« VorigeDoorgaan »
fully performed it; and as to the rest, he pro-li fowls, and such things as we thought might be mised to recommend us to such as should give acceptable on board. us the best advice, and not impose upon us, which My governess was with us all this while, and was as much as could be desired.
went with us round into the Downs, as did also She then asked him if it would not be neces- the captain's wife, with whom she went back. I sary to furnish us with a stock of tools, and ma was never so sorrowful at parting with my own terials for the business of planting, and he said, mother as I was at parting with her, and I never “ Yes, by all means," and then she begged his saw her more. We had a fair easterly wind assistance in it. She told him she would furnishsprung up the third day after we came to the us with everything that was convenient, whatever Downs, and we sailed from thence the 10th of it cost her. "He accordingly gave her a long par April; nor did we touch any more at any place ticular of things necessary for a planter, which, till, being driven on the coast of Ireland by a very by his account, came to about fourscore or a hard gale of wind, the ship came to an anchor in hundred pounds; and in short, she went about | a little bay near the mouth of a river, whose as dexterously to buy them as if she had been an name I remember not, but they said the river old Virginia merchant; only that she bought, by came down from Limerick, and that it was the my direction, above twice as much of everything largest river in Ireland. as he had given her a list of.
Here being detained oy bad weather foi some These she put on board in her own name, took time, the captain, who continued the same kind, his bills of lading for them, and endorsed those good-humoured man as at first, took us both on bills of lading to my husband, insuring the cargo shore with him again : he did it now in kindness afterwards in her own name, by her order; so to my husband, who bore the sea very ill, and that we were provided for all events and for all was very sick, especially when it blew so hard.
Here we again bought in a store of fresh provi. I should have told you that my husband gave sions, especially beef, pork, mutton and fowls, her all his whole stock of one hundred and eighty and the captain stayed to pickle up five or six pounds, which, as I have said, he had about him barrels of beef, to lengthen out the ship's store. in gold, to lay out thus, and gave her a good sum We were here not above five days, when the besides; so that I did not break into the stock weather turning mild, and a fair wind, we set which I had left in her hands at all, but after we sail again, and in two and forty days came safe to had sorted out our whole cargo, we had yet near || the coast of Virginia. two hundred pounds in money, which was more When we drew near to the shore the captain than enough for our purpose.
|called me to him, and told me that he found by In this condition, very cheerful, and indeed my discourse, I had some relations in the place, joyful at being so happily accommodated as we and that I had been there before, and so he supwere, we set sail from Bugby's-Hole to Graves. posed I understood the custom in their disposing end, where the ship lay about ten days more, of the convict prisoners when they arrived. and where the captain came on board for good I told him I did not, and that as to what relaand all.
tions I had in the place, he might be sure I Here the captain offered us a civility which, would make myself known to none of them while indeed, we had no reason to expect ; namely, to I was in the circumstances of a prisoner, and let us go on shore, and refresh ourselves, upon that as to the rest, we left ourselves entirely to giving our words in å solemn manner that we him to assist us, as he was pleased to promise he would not go from him, and that we would re would do. turn peaceably on board again. This was such He told me I must get somebody in the place an evidence of his confidence in us, that it over- || to come and buy us as servants, and who must came my husband, who, in a mere principle of answer for us to the governor of the country, if gratitude, told him, as he could not be in any he demanded us. capacity to make a suitable return for such a I told him we should do as he should direct; favour, so he could not think of accepting of it; | so he brought a planter to treat with him, as it nor could he be easy that the captain should run | were, for the purchase of these two servants, my such a risk. After some mutual civilities, I gave || husband and me, and there we were formally my husband a purse, in which were eighty gui- || sold to him, and went ashore with him. Thie Deas, and he put it into the captain's hand : captain went with us, and carried us to a certain “There, captain," says he, " there is part of a house, whether it was to be called a tavern or not pledge for our fidelity ; if we deal dishonestly || I know not, but we had a bowl of punch there with you on any account, it is your own," and on made of rum, &c., and were very merry. this we went on shore.
1 After some time the planter gave us a certifi. Indeed the captain had assurance enough of cate of discharge, and acknowledgment of having our resolution to go, for that, having made such served him faithfully, and we were free from him provision to settle there, it did not seem rational the next morning to go whither we would. that we would chose to remain here, at the expense | For this piece of service the captain demanded and peril of life, for such it must have been, if of us six thousand weight of tobacco, which he we had been taken again. In a word, we went said he was accountable for to his freighter, and all on shore with the captain, and supped together which we immediately bought for him, and made in Gravesend, where we were very merry, stayed
him a present of twenty guineas besides, with all night, lay at the house where we supped, l' which he was abundantly satisfied.
came all very honestly on board again It is not proper to enter here into the parti. with him in the morning. Here we bought ten culars of what part of the colony of Virginia we
Led bottles of good beer, some wine, some ll settled in, for divers reasons. It may suffice to
mention that we went into the great river of|| herself known to him, and durst not take aby Potomac, the ship being bound thither; and notice of him. Let any mother of children that there we intended to have settled at first, though || reads this consider it, and but think with what afterwards we altered our minds.
anguish of mind I restrained myself; what ycaruThe first thing I did of moment, after having ings of soul I had in me to embrace him, and gotten all our goods on shore, and placed them weep over him; and how I thought all my enin a storehouse, or warehouse, which, with a trails turned within me, that my very bowels lodging, we hired at the small place or village moved, and I knew not what to do; as I Dow where we landed; I say, the first thing was to know not how to express those agonies. When inquire after my mother, and after my brother they went from me I stood gazing and trembling, (that fatal person whom I married as a husband, and looking after him as long as I could see him; as I have related at large). A little inquiry then sitting down on the grass, just at a place I furnished me with information that Mrs — had marked, I made as if I lay down to rest mpe, that is, my mother, was dead ; that my brother, but turned me from her, and lying on my face, or husband, was alive, which I confess I was not wept, and kissed the ground he had set his foot on. very glad to hear ; but which was worse, I found || I could not conceal my disorder so much from he was removed from the plantation where he | the woman but that she perceived it, and thought lived formerly, and where I lived with him, and I was not well, which I was obliged to pretend lived with one of his sons in a plantation just by was true ; upon which she pressed me to rise, the place where we landed, and where we had the ground being damp and dangerous, which I hired a warehouse.
did accordingly, and walked away. I was a little surprised at first, but as I ven. As I was going back again, and still talking of tured to satisfy myself that he could not know this gentleman and his son, a new occasion of me, I was not only perfectly easy, but had a melancholy offered itself thus. The woman great mind to see him, if it was possible to do began, as if she would tell me a story to divert so without his seeing me. In order to that, I me : “ There goes," says she, "a very odd tale found out by inquiry a plantation where he lived, among the neighbours where this gentleman and with a woman of that place, whom I got to formerly lived.” help me, like what we call a charwoman, I ram “ What was that?" said I. bled about towards the place as if I had only a || “ Why," says she, “ that old gentleman going mind to see the country and look about me. At to England when he was a young man, fell in last I came so near that I saw the dwelling- love with a young lady there, one of the finest house. I asked the woman whose plantation women that ever was seen here, and married her, that was? She said it belonged to such a man, and brought her over hither to his mother, who and looking out a little to our right hands, was then living. He lived here several years “ There,” says she, “is the gentleman that owns with her,” continued she," and had several the plantation, and his father with him.”
children by her, of which the young gentleman " What are their Christian names ?" said I. || that was with him now was one; but after some
" I know not,” said she, “ what the old gen- / time the old gentlewoman (his mother) talking to tleman's name is, but his son's name is Humphry, her of something relating to herself when she was and I believe," says she, “ the father's is so too." in England, and of her circumstances there,
“ You may guess, if you can, what a confused which were bad enough, the daughter-in-law mixture of joy and fright possessed my thoughts began to be very much surprised and uneasy; upon this occasion, for I immediately knew that and in short, examiniag farther into things, it this was nobody else but my own son, by that appeared past all contradiction that she (the old father she showed me, who was my own brother. gentlewoman) was her own mother; and that
I had no mask, but I ruffled my hood so about consequently that son was his wife's own brother, my face that I depended upon it, that after above || which struck the whole family with horror, and twenty years' absence, and withal not expecting put them into such a state of confusion that it anything of me in that part of the world, he had almost ruined them all. The young woman would not be able to know anything of me; but I would not live with him (the son); her brother I need not have used all that caution, for the old || and husband for a time went distracted, and at gentleman was grown dim-sighted by some dis- || last the young woman went away for England, temper which had fallen upon his eyes, and could and has never been heard of since." but just see well enough to walk about, and not It is easy to believe that I was strangely afrun against a tree, or into a ditch. The woman fected with this story; but it is impossible to that was with me had told me that by a mere describe the pature of my disturbance. I seemed accident, knowing nothing of what importance it astonished at the story, and asked her a thousand was to me.
I questions about the particulars, which I found As they drew near to us I said, “Does he she was thoroughly acquainted with. At last 1 know you, Mrs Owen ?" so they called the woman. began to inquire into the circumstances of the
“Yes,” said she, “if he hears me speak he will family ; how the old gentlewoman (I mean my know me; but he can't see well enough to know mother) died, and how she had left what she bad; me or anybody clse;" and so she told me the for my mother had promised me very solemnly, story of his sight as I have related
that when she died, she would do something for This made me secure, and so I threw open my me, and leave it so as that, if I was living, I hood again, and let them pass by me. It was a should one way or other come at it, without its wretched thing for a mother thus to see her own being in the power of her son (my brother and son, a handsome, comely young gentleman, in limy husband) to prevent it. flourishing circumstances, and durst not makell She told me she did not know exactly how it
was ordered; but she had been told that my li to whom we may communicate the joy of it or mother had left a sum of money, and had tied her the grief of it, be it which it will, or it will be a plantation for the payment of it, to be made good double weight upon the spirits, and perhaps to the daughter. if ever she could be heard of, become even insupportable in itself; and this I either in England or elsewhere ; and that the appeal to all human testimony for the truth of. trust was left with this son, who was the person. This was the cause why many times, men as that we saw with his father.
well as women, and men of the greatest and best This was news too good for me to make light | qualities otherwise, yet have found themselves of, and you may be sure filled my heart with a weak in this part, and have not been able to bear thousand thoughts, what course I should take, l: the weight of a secret joy or of a secret sorrow, how, and when, and in what manner I should make but have been obliged to disclose it, even for the myself known, or whether I should ever make || mere giving vent to themselves, and to unbend myself known or no.
the mind, oppressed with the load and weight Here was a perplexity that I had not indeed which attended it. Nor was this any token of skill to manage myself in, neither knew I what folly and thoughtlessness at all, but a natural course to take. It lay heavy upon my mind consequence of the thing; and such people, had night and day, I could neither sleep or converse, they struggled longer with the oppression, would so that my husband perceived it, and wondered certainly have told it in their sleep, and disclosed what ailed me, strove to divert me, but it was all the secret, let it have been of what fatal nature to no purpose. He pressed me to tell him what soever, without regard to the person to whom it it was troubled me, but I put it off, till at last im- || might be exposed. This necessity of nature is a portuning me continually, I was forced to form a thing which works sometimes with such vehe. story, which yet had a plain truth to lay it upon mence in the minds of those who are guilty of too. I told him I was troubled because I found | any atrocious villany, such as secret murder in we must shift our quarters, and alter our scheme particular, that they had been obliged to discover of settling, for that I found I should be known, it, though the consequences would necessarily be if I staid in that part of the country; for that my their own destruction. Now, though it may be mother being dead, several of my relations were true that the divine justice ought to have the come into that part where we then were, and glory of these discoveries and confessions, yet it that I must either discover myself to them, which is as certain that Providence, which ordinarily in our present circumstances was not proper on | works by the hands of nature, makes use here of many accounts, or remove ; and which to do I the same natural causes to produce those extraknew not; and that this it was that made me so ordinary effects. melancholy and so thoughtful.
I could give several remarkable instances of He joined me in this, that it was by no means this in my long conversation with crimes and proper for me to make myself known to anybody with criminals. I knew one fellow, that, while I in the circumstances in which we then were; was a prisoner in Newgate, was one of those and he told me he would be willing to remove to they called then Night-Flyers. I know not any other part of the country, or even into any what other word they may have understood it by other country, if I thought fit. But now I had since, but he was one who, by connivance, was another difficulty, which was, that if I removed I permitted to go abroad every evening, when he to any other colony, I might put myself out of played his pranks, and furnished those honest the way of ever making a due search after those people they call thief-catchers with business to effects which my mother had left. Again, I find out next day, and restore for a reward what could never so much as think of breaking the they stole the evening before. This fellow was secret of my former marriage to my new husband. | as sure to talk in his sleep all that he had done, It was not a story, as I thought that would bear and every step he had taken, and what he had telling, nor could I tell what might be the con stolen, and where, as sure as if he had been sequence of it; and it was impossible to search engaged to tell it waking, and as if there was into the bottom of the thing without making it no harm or danger in it, and therefore he was public all over the country, as well who I was obliged, after he had been out, to lock himself up, | as what I now was also.
or be locked up by some of the keepers that had In this perplexity I continued a great while, | him in fee, that nobody should hear him; but, on and this made my spouse very uneasy; for he the other hand, if he had told all the particulars, found me perplexed, and yet thought I was not and given a full account of his rambles and sucopen with him, and did not let him into every cess to any comrade, any brother thief, or to his part of my grievances; and he would often say emp!oyers, as I may fairly call them, then all was be wondered what he had done that I would not well with him, and he slept as quietly as other trust him with whatever it was, especially if it I people. was grievous and afflicting. The truth is, he || As the publishing this, account of my life, is for ought to have been trusted with everything, the sake of the just moral of every part of it, and for no man in the world could deserve better of a for instruction, caution, warning, and improvewise; but this was a thing I knew not how to ment to every reader, so this will not pass, I hope, open to him, and yet having no one to disclose for an unnecessary digression concerning some any part of it to, the burthen was too heavy for people being obliged to disclose the greatest my mind; for let them say what they please of secrets either of their own or other people's our sex not being able to keep a secret, my life is affairs. a plain conviction to me of the contrary. But, ||
| Under the certain oppression of this weight be it our sex or the man's sex, a secret of moment upon my mind, I laboured in the case I have been should always have a confidant, a bosom friend, li naming'; and the only relief I found for it, was to
let my husband into so much of it as I thought! These were, therefore, difficulties insurmount: would convince him of the necessity there was able, and such as I knew not what to do in. I for us to think of settling in some other part of had such strong impressions on my mind about the world, and the next consideration before us discovering myself to my brother, formerly my was, which part of the English settlements we husband, that I could not withstand them; and should go to.
the rather, because it ran coastantly in my My husband was a perfect stranger to the thoughts, that if I did not do it while he lived, I country, and had not yet so much as a geogra. might in vain endeavour to convince my son phical knowledge of the situation of the several || afterward that I was really the same person, and places; and I, that, till I wrote this, did not know that I was his mother, and so might both lose what the word geographical signified, had only a the assistance and comfort of the relation, and general knowledge from long conversation with the benefit of whatever it was my mother had people that came from or went to several places; left me; and yet, on the other hand, I could nebut this I knew, that Maryland, Pensylvania, ver think it proper to discover myself to them in East and West Jersey, New York, and New the circumstances I was in; as well relating to England, lay all north of Virginia, and that they the having a husband with me, as to my being were conscquently all colder climates, to which, brought over by a legal transportation as a cri. for that very reason, I had an aversion; for that minal ; on both which accounts it was absolutely as I naturally loved warm weather, so now I necessary for me to remove from the place where grew into years, I had a stronger inclination to || I was, and come again to him, as from another shun a cold climate. I therefore considered of place, and in another figure, going to Carolina, which is the only southern Upon these considerations I went on with tell. colony of the English on the continent of ing my husband the absolute necessity there America; and hither I proposed to go ; and the was of our not settling in Potowmac river, at rather, because I might with great ease come least that we should be presently made public from thence at any time, when it might be pro there, whereas if we went to any other place in per to inquire after my mother's effects, and to the world, we should come in with as much remake nyself known enough to demand them. putation as any family that came to plant. That
With this resolution, I proposed to my hus as it was always agreeable to the inhabitants to band our going away from where we were, and have families come among them to plant who carrying all our effects with us to Carolina, || brought substance with them, either to purchase where we resolved to settle, for iny husband plantations or begin new ones, so we should be readily agreed to the first part, viz. :-that it sure of a kind, agreeable reception, and that was not at all proper to stay where we were, without any possibility of a discovery of our cirsince I had assured him we should be known cumstances. there, and the rest 1 effectually concealed from I told him, too, that as I had several relations him.
in the place where he was, and that I durst not But now I found a new difficulty upon me. ll now let myself be known to them, because they The main affair grew heavy upon my mind still. would soon come to know the occasion of my I could not think of going out of the country, coming over, which would be to expose myself to without somehow or other making inquiry into the last degree ; 30 I had reason to believe that the grand affair of what my mother had done for my mother who died here had left me something, me, nor could I with any patience bear the thought and perhaps something considerable, which it of going away and not making myself known to might be very well worth my while to inquire my old husband (brother), or to my child, his after ; but that this too could not be done with. son, only I would fain have had this done without out exposing us publicly, unless we went from my new husband having any knowledge of it, or hence; and then, wherever we settled, I migbt they having any knowledge of him, or that I had come, as it were, to visit and to see my brother such a thing as a husband.
and nephews, make myself known, inquire after I cast about innumerable ways in my thoughts what was my due, be received with respect, and how this might be done. I would gladly have at the same time have justice done me; whereas, sent my husband away to Carolina, with all our | if I did it now, I could expect nothing but with goods, and have come after myself, but this was trouble, such as exacting it by force, receiving impracticable. He would never stir without me, it with curses and reluctance, and with all kinds being himself perfectly unacquainted with the of affronts, which he would perhaps not bear to see. country, and with the methods of settling there, That in case of being obliged to produce legal or anywhere else.
proofs of being really her daughter, I might be Then I thought we woulá both go first with at a loss, be obliged to have recourse to Eag. part of our goods, and that when we were settled, land, and, it might be, to fail at last, and so lose I should come back to Virginia and fetch the re it. mainder ; but even then I knew he would never With these arguments, and having thus acpart with me, and be left there to go alone. The quainted my husband with the whole secret so case was plain : he was bred a gentleman, and far as was needful to him, we resolved to go and of consequence was not only unacquainted, but seek a settlement in some other colony; and at indolent, and when we did settle would rather go first thoughts, Carolina was the place we pitched out into the woods with his gun, which they call upon. there hunting, and which is the ordinary work la order to this we began to make inquiry for of the Indians, and which they do as servants ; vessels going to Carolina, and in a very little I said he would much rather do this, than attend | while got information, that on the other side the to the natural business of his plantation, Il bay, as they call it, namely, in Maryland, there
was a ship which came from Carolina, laden with months or thereabouts afterwards by his direction rice and other goods, and was going back again we took a large piece of land from the governor thither, and from thence to Jamaica, with pro of that country, in order to form our plantation, visions. On this news we hired a sloop to take and so we laid the thoughts of going to Carolina in our goods, and taking, as it were, a final fare. wholly aside, having been very well received here, well of Potowmac river, we went with all our and accommodated with a convenient lodging, cargo over to Maryland.
till we could prepare things and have land enough This was a long and unpleasant voyage, and cured, and timber and materials provided for my spouse said it was worse to him than all the building us a house, all which we managed by voyage from England, because the weather was the direction of the Quaker; so that in one but indifferent, the water rough, and the vessel || year's time we had near fisty acres of land cleared, small and inconvenient; in the next.place, we || part of it enclosed, and some of it planted with were full a hundred miles up Potowmac river, li tobacco, though not much; besides, we had in a part which they call Westmoreland county; ll garden ground, and corn sufficient to help to and as the river is by far the greatest in Vir- | supply our servants with roots, and herbs, and ginia, and I have heard say it is the greatest river bread. in the world that falls into another river, and not And now I persuaded my husband to let me directly into the sea, so we had bad weather in li go over the Bay again, and inquire after my it, and were frequently in great danger; for friends; he was the willinger to consent to it though they call it but a river, it is frequently now because he had business upon his hands so broad, that when we were in the middle we sufficient to employ him, besides his gun to divert could not see land on either side for many leagues | him, which they call hunting there, and which together. Then we had the great river, or bay of || he greatly delighted in; and indeed we used to Chesapeake, to cross, which is, where the river || look at one another, sometimes with a great deal Potowmac falls into it, near thirty miles broad, || of pleasure, reflecting how much better that was, and we entered more great vast waters, whose not than Newgate only, but than the most prosnames I know not, so that our voyage was full || perous of our circumstances in the wicked trade two hundred miles, in a poor sorry sloop, with all that we had both been carrying on. our treasure ; and if any accident had happened Our affairs were in a very good posture; we to us, we might have been very miserable, sup purchased of the proprietors of the colony as posing we had lost our goods and saved our lives much land for thirty-five pounds, paid in ready only, and had been then left naked and destitute, money, as would make a sufficient plantation to and in a wild strange place, not having one friend | employ between fifty and sixty gervants, and or acquaintance in that part of the world. The which, being well improved, would be sufficient very thought of it gives me some horror, even to us as long as we could either of us live ; and since the danger is past.
| as for children I was past the prospect of anyWell, we came to the place in five days sailing, || thing of that kind. I think they call it Philips's Point; and behold, But our good fortune did not end here ; I went, when we came thither, the ship bound to Caro- as I have said, over the Bay, to the place where lina was loaded and gone away but three days my brother (once a husband) lived; but I did before. This was a disappointment; but, how not go to the same village where I was before, ever, I, that was to be discouraged with nothing, but went up another great river, on the east side told my husband that since we could not get a of the river Potowmack, called Rapahannock passage to Carolina, and that the country we river, and by this means came on the back of his were in was very fertile and good, we would, if plantation, which was large, and by the help of a he liked it, see if we could find out anything for navigable creek, or little river, that run into our turn where we were ; and that, if he liked | Rapahannock, I came very near it. things, we would settle here.
| I was now fully resolved to go up, point blank, We immediately went on shore, but found no to my brother (husband), and to tell him who I convenience, just at that place, either for our was; but not knowing what temper I might find being on shore or preserving our goods on shore, him in, or how much out of temper rather, I but were directed by a very honest Quaker, who might make him by such a rash visit. I rewe found there, to go to a place about sixty miles solved to write a letter to him first, to let him know east, that is to say, nearer the mouth of the who I was, and that I was come not to give him Bay, where he said he lived, and where we any trouble upon the old relation, which I hoped should be accommodated, either to plant, or to was entirely forgot, but that I applied to him as wait for any other place to plant in that might a sister to a brother, desiring his assistance in be more convenient; and he invited us with so the case of that provision which our mother at much kindness and simple honesty, that we her decease had left for my support, and which agreed to go, and the Quaker himself went with I did not doubt but he would do me justice in;
especially considering that I was come thus far Here we bought two servants, viz, an English || to look after it. woman servant just come on shore from a ship I said some very tender kind things in the of Liverpool, and a negro man servant; things | letter about his son, which I told him he knew to absolutely necessary for all people that pretended be my own child, and that as I was guilty of to settle in that country. This honest Quaker nothing in marrying him any more than he was was very helpful to us, and when we came to the in marrying me, neither of us having then known place that he proposed to us found us out a our being at all related to one another, so I convenient storehouse for our goods, and lodging hoped he would allow me the most passionate for ourselves and our servants; and about two || desire of once seeing my one and only child, and