Sunday, 30 June 2013

Provision Suggestions 1639

Provision Suggestions 1639
What Provision is made for a Journey at Sea and what to carry with us for our use 
at Land by William Wood
from New-England's Prospect, being a true, lively and experimental Description of that part of 
America commonly called New-England, London 1639
Many peradventure at the looking over of these relations, may have inclinations or resolutions for the 
voyage; to whom I wish all prosperity in their undertakings; although I will use no forcive arguments to 
persuade any, but leave them to the relation; yet by way of advice, I would commend to them a few 
lines from the pen of experience. And because the way to New-England is over the sea, it will not be 
amiss to give you directions what is necessary to be carried. Many I suppose, know as well, or better 
than myself; yet all do not; to those my directions tend. Although every man have ship-provisions 
allowed him for his five pounds a man, which is salt beef, pork, salt fish, butter, cheese, pease 
pottage, water grewel, and such kind of victuals, with good biskets, and six shilling beer; yet it will be 
necessary to carry some comfortable refreshing of fresh victuals. As first, for such as have ability, 
some conserves, and good claret wine to burn [burnt wine is brandy] at sea; or you may have it by 
some of your vintners or wine-coopers burned here, and put up into vessels, which will keep much 
better than other burnt wine; it is a very comfortable thing for the stomach, or such as are sea-sick; 
sallad-oil likewise, prunes are good to be stewed, sugar for many things; white biskets, eggs, and 
bacon, rice, poultry, and some weather sheep to kill aboard the ship, and fine flour baked meats will 
keep about a week or nine days at sea. Juice of lemons, well put up, is good either to prevent or cure 
the scurvy. Here it must not be forgotten to carry small skillets, or pipkins, and small frying-pans, to 
dress their victuals in at sea. For bedding, so it be easy, and cleanly, and warm, it is no matter how 
old or coarse it be for the use of the sea; and so likewise for apparel, the oldest cloaths be the fittest, 
with a long coarse coat, to keep better things from the pitched ropes and planks. Whosoever shall put 
to sea in a stout and well-conditioned ship, having an honest master, and loving seaman, shall not 
need to fear but he shall find as good content at sea as a land...
Now for the encouragement of his men, he [the head of a family with servants] must not do as many 
have done (more through ignorance than desire) carry many mouths and no meat; but rather much 
meat for a few mouths. Want of due maintenance produceth nothing but a grumbling spirit with a 
sluggish idleness; when as those servants be well provided for, go through their employments with 
speed and chearfulness. For meal, it will be requisite to carry a hogshead and an half for every one 
that is a labourer, to keep him till he may receive the fruit of his own labours, which will be a year and 
a half after his arrival, if he land in May or June. He must likewise carry malt, beef, butter, cheese, 
some pease, good wines, vinegar, strong-waters, &c. Whosoever transports more of these than he 
himself useth, the overplus being sold, will yield as much profit as any other staple commodity. Every 
man likewise must carry over good store of apparel; for if he come to buy there, he will find it dearer 
than in England. Woollen cloth is a very good commodity, and linen better; as holland, lockram, 
flaxen, hempen, callico stuffs, linsey woolsies, and blue callico, green sayes for housewife's aprons, 
hats, boots, shoes, good Irish stockings, which if they be good, are much more serviceable than knit 
ones; all kind of grocery wares, such as sugar, prunes, raisins, currants, honey, nutmegs, cloves, &c soap, candles, and lamps, &c. All manner of household stuff is very good trade there, as pewter and 
brass, for the use of that country; warming-pans and stewing pans be of necessary use, and good 
traffick there. All manner of iron wares, as all manner of nails for houses, and all manner of spikes for 
building of boats, ships, and fishing stages; all manner of tools for workmen, hoes for planters, broad 
and narrow for setting and weeding; with axes, both broad and pitching axes. All manner of augers, 
piercing bits, whip-saws, two handed saws, froes, both for the riving of pailes, and laths, rings for 
beetle heads, and iron wedges; though all these be made in the country (there being divers 
blacksmiths) yet being a heavy commodity, and taking but a little storage, it is cheaper to carry such 
commodities out of England. Glass ought not to be forgotten of any that desire to benefit themselves, 
or the country; if it be well leaded, and carefully packed up, I know no commodity better for portage or 
sale. Here likewise must not be forgotten all utensils for the sea, as barbels, splitting knives, leads, 
and cod-hooks, and lines, mackrel hooks and lines, shark-hooks, seines, or bass-nets, large and 
strong, herring nets, &c. Such as would eat fowl, must not forget their six foot guns, their good 
powder, and shot of all sorts; a great round shot called Barnstable shot, is the best; being made of a 
blacker lead than ordinary shot. Furthermore, good pooldavies [a heavy canvas] to make sails for 
boots, roads, anchors for boats and pinnaces, are good; sea-coal, iron, lead, and mill-stones, flints, 
ordnances, and whatsoever a man conceive is good for the country, that will lie as ballast, he cannot 
be a loser by it. And lest I should forget a thing of so great importance, no man must neglect to 
provide himself, or those belonging to him, his ammunition, for the defence of himself and the 
country. For there is no man there that bears a head, but that bears military arms; even boys of 
fourteen years of age are practiced with men in military discipline, every three weeks. Whosoever 
shall carry over drums and English colours, pattesons [spear that is carried in front of troops], 
halberds, pikes, muskets, bandeleroes, with swords, shall not need to fear good gain for them; such 
things being wanting in the country.

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