is the glory of every Nation to enlarge themselves, to encourage
their own foreign attempts, and to be able to be able to have
their own, within their territories, as many several commodities
as they can attain to, that so others may rather be beholding
to them, than they to others....
alas, we Englishmen...do not only fail in this, but vilify,
scandalize and cry down such parts of the unknown world, as
have been found out, settled and made flourishing, by the charge,
hazard, and diligence of their own brethren, as if because removed
from us, we either account them people of another world or enemies.
is too truly made good in the odious and cruel slanders cast
on those two famous Countries of Virginia and Mary-land, whereby
those Countries, not only are many times at a stand, but are
in danger to moulder away, and come in time to nothing....
Country [Virginia] is reported to be an unhealthy place, a nest
of Rogues, whores, dissolute and rooking persons; a place of
intolerable labour, bad usage and hard Diet, &c. To Answer
these several calumnies, I shall first shew what it was? Next,
what it is?
the first settling and many years after, it deserved most of
those aspersions (nor were they aspersions but truths).... Then
were Jails emptied, youth seduced, infamous women drilled in,
the provisions all brought out of England, and that embezzled
by the Trustees (for they durst neither hunt fowl, nor Fish,
for fear of the Indian, which they stood in awe of) their labour
was almost perpetual, their allowance of victual small, few
or no cattle, no use of horses nor oxen to draw or carry, (which
labours men supplied themselves) all of which caused a mortality;
no civil courts of justice but under a martial law, no redress
of grievances, complaints were repaid with stripes...in a word
all and the worst that tyranny could inflict....
And having briefly laid down the former state of Virginia, in
its Infancy, and filth, and the occasion of its scandalous aspersions:
I come to my main subject, its present condition of Happiness
(if anything can be called happy in this transitory life)....
usual allowance for servants is (besides their charge of passage
defrayed) at their expiration, a year's provision of corn, double
apparel, tools necessary, and land according to the custom of
the Country, which is an old delusion, for there is no land
customarily due to the servant, but to the Master, and therefore
that servant is unwise that will not dash out that custom in
his covenant and make that due of land absolutely his own, which
although at the present, not of so great consequences; yet in
few years will be of much worth....
When ye go aboard, expect the Ship somewhat troubled and in
a hurlyburly, until ye clear the lands end; and that the Ship
is rummaged, and things put to rights, which many times discourages
the Passengers, and makes them wish the Voyage unattempted:
but this is but for a short season, and washes off when at Sea,
where the time is pleasantly passed away, though not with such
choice plenty as the shore affords.
when ye arrive and are settled, ye will find a strange alteration,
an abused Country giving the lie to your own approbations to
those that have calumniated it....
labour servants are put to, is not so hard nor of such continuance
as Husbandmen, nor Handicraftmen are kept at in England, I said
little or nothing is done in winter time, none ever work before
sun rising nor after sun set, in the summer they rest, sleep
or exercise themselves give hours in the heat of the day, Saturdays
afternoon is always their own, the old Holidays are observed
and the Sabbath spent in good exercises.
women are not (as is reported) put into the ground to work,
but occupy such domestic employments and housewifery as in England,
that is dressing victuals, right up the house, milking, employed
about dairies, washing, sewing, &c. and both men and women
have times of recreations, as much or more than in any part
of the world besides, yet some wenches that are nastily, beastly
and not fit to be so employed are put into the ground, for reason
tells us, they must not at charge be transported then maintained
for nothing, but those that prove so awkward are rather burthensome
than servants desirable or useful....
Servants that will be industrious may in their time of service
gain a competent estate before their Freedoms, which is usually
done by many, and they gain esteem and assistance that appear
so industrious: There is no Master almost but will allow his
Servant a parcel of clear ground to cut some Tobacco in for
himself, which he may husband at those many idle times he hath
allowed him and not prejudice, but rejoice his Master to see
it, which in time of Shipping he may lay out for commodities,
and in Summer sell them again with advantage and get a Pig or
two, which any body almost will give him, and his Master suffer
him to keep them with his own, which will be no charge to his
Master, and with one years increase of them may purchase a Cow
Calf or two, and by that time he is for himself; he may have
Cattle, Hogs and Tobacco of his own, and come to live gallantly;
but this must be gained (as I have said) by Industry and affability,
not by sloth nor churlish behavior.
whereas it is rumoured that Servants have no lodging other then
on boards, or by the Fire side, it is contrary to reason to
believe it: First, as we are Christians; next as people living
under a law, which compels as well the Master as the Servant
to perform his duty; nor can true labour be either expected
or exacted without sufficient clothing, diet, and lodging; all
which their Indentures (which must inviolably be observed) and
the Justice of the Country requires.
if any go thither, not in a condition of a Servant, but pay
his or her passage, which is some six pounds: Let them not doubt
but it is money well laid out...although they carry little else
to take a Bed along with them, and then few Houses but will
give them entertainment, either out of courtesy, or on reasonable
terms; and I think it better for any that goes over free, and
but in a mean condition, to hire himself for reasonable wages
of Tobacco and Provision, the first year, provided he happen
in an honest house, and where the Mistress is noted for a good
Housewife, of which there are very many (notwithstanding the
cry to the contrary) for by that means he will live free of
disbursement, have something to help him the next year, and
be carefully looked to in his sickness (if he chance to fall
sick) and let him so covenant that exceptions may be made, that
he work not much in the hot weather, a course we always take
with our new hands (as they call them) the first year they come
they are women that go after this manner, that is paying their
own passages; I advise them to sojourn in a house of honest
repute, for by their good carriage, they may advance themselves
in marriage, by their ill, overthrow their fortunes; and although
loose persons seldom live long unmarried if free; yet they match
with as dissolute as themselves, and never live handsomely or
are ever respected.....
sure to have your contract in writing and under hand and seal,
for if ye go over upon promise made to do this or that, or to
be free, it signifies nothing.
Hammond, Leah and Rachel, or, The Two Fruitful Sisters
Virginia and Mary-land: Their Present Condition, Impartially