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4-VI

Part 4

CHAPTER. VI.

A Continuation of the Author’s particular Condition

after the Rebellion. Purchaseth a piece of Land.

My hap was to be quartered in a Countrey called Handapondown, lying to the Westward of the City of Cande. Which place liked me very well, being much nearer to the Sea than where I dwelt before, which gave me some probable hopes, that in time I might chance to make an escape. But in the mean time to free my self from the Suspition of the People, who watched me by Night, and by Day, had an eye to all my actions, I went to work with the help of some of my Neighbors to Build me another House upon the Bank of a River, and intrenched it round with a Ditch, and Planted an Hedge: and so began to settle my self; and followed my business in Knitting and going about the Countries a Trading; seeming to be very well contented in this Condition.

Lying so long at the City without allowance, I had spent all to some Seven shillings, which served me for a stock to set up again in these new Quarters. And by the Blessing of my most gracious God, which never failed me in all my Undertakings, I soon came to be well furnished with what that Countrey afforded: insomuch that my Neighbours and Townsmen no more suspected my running away; but earnestly advised me to marry, saying, It would be an ease and help to me, knowing that I then dressed my Victuals my self: having turned my Boy to seek his Fortune when we were at the City: They urged also, That it was not convenient for a young man as I was to live so solitarily alone in a house: and if it should so come to pass that the King should send me hereafter to my Country, their manner of Marriage, they said, was not like ours, and I might without any Offence discharge my Wife, and go away

I seemed not altogether to slight their counsel, that they might the less suspect I had any thoughts of mine own Countrey, but told them, That as yet I was not sufficiently stocked, and also, That I would look for one that I could love: tho in my heart I never purposed any such matter; but on the contrary, did heartily abhor all thoughts tending that way.

In this place I lived two years; and all that time could not get one likely occasion of running for it. For I thought it better to forbear running too great a hazard by being over hasty to escape, than to deprive my self of all hopes for the future, when time and experience would be a great help to me.

In the year MDCLXVI. the Hollanders came up and built a Fort just below me, there being but a ridge of Mountains between them and me. But tho so near, I could not come to them, a Watch being kept at every passage. The King sent down against them two great Commanders with their Armies, but being not strong enough to expel them, they lay in these Watches to stop them from coming up higher. The name of this Fort was called Arrandery. Which altho they could not prevent the Dutch from building at that time. Yet some years after when they were not aware, they fell upon it and took it, and brought all the People of it up to Cande, where those that remained alive of them were, when I came from thence.

In this Countrey of Hotteracourly, where the Dutch had built this Fort, were four English men placed, whereof I was one. All whom the King immediately upon the News of the Dutche’s Invasion, sent order to bring up out of the danger of the War into Cande Uda, fearing that which we were indeed intended to do, viz. to run away.

This Invasion happening so unexpectedly and our remove so sudden, I was forced to leave behind me that little Estate which God had given me, lying scattered abroad in Betel-nuts, the great Commodity of that Countrey, which I was then parting from: and much ado I had to get my Cloths brought along with me, the Enemies, as they called them, but my Friends being so near. And thus was I carried out of this Countrey as poor as I came into it, leaving all the fruits of my Labour and Industry behind me. Which called to my remembrance the words of Job. Naked came I into this world, and naked shall I return: God gave and God hath taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord.

We all four were brought up together into a Town on the top of a Mountain called Laggendenny. Where I and my dear Friend and fellow Prisoner, and fellow Batchelor Mr. John Lovelandlived together in one House. For by this time not many of our People were as we, that is, single men; but seeing so little hopes, despaired of their Liberty, and had taken Wives or Bedfellows.

At our first coming into this Town, we were very much dismayed, it being, one of the most dismal places that I have seen upon that Land. It stands alone upon the top of a Mountain, and no other Town near it, and not above four or five Houses in it. And oftentimes into this Town did the King use to send such Malefactors as he was minded suddenly to cut off. Upon these accounts our being brought to this place could not but scare us, and the more, because it was the King’s special Order and Command to place us in this very Town.

But this our trouble and dejection (thanks be to God) lasted but a day. For the King seemed to apprehend into what a fit of Fear and Sorrow this our Remove would cast us, and to be sensible, how sadly we must needs take it to change a sweet and pleasant Countrey, such as Handapondown and the Countrey adjacent was, for this most sad and dismal Mountain. And therefore the next day came a comfortable Message from the King’s own mouth, sent by no less Man than he, who had the chief Power and Command over those People who were appointed to give us our Victuals, where we were. This Message, which as he said himself, he was ordered by the King to deliver to the People in our hearing, was this, That they should not think that we were Malefactors, that is, such who having incurred the King’s displeasure were sent to be kept Prisoners there, but men whom his Majesty did highly esteem, and meant to promote to great Honour in his Service, and that they should respect us as such, and entertain us accordingly. And if their ability would not reach thereunto, it was the King’s Order, he said, to bid them sell their Cattel and Goods, and when that was done their Wives and Children, rather than we should want of our due allowance: which he ordered, should be as formerly we used to have: and Page 143if we had not Houses thatched, and sufficient for us to dwell in, he said, We should change, and take theirs.

This kind Order from the King coming so suddenly, did not a little comfort and encourage us. For then we did perceive the King’s purpose and intent in placing us in those remote Parts, was not to punish us, but them: that we might be his Instruments to Plague and take revenge of that People; who it seems had Plundred the King’s Palace in the time of the late Rebellion, when he left it and fled; for this Town lies near unto the same: and their Office lying about the Court they had the fairer opportunity of Plundering it. For the Service they are to perform to the King, is to carry his Pallenkine when he pleaseth to ride therein, and also to bring Milk every Morning to the Court, being Keepers of the King’s Cattel.

In this Town we remained some three years; by which time we were grown quite weary of the place, and the place and People also grown weary of us, who were but troublesom Guests to them; for having such great Authority given us over them, we would not lose it; and being four of us in call one of another, we would not permit or suffer them to domineer over us. Being thus tired with one anothers Company, and the King’s Order being of an old Date, we used all means we could to clear our selves of one another: often repairing unto the Court to seek to obtain a Licence that we might be removed and placed any where else. But there was none that durst grant it, because it was the King’s peculiar Command, and special Appointment that we must abide in that very Town.

During the time of our stay here, we had our Victuals brought us in good order and due season: the Inhabitants having such a charge given them by their Governour and he from the King, durst not do otherwise. So that we had but little to do, only to dress and eat, and sit down to knit.

I had used the utmost of my skill and endeavour to get a Licence to go down to my former Quarters, all things being now pretty well settled, hoping that I might recover some of my old Debts: but by no means could I obtain it. The denial of so reasonable a desire, put me upon taking leave. I was well acquainted with the way, but yet I hired a man to go with me, without which I could not get thro the Watches. For altho I was the Master and he the Man, yet when we came into the Watches, he was the Keeper and I the Prisoner. And by this means we passed without being suspected.

Being come into my old Quarters, by pretending that this man was sent down from the Magistrate to see that my Debts and Demands might be duely paid and discharged, I chanced to recover some of them, and the rest gave over for lost; for I never more looked after them. And so I began the world anew, and by the Blessing of God was again pretty well recruited before I left this Town.

In the time of my residence here, I chanced to hear of a small piece of Land that was to be sold. About which I made very diligent inquiry. For altho I was sore a weary of living in this Town, yet I could not get out of it, not having other new Quarters appointed me, unless I could provide a place for my self to remove to: which now God had put into my hand. As for the King’s Command I dreaded it not much, having found by observation, that the King’s Orders wear away by time, and the neglect of them comes at last to be unregarded. However I was resolved to put it to a hazard, come what will.

Altho I had been now some seven or eight years in this Land, and by this time came to know pretty well the Customs and Constitutions of the Nation, yet I would not trust my own knowledge, but to prevent the worst, I went to the Governor of that same Countrey where the Land lay, to desire his advice, whether or no I might lawfully buy that small piece of Land. He inquired, Whose and what Land it was, I informed him, That it had been formerly dedicated to a Priest, and he at his death had left it to his Grandson: who for want was forced to sell it. Understanding this, the Governor approved of the business, and encouraged me to buy it: saying, That such kind of Lands only were lawful here to be bought and sold, and that this was not in the least litigious.

Having gotten both his consent and advice, I went on chearfully with my purchase. The place also liked me wondrous well; it being a point of Land, standing into a Corn Field, so that Corn Fields were on three sides of it, and just before my Door a little Corn ground belonging thereto, and very well watered. In the Ground besides eight Coker-nut Trees, there were all sorts of Fruit Trees the Countrey afforded. But it had been so long desolate, that it was all overgrown with Bushes, and no sign of a House therein.

The price of this Land was five and twenty Larees, that is five Dollars, a great Sum of Money in the account of this Countrey; yet thanks be to God, who had so far inabled me after my late and great loss, that I was strong enough to lay this down. The terms of Purchase being concluded on between us, a Writing was made upon a leaf after that Countrey manner, witnessed by seven or eight Men of the best Quality in the Town: which was delivered to me, and I paid the Money, and then took Possession of the Land. It lyes some ten Miles to the Southward of the City of Cande in the County of Oudaneur, in the Town of Elledat.

Now I went about Building an House upon my Land, and was assisted by three of my Countreymen that dwelt near by, Roger Gold, Ralph Knight, and Stephen Rutland, and in short time we finished it. The Countrey People were all well pleased to see us thus busie our selves about buying of Land and Building of Houses, thinking it would ty our Minds the faster to their Countrey, and make us think the less upon our own.

Tho I had built my new House, yet durst I not yet leave my old Quarters in Laggendenny, but wait until a more convenient time fell out for that purpose. I went away therefore to my old home, and left my aforesaid three English Neighbours to inhabit in it in my absence. Not long after I found a fit season to be gone to my Estate at Elledat. And upon my going, the rest left the Town also, and went and dwelt elsewhere, each one where he best liked. But by this means we all lost a Privilege which we had before: which was that our Victuals were brought unto us, and now we were forced to go and fetch them our selves; the People alledging (true enough) that they were not bound to carry our Provisions about the Country after us.

Being settled in my new House, I began to plant my ground full of all sorts of Fruit Trees; and by the Blessing of God all grew and prospered, and yielded me great Plenty, and good increase, sufficient both for me, and for those that dwelt with me. For the three English men I left at my House when I departed back to Laggendenny, still lived with me. We were all single men; and we agreed very well together, and were helpful to one another. And for their help and assistance of me, I freely granted them Liberty to use and enjoy Whatsoever the ground afforded, as much as my self. And with a joynt consent it was concluded amongst us, That only single Men and Batchellors should dwell there, and such as would not he conformable to this present agreement should depart and absent himself from our Society, and also forfeit his right and claim to the forementioned Privilege, that is, to be cut off from all benefit of whatsoever the Trees and Ground afforded.

I thought fit to make such a Covenant, to exclude women from coming in among us, to prevent all strife and dissention, and to make all possible Provision for the keeping up love and quietness among our selves.

In this manner we four lived together some two years very lovingly and contentedly, not an ill word passing between us. We used to take turns in keeping at home, while the rest went forth about their Business. For our house stood alone and no Neighbour near it. Therefore we always left one within. The rest of the English men lived round about us, some four or five miles distant, some more. So that we were, as it were, within reach one of another; which made us like our present Situation the more.

Thus we lived upon the Mountains, being round about us beset with watches, most of our People being now married: so that now all talk and suspition of our running away was laid aside. Neither indeed was it scarce possible. The effect of which was, that now we could walk from one to the other, or where we would upon the Mountains, no man molesting or disturbing us in the least. So that we began to go about a Pedling, and Trading in the Country farther towards the Northward, carrying our Caps about to sell.

By this time two of our Company seeing but little hopes of Liberty, thought it too hard a task thus to lead a single life, and married. Which when they had done according to the former agreement departed from us. So that our Company was now reduced to two, viz. my Self and Stephen Rutland; whose inclination and resolution was as stedfast as mine against Marriage. And we parted not to the last, but came away together.

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