Tuesday, 20 October 2009

New England settler letter.

Link to letterhttp://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bdorsey1/41docs/17-pon.html

I chose a letter from a son to his father and mother. The son, whose name is not mentioned, is an early settler of New England.

The settler states at the beginning of the letter than he is writing to his father to tell them about the new founded New England. The first description he makes of anything there is one about the Natives. He describes the Indians as “crafty people” who are deceiving, cheating, and subtle people. What I find most interesting about his description is how he refers to the Indians as “proper men”. After this he mentions how “many of them go naked with a skin about their loins.” To the English at this time, this sort of attire would be unheard of. However he does go on to say that some of the Indians are starting to get the Englishmen’s apparel.

From the letter, we learn that the people there were often subject to diseases. Diseases such as scurvy and burning fever had killed, while early on in the letter he talks of the decreasing number of Indians, thought to be due to the plague. This suggests that the Natives did not know much about diseases.

The way in which the land and agriculture is described gives us an interesting insight. The settler describes the land as “very rocky and hilly.” The ground is described as “champion” and the soil “fruitful”. He mentions that New England is a good source for timber, acorns, fish, however the cows produce less milk than those in “old” England.

Despite the settler talking highly of New England, what I found most significant about this letter, was found in the last paragraph. He states that he could not get buy without his yearly supplies from “old” England. He claims this would be hard to live without. It raises the question that perhaps some settlers arrived and realised that America was not all it was made out to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.