or cultivated. Finding some wild grapes near my lodging, I caused my servant to gather them, and made ten or twelve gallons of wine. After it had fermented it was very good. The greatest quantity of vines I saw were in Rappahannock and Stafford Counties, principally on the Wormeley plantation along the south bank of the river. They have never been cultivated. When the savages cleared these lands they left standing the
wild peach and plum trees. On these the vines seized and, after covering them, stretched out into the fields, rooting themselves from time to time, so that they looked like
planted vines. On the other side of the river the same thing happened; but the land there being planted in tobacco, the servants told me they had rooted up hundreds of feet of the vines. The native stocks should produce good wine if pruned and cultivated. Certainly they would serve as foundations for vineyards and cuttings from them could be set out elsewhere and produce a good revenue in wine. As for pears, apples, cherries, apricots and peaches, everyone has many in his plantation. I saw no olives, but if they were imported they would flourish, for the olive always grows where the live oak does.
I say nothing particularly of Maryland because it is similar to Virginia. Here are the same trees and the same animals. The only
difference is that it is a somewhat colder country, being to the north of Virginia.
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1. Probably his new acquaintance gave Durand the name Disney (originally D'Isney), which was that of a Lincolnshire family allied, through the Lovels, with the Parkers whom we are about to meet. See the Disney pedigree in Hutchins, Dorsetshire, ii, 99.
2. The text used is that of the copy belonging to the Library of Congress. The book was printed by a Dutchman who apparently knew no French, certainly no proof was ever corrected. The result is sometimes a puzzle; the spelling is highly original, and the punctuation shows a delightful disregard of the sense. The translation, while faithful, is not always literal. The Virginian terms for the things described have been used, for otherwise the result would be too bizarre to be read in English. The reader who wants Durand's involved paraphrases is referred to the original.
3. As will appear later, Durand here meant Elizabeth City County, at the mouth of James River. With the characteristic perversity of the French in transcribing English names, he makes a gallant and convincing, if amusing, attempt at the Virginia locution "Jeames Riv'r." Cf. the racy comment on this pronunciation in Dr. Green's Word Book of Virginia Folk-Speech.
4. In 1686 the Governor was Francis Howard (1645--1695), fifth Lord Howard of Effingham,
descended from a younger brother of the Admiral who commanded in chief against the Armada. He was appointed Governor of Virginia in 1683, in succession to Lord Culpeper, and was in the colony from February, 1683--4 until 1688.
5. Here, as in several other places, Durand describes the Chesapeake Bay as "lamer de Bées." He had heard people calling it simply "the Bay."]
6. This was Bertrand Servent (1632--1707), a well known character at Kiccotan, many of whose descendants still flourish in that community. According to the record made when he was naturalized by Governor Andros in 1698 (W. & M. Quar., xxvii, 136) he was "a natural born subject of the Kingdome of ffrance, of the age of sixty and six years, settled and resident 38 years in Elizabeth City County." This dates his arrival in Virginia in 1660. His residence was at the head of Mill Creek in "Downes
Field" of the Strawberry Banks adjoining Old Point Comfort, on land which he purchased in 1668 from William Claiborne and which was afterwards involved in a bitterly contested litigation which went to the Privy Council under the style of Selden v. Turner and is reported in Acts P. C., Colonial, ii, 446. In the record of this cause surviving at Hampton (printed in W. & M. Quar., ix, 83) are to be found many references to Bertrand Servent and his family, including his will, proved in 1707. Servent's "charge in the country" was that of a justice of Elizabeth City
7. The guardship in Virginia in 1686 was H. M. S. Deptford, 10, Capt. John Crofts. She was an old Ketch, built originally for the first Dutch war, and it was her fate, like Durand's ship, to be lost with all on board off the Virginia capes in August, 1689 (Clowes Royal Navy, ii, 247, 462, 535). Lord Howard's dispatches show that he had many occasions to send messages to Capt. Crofts, for that sea dog was a thorn in the Governor's side. Dr. Bruce (Inst. Hist., ii, 181) has told the story of their relations with his usual spirit.
8. In 1686 the only peer of the ancient family of Parker of Essex and Sussex (for which see Collins Peerage, ed. Brydges, 1812, vol. vii, tit. Lovel and Holland) was Thomas Parker, thirteenth and last Baron Morley of the creation of Edward I, and sixth and last Baron Monteagle of the creation of Henry VIII. According to Morant (Essex, p. 513) he was buried in St. James Clerkenwell, July 7, 1697, aged 65. As he would have been fifty-four years of age in 1686 he could not have been the youthful "Milor Parker" of the text. There was, however, another of that family who fits into the narrative. This was Sir Robert Parker, baronet (1655--1691) of Ration, co. Sussex. Not only does his age suit Durand's description, but his Sussex seat was in the neighborhood of that of Lord Howard of Effingham, a fact which
gives colour to the probability that
one of the Governor's servants might have recognized him. For this branch of the Parkers see Burke, Extinct Baronetcies, and G. E. C., Complete Baronetage. A Frenchman would call a baronet "Milor" as readily as a baron.
9. Durand reached the south shore of York River at the "town lands," which had been originally carved out of Benjamin Read's plantation by the act of 1680, and in 1705 were to assume the still persisting name York Town (Hening, ii, 473; iii, 415). The ferry from this site to Tindall's (now Gloucester) Point was one of the oldest in Virginia. It is referred to in the York County records (as also in the act of 1691, Hening, iii, 59) long before it was officially recognized by the first general ferry acts of 1702 and 1705 (Hening, iii, 220, 472).
10. The fort which Durand saw was "Fort James" on Tindall's Point in Gloucester. It had been established in 1667 after the Dutch raid on Hampton Roads (Hening, ii, 255). When the earliest wooden structure promptly decayed, it was rebuilt of brick in 1672 (Hening, ii, 293; cf. the York County record of Matthews v. Page in 1679, calendared in W. & M. Quar., xxvi, 34). Doubtless this brick structure was similar to the "sconce" contemporaneously built at James Town. John Clayton described the
latter in 1688 as "a Silly Sort of a Fort, that is a brick wall in the shape of a Half-Moon." It does not appear that the guns Durand saw were mounted; certainly they
were not a year prior to his visit. See the report of September 22, 1685, on the military stores in Virginia, which is calendared as Am. & W. I., 1685--88, No. 376, and cf. Nicholsons despatch of February 4, 1698--9 in ibid 1699, at p. 48.
11. The reference here is, of course, to "Greenspring."]
12. The first wife of Lord Howard of Effingham (Philadelphia, daughter of Sir Thomas Pelham of Laughton, co. Sussex) is recorded by the peerages to have died in Virginia, August 31, 1685. Her body was sent home to be buried in Lord Howard's family vault at Lingfield, co. Sussex.
13. Durand spells the name "Vuormely." This was "Secretary" Ralph Wormeley (1650--1701) of Rosegill. Educated at Oxford, he sat as a burgess from Middlesex, 1674, and was advanced to the Council, 1677. When Lord Howard returned to England in 1688 Wormeley carried on the government as President of the Council until Nicholson arrived as Howard's deputy. It was in 1693 that he became Secretary of the colony and in that capacity ("the greatest man in the country next to the Governor," as Hartwell, Chilton and Blair called him) served until his death.
Durand's description of Wormeley as son of the late Governor has reference to his mother, Agatha Eltonhead, who m. 3dly Sir Henry Chicheley, Culpeper's Deputy Governor. Wormeley was thus step son of "the late Governor."]
14. Durand is here confirmed by one of the remnants of the colonial Virginia archives surviving in the State Library at Richmond. This is a writ issued by Lord Howard of Effingham for the election of certain burgesses to sit in the next Assembly. It is dated from "Rosegill", September 1, 1686, shortly before Durand's visit (See Dr. Palmer's troubled query in Cal. Va. State Papers, i, p. xxv). The original Rosegill House, to which reference is thus made, was built on a main highway of commerce but, although happily still standing and in recent years piously restored, this notable mansion is now remote and inaccessible to any hut the most determined visitor. In that agreeable book, Miss Katherine Prescott Wormeley's Recollections of Rear Admiral Ralph Randolph Wormeley, R. N. (1879), there is a description of Rosegill in the eighteenth century: "In after years Sir Robert Calder, Father's most beloved commander, used to tell him of the glories of the old place. The house was built of red brick. . . . It had a chapel, a picture gallery, a noble library, and thirty guest chambers. It stood overlooking the mouth of the river, which is two miles wide in front of it. A high sea wall ran at the foot of the lawn and I have heard Father tell how men-of-war lay at anchor under the windows." Mr. Lancaster (Historic Virginia Houses and
Churches, 1915) describes the main house, as restored: "From the land porch a square hall opens; to the left of this are a sitting room and a dining room, both immense, to the right are the library and drawing room, equally spacious. The dining room is panelled in mahogany, the sitting room as well as the library, in oak, while the drawing room is in white. Parallel to these large apartments runs one splendid hall with a large door, and eight large windows opening to the square river porch. At either end of this very large hall are winding stairs. Above are five great chambers and another sweep of hall with windows overlooking the Rappahannock. In the attic is one great chamber with fourteen beds for bachelors. The lawn from the back hall runs to the Rappahannock. The green walk from the house to the river is bordered with roses its whole length."]
15. It was indeed a town site, if the town was still on paper. The act of 1680 (Hening, ii, 473, cf. ibid., iii, 59) had made provision for a town "in Middlesex on the west side of Ralph Wormeley's creeke over against the plantation where he now lives," and in 1705 (Hening, ii, 415) this was given the name Urbanna, which is marked on all the eighteenth century Virginia maps and still survives.
16. Durand's testimony, here and elsewhere, to the eagerness of Virginians of all classes to sell
him land is another evidence of the depressing effect of the contemporary low price current of tobacco, which had fomented the plant cutting riots only shortly before Durand's visit. It was at this time and for this reason, it will be remembered, that William Fitzhugh was seeking to sell his estates and retire to England.
17. There was no recorded meeting of the Council as such in December, 1686, but the members may well have sat in an extraordinary term of the General Court on the occasion mentioned in the text. This would justify Durand in calling it the "Parlement" (comparing it with the provincial courts of that name in France), and in expressing surprise that it was made up not of "men of the robe," but of gentlemen sitting in boots and spurs.
18. Durand's description of the "Amerinds" of the Rappahannock nation is extended. He was greatly intrigued by their civilization, but his observations were hurried and casual and, to an amateur, do not appear to add anything to the careful account of these people which Beverley wrote a few years later. For that reason Durand is here "cut," but it may be worth while for the professional ethnologist to study what he has to say in the original.
19. This contemporary testimony to the influence of an extraordinary book is interesting. Pierre Jurieu (1637--1713) was professor of theology in
the protestant university of Sedan, engaged in controversy with Catholic prelates. After his university was suppressed in 1681, largely as a result of his activities, Jurieu preached in a Huguenot church in Rouen and later took refuge from political persecution in Rotterdam, where, in 1686, he published his book L' Accomplissement des Prophéties, ou la délivrance de l' Eglise. He prophesied from Scripture the restoration of the Huguenot church in France in 1689. When that year passed without realizing his promises, Jurieu, nothing daunted, issued a new prophecy, this time of the second coming of the Messiah in 1715. But before that year he was dead.
20. Through all the vicissitudes of Tudor and Jacobean politics the Parkers remained staunch Catholics and it was thus that the grandfather of the last Lord Morley received the warning which discovered the Gunpowder Plot.
21. Durand spells the name "Fichus." This, of course, was the celebrated William Fitzhugh (1651--1700) of Bedford in Stafford. It must have been as a consequence of Durand's visit that Fitzhugh "entered for" the lands subsequently known as Ravensworth (now in Fairfax) with the intention of there seating Huguenots (Va. Mag., iii, 8; i, 408). It appears that before his death he succeeded in attracting thither some settlers of that faith, but they soon drifted away (Brock, Huguenot Emigration to America, p. 44).
22. This was undoubtedly Fitzhugh's law partner, George Brent of Woodstock in Stafford. The lands he was exploiting in 1686 were "Brent Town" on the present boundary of Prince William and Fauquier, where, on January 10, 1686--7, the Proprietors of the Northern Neck granted 30,000 acres to Nicholas Hayward, Richard Foote and Robert Bristow of London, and George Brent of Virginia.
23. In 1686 the Bishop of London was Henry Compton (1632--1713), youngest son of Spencer Compton, second earl of Northampton and of Mary, dau. of Sir Francis Beaumont; but he was then under suspension by James II.
24. The reader of this chapter, as of Durand's previous strictures to the same effect, should charitably remember that Virginia country folk of the class here described by Durand, like uneducated people everywhere, still esteem a "foreigner," who talks only "gibberish," to be fair game in business matters. It was always so. Cf. the comment of David Pieterssen De Vries (patroon of Swanendal, the unsuccessful Dutch colony on the Delaware) on the Virginians he met during his several visits to the colony between 1632 and 1644. He gained a wholesome respect for the trading ability of the planters. "You must look out," he says, "when you trade with them--Peter is always by Paul--or you will be struck in the tail: for
they can deceive any one: they account it a Roman action. They say in their language, 'He played
him an English trick.'" See his entertaining book, Voyages from Holland to America (tr Murphy, 1855), p. 186.]
25. Durand had apparently transferred his lodging from North River to the lower side of the Piankatank at its mouth, where he could intercept the ship as it sailed out of the Rappahannock.
26. A German editor might use this chapter for a parade of his learning, by arraying Durand's superficial errors. It pleases the present editor rather, on Dr. Johnson's advice, "so far as humanly possible," to leave that obvious criticism to his readers, and to invite attention to the several shrewd, and sometimes illuminating, observations of our author upon the civilization of Virginia at the end of the seventeenth century; especially as supplementing the contemporary letters John Clayton wrote to the Royal Society (Force's Tracts, iii, No. 12).
27. Durand is more accurate in recording what he saw than what he heard. This account of indian relations on the Rappahannock is a jumble of the history of half a century. The abuse of the Rappahannock tribes, the "Nansaticoes, Nanzemunds and Portabacchoes," and the rape of their original cleared lands ended in 1662 with Francis Moryson's treaty and disciplinary legislation (Hening, ii, 139, 149). These people were, indeed, involved in the consequences of the Susquehannock war which
preceded Bacon's Rebellion, but
under Col. Jeffrey's treaty of 1677 (Va. Mag., xiv, 289) they were confined to reservations and thereafter remained peaceful tributaries of the Virginia government. Never were they in alliance with the "Canada savages." On the contrary, for some years prior to Durand's visit the "Senecas" had been persistently raiding them, and the battle ground mentioned by Durand may well have been that of the raid which was the occasion for Lord Howard's visit to Albany in the summer of 1684, to renew the Virginia treaty with the Iroquois in order to secure peace not only for the Virginia frontier but for the Virginia tributaries (Cal. Am. & W. I., 1681--85, p. 672).
28. Durand doubtless met ex-convicts; but, if destined to that degrading fate again, in 1686, whatever may have been the experience of the other American and West Indian colonies, Virginia certainly was not the "galleys of England." In April, 1670, the General Court had prohibited the importation of "jail birds" and the Privy Council confirmed the order. See Hening, ii, 509; Acts, P. C., Colonial, i, 553; Cal. Am. & W. I., 1669--74, No. 590.
29. Could Defoe have read Durand before he wrote Moll Flanders?]
30. Durand is here good documentary evidence in support of the thesis of Dr. Philip Alexander Bruce's judicious criticism of Mr. Wertembaker's new book, The Planters of Colonial Virginia. See
American Historical Review (April, 1923), xxviii, 552.
31. It would have been necessary also to repeal the Navigation laws, and otherwise to undermine the political influence of the Virginia merchants in England, but of this sordid side of the question Durand naturally had no information.
32. More acutely John Clayton wrote at the same time: "they manure their Ground by keeping their cattle, as in the South of England you do your Sheep, every night confining them within Hurdles, which they remove when they have sufficiently dung'd one Spot of Ground; but alas, they cannot improve much thus, besides it produces a strong sort of Tobacco in which the Smoakers say they can plainly taste the fulsomness of the Dung. Therefore every three or four years they must be clearing a new piece of Ground out of Woods."]
33. Durand apparently intends here to contrast the characteristic Virginia corn fields with the unfenced ribbons of alternate crops in the "common fields" of France.
34. The reference seems to be to the native black walnut (Juglans nigra) which was once plentiful in tidewater Virginia. Cf. Beverley (1705): "They have a sort of walnut they call Black-Walnuts, which are as big again as any I ever saw in England, but are very rank and oily, having a
thick, hard, foul shell, and come not clear of the husk as the Walnut in France doth." In the Virginia Gazette (No. 482), October 24, 1745, Charles Carter "of
Cleve" invited subscriptions to a company for promoting the manufacture nut oil.
35. Probably the honey locust (Gleditschia Triacanthos).
36. This must have been that familiar "old field" tree, the persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana). Durand's comment on the taste of the fruit is proof that he was in Virginia only in the winter.
Agriculture, "Old field" system of, 108, 139; land cultivated altogether
with the hoe, 108.
Animals, domestic, 115.
Back country, reasons for delay in planting, 41, 78, 86.
Barbadoes, trade and relations with, 10, 72.
Beaver skins, 101.
Beds, Feather, 34.
"Bedford" in Stafford, 67.
Beverley, Robert, quoted, 134, 139.
Birds of Virginia, 118.
Brent, George, of Woodstock, his land scheme, 69.
"Brent Town" in Stafford, 69, 84.
Brick making, 112.
Bruce, P. A., quoted, 129, 138.
Calendar, old style in use, 89.
Candles, wax used to make, 120.
Canoes, construction and burden of, 120.
Carts, lack of, 108.
Card playing, 52.
Carolina, colonization tracts, 8; rumours of disaster in, 10, 16, 17;
climate of, 37.
Cattle, best north of the Rappahannock, 59; ill treatment and exposure of,
Chesapeake Bay, 23, 86.
Churchyards, gatherings in, 111.
Cider, 14, 34, 50, 105.
Clayton, John, his letters, 130, 139.
Climate, 87, 97.
Clothes worn, 97.
Coast defenses, 30, 51, 129.
Collectors of customs, importance of office of, 91.
Compton, Bishop Spencer, 72.
Corn, planting practice, 110; yield of, 106; reason for preference to
Corn pone, how made, 107.
Council, the Virginia, 51, 91; called "Squires," 96.
County Courts, 91.
Cows, 108, 116.
Cow pens, the practice of, due to lack of stables, 117.
Creeks, convenience of, for communication, 22.
Crofts, Capt. John, R. N., 129.
Daylight in winter, 89.
De Vries, his warning against the Virginia planter, 136.
Dinner hour, 34, 50.
"Doubling up" in bed, 68.
Ducks, multitude of wild, 118, 119.
Durand, early life, 5; escape to England, 7; voyage to Virginia, 9;
abandons plan for Carolina, 37; Col. Wormeley's offer of a wife and estate
to, 55; his return to England with purpose of promoting Huguenot
emigration to Virginia, 83.
Durand's servant, 22, 76.
Fences, "Worm," designed to be moved, 109.
Fire-wood, how brought in, 108; Yule logs, 68.
Fitzhugh, William, his hospitality, 67, 70.
Fixtures, application of the law of, 76.
Forest, prevalence of, 120; no undergrowth in, 121.
Fort James, 30, 130.
Flax, wasted, 101, 105.
Frenchmen as overseers, 12, 24, 32.
French servants, 75.
"Frolic," the universal practice of the, 28, 34, 68.
Garenne, Mlle. Marie de la, 44.
Geese, wild, 118.
"Gemrive" (James River), 16, 127.
General Court, sits in boots and swords, 51, 134.
Gentry, derivation of the, 95; hold all offices, 96.
Gloucester, profiteering in, 18, 77; charms of the shores of, 13, 22;
planters unhealthy, 17; bad water, 18, 78.
Grass, spontaneous in old fields, 115; in the piedmont, 121.
"Greenspring," the Governor's residence, 30.
Guardship, 25, 51, 129.
"Half way House" in York County, 29.
Hampton (Kiccotan), 24.
Hartwell, Chilton and Blair, quoted, 131.
Hoe, universal use of, 108.
Hominy, how made, 107.
Horses, use and abuse of, 23, 29, 54, 108, 117.
Hospitality, rigors of convivial, 14.
Houses, construction of plantation, 111, 112.
Howard of Effingham, Lord, governor, 16; his interest in promoting
Huguenot immigration, 41; his offer to present Huguenot parsons to livings
in Virginia, 42; his table at "Rosegill," 50; his affability, 54; his
Howard of Effingham, Lady, death of, 30, 131.
Humming birds, curious use of, 119.
Idleness of planters, 98.
Indians, 59; relations with Virginia, 91.
Inns, lack of, 29.
Immigrants, character of, 9, 94.
Imports from England, 99; unnecessary, 100.
Isny (see Parker).
James Town, only town, 90.
Jurieu, Pierre, his prophecies, 65.
Kiccotan (Hampton), 24.
Lancaster County, 55.
Land grant practice, 41.
Lands offered for sale, 62, 64, 69, 78.
Litigation, minimum of, 97.
Live oaks, existence of, proves olive cultivable, 121.
Malaria, epidemic on the lower tidewater, 17, 19, 30.
Manufactures, raw materials available for, 101.
Maryland, 70, 124.
Meat, practice to salt,
for winter, 117.
Militia, 73, 91.
Mobjack Bay, 12.
Money, general lack of, 97; Spanish coin used by the gentry, 52.
Morley and Monteagle, Catholic peers, 129, 135.
Navigation, dangers of at the capes, 20, 37, 85.
New England climate, 42, 72.
New York, French in, 37, 42.
North River (Gloucester), 23, 81; the society of, 13.
Old fields, 115, indian, 121.
Overseers, duties and profits of, 98.
Oysters, convenience of supply, 120.
Parker, Sir Robert ("Mr. Isny"), life in France, 27, 44; on voyage to
Virginia, 9; arrives in Virginia, 16; identity revealed, 25, 129; his good
manners and generosity, 39, 71, 80.
Partridges, docility of, 118.
Pastry, wheat grown only for, 118.
Pennsylvania, French in, 37; climate of, 42, 72; advertisement of in
Piankatank River, 50, 76.
Pigeons, kept only by gentry, 116.
Pine trees available for masts, 121.
Plantations, descriptions of typical, 90, 113, 114; advantages of
Planters, their idleness, 98; their improvidence, 105, 108.
Plaster, used to ceil houses, 112.
Point Comfort, New, 16, 31, 50.
Portobago on the Rappahannock, Wormeley plantation and indian town, 58,
Potomac River, 70, 86.
Prairies in the piedmont, 121.
Prices current of lands, 61, 69, 78.
Punch, recipe for, 34; brewed on all occasions, 58.
Rangers, duty of, 91, 93; paid in tobacco, 94.
Rappahannock County (later Richmond), description of, 53, 58, 61.
Rappahannock River, compared with Rhone, 86.
Rents of lodgings, 14, 76, of sloops, 21, 80.
Revenues of the colony, 90.
Rivers, the four great, 86, 102.
"Rosegill," descriptions of, 39, 132.
Servent, Bertrand, of Kiccotan, 20, 24.
Ship masters, importance of, 74; their use of sloops to gather cargo, 23;
delayed by lack of established ports, 79.
Shore birds, multitude of, 119.
Smoking, universal practice of, 97, 111.
Slaves, negro, how imported, 10, 51; their status, 95; discipline of, 99;
their diet, 107.
Sloops, use of, 23, 55; hire of, 21, 80.
Snow, light falls of, 87, 116.
Soils, varieties of, 102, 104, 108.
Stables, lack of, 113.
Stafford County, no boundaries to north and west, 68.
Sweet potatoes, profusion and excellence of, 105, 114.
Swine, fattened on peaches, 60; on corn, 116.
Taxes, rates of, 91; payable in tobacco, 94; based on tithables, 94.
Theft, not common, 103.
Tindall's Point, 30, 130.
Tobacco, planting practice, 111; standard cask, 115; used as currency, 99;
English trade in, 90, 100; export tax on, supports the country, 90.
Towns, lack of, 90; plantations have appearance of, 39, 113.
Travelling, congregational, 67.
Turk's ferry, 50.
Turkeys, 59, 118.
Urbanna, 39, 133.
Vegetables, in every garden, 105.
Venison pasties, on every table, 117.
Visiting, universal habit of, 23, 97.
Vines, profusion of wild, 60, 61, 122.
Virginia, lack of advertisement of, in Europe, 63.
Walking, case of, 30.
Walnuts, used to make oil, 122, 140.
Warwick County, 28.
Wedding festivities, 32.
Wheat, planting practice, 88, 105, 106; pasturing, 109; yield of, 106;
used only for pastry, 106.
White servitude, conditions of, 95; discipline, 97.
Widow, a marriageable, 55.
Windows, glazed, 112.
Wine, possibilities of making, 61, 123; use of imported, 50.
Wolves, few, 114.
Women, idleness of, 96; cannot spin, 101; practice when washing clothes,
113; smoking, 111; ride always at a canter, 117.
Wormeley, Ralph, the governor removes to his house, 30; his family and
estate, 38; his offer of his Portobago lands to the Huguenots, 62; his
popularity, 67; his offices, 96.
York County, hospitality of, to travellers, 29.
York Town, site of, 30; ferry at, 130.
A Frenchman in Virginia - The End
Compiled by Sara E. Lewis
From an index to the Virginia Gazette, produced in 1950 by Lester J. Cappon and Stella F. Duff of the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Omohundro Institute) with additional Gloucester (including Kingston Parish) material not captured by the indexers. Annual lists of world events put local listings in context. Please review primary source material before citing.
From an index to the Virginia Gazette, produced in 1950 by Lester J. Cappon and Stella F. Duff of the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Omohundro Institute) with additional Gloucester (including Kingston Parish) material not captured by the indexers. Annual lists of world events put local listings in context. Please review primary source material before citing.