Robert Barclay appointed governor of East-Jersey; and T. Rudyard deputy;

Letters from Rudyard, S. Groome, Lawrie and others, concerned in that



We have seen that the Scotch had a considerable share in the settlement of

East-Jersey, many of them and a number that arrived afterwards, fixed about

Amboy, and up Rariton: The proprietors appointed Robert Barclay, (author

of the apology) governor for life;1 and Thomas Rudyard, (a lawyer or

attorney in London, noted for his assistance at the trial of Penn and

Meade) deputy governor; which last arrived at his government, the latter

end of last, or beginning of this year: His account of the country soon

after his arrival, may not be unacceptable:


"East-Jersey, the 30th of the 3d month called May, 1683.


"Dear B. G.


"To be as particular in my turn, were but thy due; yet I cannot promise so

much; however I may give thee some general account of the province, and of

our satisfaction with our present lot, the short time I have experenced

this: But to give thee also, as thou desires, a character of Pennsylvania,

and West-Jersey, that will be a task I must be excused to undertake, lest

I give offence, or at least bring me under censure as partial: Were I not

concerned in any of the provinces, I might satisfy thy curiosity; but

being chiefly interested in this, I'll be very cautious meddling with my

neighbours, more than here, one with another; so I may use my freedom with

my neighbours, which they take not ill, but not write what may be taken

otherways. They lie so near adjacent, that they may be said in a sense, to

be but one country; and what's said for one, in general may serve for all.

I have been at Burlington, and at Pennsylvania, as far as Philadelphia;

which lies about twenty miles below Burlington: That journey by land, gave

me some view of all the provinces; and made me considerably to estimate

this of East-Jersey, having some conveniencies esteemed by me, which the

others are not so plentifully furnished withal, viz. fresh and salt

meadows, which now are very valuable; and no man here will take up a tract

of land without them, being the support of their stock in winter; which

other parts must supply by store, and taking more care for English grass:

But know, where salt marshes are not, there is no musketoes, and that

manner of land the more health; and this was often answered me, when I

have been making comparisons. I must tell thee, their character in print,

by all that reads it here, is said to be modest, and much more might have

been said in its commendation: We have one thing more particular to us,

which the others want also, which is vast oyster banks, which is constant

fresh victuals, during the winter, to English, as well as Indians; of

these there are many all along our coasts, from the sea, as high as

against New-York, whence they come to fetch them; so we are supplied with

salt fish at our doors, or within half a tide's passage; and fresh fish in

abundance, in every little brook, as pearch, trout, eels, &c. which we

catch at our doors.


Provisions here are very plentiful, and people generally well stocked with

cattle: New-York and Burlington have hitherto been their market; few or

no trading men being here in this province: I believe it hath been very

unhappy heretofore, under an ill managed government; and most of the

people are such who have been invited from the adjacent colonies, by the

goodness of its soil, and convenient situation: At Amboy we are now

building some small houses, of 30 feet long, and 18 feet broad; fitting to

entertain workmen, and such who will go and build larger: The stones lie

exceeding well and good, up the Rariton river a tide's passage; and oyster

shells upon the point, to make lime withal; which will wonderfully

accomodate us in building good houses cheap, warm for winter, and cool for

summer; and durable covering for houses are shingles, oak, chesnut, and

cedar; we have plentiful here of all; the last endures a man's life, if he

lives to be old: There is five or six saw-mills going up here this spring;

two at work already, which abates the price of boards half in half; and all

other timber for building; for altho' timber costs nothing, yet

workmanship by hand, was London price, or near upon it, and sometimes

more; which these mills abate; we buy oak and chesnut boards no cheaper

than last year: My habitation with Samuel Groome, is at Elizabeth-Town,

and here we came first; it lies on a fresh small river; with a tide ships

of 30 or 40 tuns, come before our doors. Throughout this town is good

English grass, and bears a very good burthen: We cannot call our

habitations solitary; for what with the publick employ, I have little less

company at my house daily, than I had in George Yard; altho' not so many

passes by my doors: The people are generally a sober professing people,

wise in their generation, courteous in their behaviour, and respectful to

us in office among them: As for the temperature of the air, it is

wonderfully situated to the humours of mankind; the wind and weather

rarely holding in one point, or one kind, for ten days together; it is a

rare thing for a vessel to be wind bound for a week together, the wind

seldom holding in a point more than 48 hours; and in a short time we have

wet and dry, warm and cold weather; which changes, we often desire in

England, and look for before they come; yet this variation creates not

cold, nor have we the tenth part of the colds we have in England: I never

had any since I came; and in the midst of winter and frosts, could endure

it with less cloaths than in England; for generally I go with the same

cloaths I used to wear in summer with you; but warm cloaths hurt not. I

bless the Lord, I never had better health, nor my family; my daughters are

very well improved in that respect, and tell me they would not change

their place for George Yard, nor would I. People here are generally

settled where the tide reaches; and altho' this is good land, and well

timbered, and plentifully supplied with salt marsh; yet there is much

better land up higher on the river, where they may go up with small boats,

where many now are settling. There's extraordinary land, fresh meadows

overflowed in the winter time, that produces multitudes of winter corn;

and it's believed will endure 20, 30, or 50 years ploughing, without

intermission, and not decay: Such land there is at Esopus, on Hudson's

river, which hath bore winter corn about 20 years, without help, and is as

good as at first, and better. William Penn took a view of the land, this

last month, when here; and said he had never seen such before in his life:

All the English merchants, and many of the Duteh, have taken, and are

desirous to take up plantations with us:


Our country here, called Bergen, is almost Dutchmen; at a town called

Newark, seven or eight miles hence, is made great quantities of cyder;

exceeding any we can have from New-England, Rhode-Island, or Long-Island:

I hope to make 20 or 30 barrels out of our orchard next year, as they have

done who had it before me; for that, it must be as providence orders. Upon

our view and survey of Amboy point, we find it extraordinary well situate

for a great town or city, beyond expectation; at low water, round about

the point, are oysters of two kinds, small as English, and others two or

three mouthfulls, exceeding good for roasting and stewing; the people say,

our oysters are good, and in season all summer; the first of the third

month I eat of them at Amboy very good:


The point is good lively land, ten, some places twenty foot above the

water mark. About it are several coves, where vessels may lay up

conveniently; besides great ships of any burthen, may all ride before the

town, land lock'd against all winds; there Rariton river runs up, or rather

down 50, far larger some say 100 miles, for small boats. I saw several

vines upon the pomt, which produces, as they say, good grapes in their

season; this country is very full of them; but being not present profit,

few regard them more, than to pick them as they lay in their way, when they

are ripe. We have store of clams, esteemed much better than oysters; on

festivals the Indians feast with them; there are shallops, but in no great

plenty: Fish we have great store, as our relation sets forth; but they are

very good when catch'd (as the proverb is). I have several barrels by me

now, which are good for our table, and for sale. I brought a sea net over

with me, which may turn to good account; sea nets are good merchandize

here; mine cost me about four or five pounds, and can have twenty pounds

for it, if I would sell it now. I may write of many such matters in our

province, which may invite persons here; but so am resolved to conclude,

knowing that in probability, there is not an industrious man, but by God's

blessing, may not only have a comfortable, but plentiful supply of all

things necessary for this life; with the salutation of my true affection

to all, &c. I rest, thy affectionate friend,



Samuel Groome, one of the proprietors, and surveyor general of East-Jersey,

also wrote to his fellow proprietors, as follows:


"East-Jersey, the 11th of August, 1683.


"Friends and fellow proprietors.


"Since my last I have now sounded the channel from Amboy to Sandy-Hook,

and find it to be a broad and bold channel, in no place less than three

fathom at high-water, in ordinary tides four, or five, or six fathom

except in one short place: Rariton river is a good river, and hath a good

tide of flood overpowering the freshes about thirty miles above Amboy;

after its flood, the tide hath no force against the freshes, which come

out of several branches of Rariton, and joins in one, forty or fifty miles

above Amboy. I have spent a considerable time in making discovery: I have

not as yet, had time to lay out much land for you, only about seventeen or

eighteen thousand acres in one tract, good upland, near Elizabeth-Town. I

have now seen the tract of land against or nigh Amboy point, formerly laid

out by Vanquillin; it is on the west side of a creek called Chingerorus,

about eight thousand acres, and I intend shortly to lay as much, or twice

as much more to it; but first we must talk with the natives about that,

and other tracts of land, that they are not yet paid for: The last day of

this month is appointed to treat with several Indians, to buy several

exceeding good tracts, nigh the head of Rariton.


"The tenth of next month is also appointed to treat with other Indians, to

buy other tracts of choice meadowing and upland, that lieth about twelve

or thirteen miles up into the country, which I have seen; and when we have

accomplished these two things, we shall be able to lay out for you much

land; and when I have been up in the country, towards, and at Barnagat,

and agreed with the Indians thereabout, for such land as we may see

occasion to purchase presently, in order to a settlement there; for here

are many both of New-England, New-York, and some parts of this province,

stands ready to sit down in that part of the country, not only for the

sake of the good upland and meadows, which report saith is much

thereabout, but also for the sake of the whale trade, and other fishing

trade, which is like to be there shortly. New-England-men and others, were

a tampering with the Indians, to have purchased there, before and since we

came; but now they are out of hopes of coming in at that door; so now they

make their addresses to us, and would have us to purchase and let them

come in our tenants; or otherways as we may agree: I intend to attempt

these things this fall: I have not been much on the south side of Rariton,

only upon some upland at several places, and upon the tract of eight

thousand three hundred and twenty acres of yours aforementioned, and also

on the meadowing that lies on the south side of Rariton above Amboy, a

year or two since purchased of the Indians, in the name of Dame Carteret,

though it was never intended for her; nor for any proprietor; but as it

fell out, they quarrelled about disposing and sharing thereof; so it is

now without controversy yours. Now know, that Rariton river is

accommodated on both sides with salt and fresh meadows; salt as far as the

salt sea water flows, or predominates; and fresh above, as the river

Thames: We have above three thousand acres of meadowing butting on the

river; I hope it will never hurt Amboy town:


Besides, report saith, that the upland next adjoining to this meadowing,

beginning over against Amboy, and so up ten or twelve miles, to a river

that strikes out of Rariton south, and is called South River, is but mean



"It may be well, if you would agree to take each one a twenty fourth part

of lands as we lay them out, whether it be more or less, or else take five

hundred acre lots, and let these lots be cast when twenty four times five

hundred acres is laid out; and where we can make greater lots, we may. We

have now got up three houses at Amboy, and three more ready to be set up,

but workmen are scarce, and many of them base; the best will work but when

they can spare time out of their plantations: If no help comes, it will be

long e'er Amboy be built as London is; housing will bring a trade to that

place: The Indians come thither to get fish, fowl, oysters, clams,

mussels, &c. (as people go to market for things they want) and these

Indians bring at seasons, great quantities of skins down Rariton, so by

Amboy and to New-York; where they have a continual supply of things they



"Well, here is a brave country, the ground very fruitful, and wonderfully

inclinable to English grass; as clover, &c. It predominates over the more

wild grass, very little barren, much dry upland, and good meadow: Some

fenny, swampy land, and small running brooks and rivers, throughout all

the parts of the country I have seen; and these fenny and swampy lands

bear great burdens of grass; in short, the land is four times better than

I expected. We must needs be out of some money at present to purchase

lands of the Indians, but that will be soon got in with profit, as people

come to inhabit and take up land, and pay, as always they have done, their

part of purchase from the Indians: Here is great talk of the braveries of

the place and land: Barnagat I intend to see shortly after the season is

fitting to go by land and water to it; I intend to go by water in a sloop,

to see how convenient it is by water, and from thence come by land; so

then I shall tell you more: Ye must expect to be at charges for doing

these and such other things: I purpose shortly to write to, and demand of

all places the quit rents and arrears; they generally say they will pay:

Capt. Berrie is two or three hundred pounds behind in arrears, as is said;

because his case differs from others a little, I'll (God permitting) begin

with him first of all about his rent, &c. and either have rent, or land:

What you write concerning building and repairing, shall be observed: I

wish I were fairly rid of all the goods I have of yours, and my own, at

twenty eight per cent. excepting such as are for the Indian trade: These

parts of America are accommodated with English goods; nevertheless when I

pay workmen and labourers, I pay them goods rated cent. per cent. New-York

money; but then I must pay them two or three parts silver; which I procure

with goods as well as I can.


"The houses at Amboy are thirty feet long, and sixteen wide, ten feet

betwixt joint and joint, a double chimney made with timber, and clay as

the manner of this country is to build, will stand in about fifty pounds

a house; this pay procured here for twenty five in goods the first cost.

I shall make you no return this year, seeing we are about purchasing and

surveying; all which will run out money in this place, where men are so

scarce to be had; on such accounts, I must as well as I can, turn your

goods into money, provision and goods for Indians, I have laid out Amboy

into one hundred and fifty lots, and have sent home a draught of it.



Gawen Lawrie arriving this year deputy governor of East-Jersey, under

Robert Barclay, chose a fresh council; Richard Hartshorne one of them:

There having been considerable disturbances in the province, especially

about Middletown and Woodbridge, relating to town affairs;3 their prudent

conduct contributed to the quiet of the province: The two following

letters, wrote soon after Lawrie's arrival, contain, as well his

sentiments of the country, as some of the principal transactions of those



"Gawen Lawrie, to the proprietors at London.


"Elizabeth-Town, 1 Month 2d, 1684.


"I took up several days with countrymen, and others, to view the ground

and water; at last I pitched upon a place, where a ship of 300 tun may

ride safely within a plank length of the shore, at low water; adjoining

thereto is a piece of marsh ground, about twelve perches broad, and twenty

perches long, and high land on each side like our keys by London bridge;

this may be easy cut quite round, for small vessels to come to the key,

and lie safe; round this island I set out lots one acre apiece, viz. four

pole at the key, and forty pole backward; from thence along the river near

half a mile: I laid out the like lots very pleasant for situation, where

they can see the ships coming in the bay of sandy hook, for near twenty

miles; the ships may ride along by the town, as safe as at London, just at

the point by the town: Rariton river runs up by the country, a great way;

there boats of forty tuns may go; and the river by the town, goes to New-

York, Hudson's river, Long-Island, Staten-Island, and so to New-England:

There is no such place in all England, for conveniency and pleasant

situation; there are sixty lots upon the river, and forty backward between

those and the river; and those backward, have a high way 100 foot broad;

where I have laid out a place for a market, with cross streets from the

river to the market; where the town houses are to be built: When this was

done, I laid out 400 acres, to be divided into forty-eight parts, viz.

thirty-six to each proprietor; and those who have lots in the town, I

grant them half lots in this; to pay for the lots in the town, twenty

pounds; or if a half lot of thirty-six acres, forty pounds. I laid 400

acres to lie until the proprietors agree to divide it, as people comes

over. There is sixteen lots taken up by the Scotch proprietors; and eight

lots by the proprietors that are here: There are twenty lots taken up in

the town, by other people. I engage all to build a house of thirty feet

long, and eighteen broad, and eighteen feet high to the raising; to be

finished within a year; to pay for laying out, forty shillings a lot, and

four pence per annum, quit-rent; There are several begun already to build.

I have laid out forty or fifty acres for the governor's house: The highway

and wharff, between the river 100 feet broad; and to leave a row of trees

along upon the river, before the houses, for shade and shelter, exceeding

pleasant. I have agreed for two houses of like dimensions, to be built for

the proprietors; and also a house for the governor, of sixty-six feet

long, and eighteen broad; if the quit rents come in, I intend three or

four houses more, for the proprietors: I can easily let them. This work

took me up five weeks: After I had finished it, I set the people to work,

Scotish and English, about fifty persons; some preparing for building,

others to clearing ground to get corn sown this spring: Then came in a

boat privately to Elizabeth-Town the 12th past: Next morning I went to New

York to visit the governor; staid there two or three days; he was very

kind, and promised a fair correspondence; so I did not publish my

commission until this day, before the council; they have been kind and

courteous. Now is the time to send over people for settling; there are 30,

000 acres of land in several places, belonging to the proprietors,

formerly taken up by Carteret: So here is land enough.


The Scots and William Dockwras people coming now and settling, advance the

province more than it hath been advanced these ten years: Therefore

proprietors, send over some families and servants; I shall presently set

them out land, and it will bring them in considerable profit, in a few

years: Here wants nothing but people. There is not a poor body in all the

province, nor that wants; here is abundance of provision; pork and beef at

two pence per pound; fish and fowl plenty: Oysters I think would serve all

England: Wheat four shillings sterling per bushel; Indian wheat two

shillings and six pence per bushel; it is exceeding good for food every

way, and two or three hundred fold increase: Cyder good and plenty, for

one penny per quart. Good drink that is made of water and molasses, stands

in about two shillings per barrel, wholesome like our eight shilling beer

in England: Good vennison plenty, brought us in at eighteen pence the

quarter: Eggs at three pence per doxen; all things very plenty; land very

good as ever I saw: Vines, walnuts, peaches, strawberries, and many other

things plenty in the woods. The proprietors have 150 or 200 acres, three

miles from the town, up Rariton river salt marsh, where I intend to let

the people of Amboy cut grass for hay until we otherwise order it by lots

to them. I reckon there is laid out for the town, governor's house and

publick highways, near or about 200 acres; so there rests 1800 acres. I

laid out 400 acres, as I said; the rest to lie in common, until divided: I

have put two houses in repair, upon the river, called the point, two miles

from Elizabeth Town; have let one of them, with ten acres of pasture

ground, and ten acres of woody ground, for seven years, at twenty-six

pounds per annum; the man to clear the ten acres of woody ground, and make

it fit for ploughing or pasture. I intend to let the other also, with some

land: All the houses were like to drop down; all the land lying without

fence; and a barn quite fallen down, and destroyed; another without any

cover; and that other next to the house where I dwell, all to pieces; and

all the fences and out-houses were down, but repaired before I came. I am

setting up a ferry boat at Perth, for men and horses, to go and come to

Burlington and Pennsylvania, and New-York: Also I am treating with one, to

set up a house midway to Burlington, to entertain travellers, and a ferry

boat to go to New-York; all which is for promoting Perth, that being the

center: Also you should give me power to set out a line, between the

governor of New-York and us; he calls on me for it, because several

plantations on the river are settled, and we know not yet on what side

they will fall; so I cannot at present mention all particulars, which you

must supply, by some general clauses or words; for it is not possible for

you to understand what is for the good of the province, as I do, that am

here; and be not sparing to send over people, it will bring you it again,

with large profits; for here is a gallant plentiful country, and good

land. I have given you a large account of the little time I have been

here: I have none to write for me, but you must send a copy of this to

Scotland; and with it your further instructions, to be signed and sent me

forthwith: I will be bound 'till it come; I rest your friend, sic




The same to a friend in London.


"East-Jersey, 1st month 26th, 1684.


"I promised to write but had not time 'till now; I shall give thee a brief

account of the country, no fiction, but truth: It is beyond what I

expected; it is situate in a good air, which makes it healthy; and there is

great conveniency for travelling from places through and about the

province, in boats from a small canoe, to vessels of thirty, forty or fifty

tun, and in some places one hundred in the bay coming up to Amboy point,

where the town of Perth is now in building, a ship of three hundred tun

may easily ride close to the shore within a plank's length of the houses

of the town, and yet the land there, nor other in the province is not low,

swampy, marshy ground, but pretty high ground, rising from the water side

at Amboy-point. The bank of the river is twenty foot, in some places

thirty, and in some forty foot high, and yet hath many conveniencies for

landing goods: The soil is generally black, in some places a foot deep,

beareth great burdens of corn, and naturally bringeth forth English grass,

two years ploughing the ground is tender, and the ploughing is very easy:

The trees grow generally not thick, but some places ten, in some fifteen,

in some twenty-five or thirty upon an acre; this I find generally, but in

some particular places there is one hundred upon an acre; but that is very

rare: The trees are very tall and straight, the general are oak, beech,

walnut, chesnuts and acorns lie thick upon the ground, for want of eating;

peaches, vines, strawberries and many other sorts of fruit grow commonly

in the woods; there is likewise gumtree, cedar, whitewood like our fir

tree, walnuts, chestnuts and others lie thick on the ground; there is

great plenty of oysters, fish, fowl; pork is two pennies the pound, beef

and venison one penny the pound, a whole fat buck for five or six

shillings; Indian corn for two shillings and six pence per bushel, oats

twenty pence, and barley two shillings per bushel: We have good brick

earth, and stones for building at Amboy, and elsewhere: The country farm

houses are built very cheap: A carpenter, with a man's own servants,

builds the house; they have all materials for nothing, except nails, their

chimnies are of stones; they make their own ploughs and carts for the most

part, only the iron work is very dear: The poor sort set up a house of two

or three rooms themselves, after this manner; the walls are of cloven

timber, about eight or ten inches broad, like planks, set one end to the

ground, and the other nailed to the raising, which they plaister within;

they build a barn after the same manner, and these cost not above five

pound a piece; and then to work they go: Two or three men in one year will

clear fifty acres, in some places sixty, and in some more: They sow corn

the first year, and afterwards maintain themselves; and the increase of

corn, cows, horses, hogs and sheep comes to the land-lord: Several

merchants of New-York have left their several plantations there, to come

to East-Jersey, two or three may join together, with may be twelve,

fifteen or twenty servants, and one overseer, which cost them nothing for

the first year, except some shoes, stockings and shirts: I have been to

see these plantations, and find they have a great increase by them, they

maintam their families at New-York with all provisions, and sell a great

deal yearly; and for servants, our English people are far better

husbaudmen than the New-Englandmen; the servants work not so much by a

third as they do in England, and I think feed much better; for they have

beef, pork, bacon, pudding, milk, butter and good beer and cyder for

drink; when they are out of their time, they have land for themselves, and

generally turn farmers for themselves: Servants wages are not under two

shillings a day, besides victuals; and at Amboy-point two shillings and

six pence per day: At Amboy we have one setting up to make malt, but we

want a brewer; I wish thou would send over some to set up a brewhouse, and

a bakehouse to bake bread and bisket; for a bisket maker we must have, to

vend our meat to the plantations: Send over some husbandmen and country

fellows that plough, sow, reap, thresh, and look after cattle; a carpenter

or two, and a smith for ploughs and horses; and a cooper which we want

very much:


If thou will send a dozen of servants, most of them countrymen; I will set

thee out a gallant plantation of five hundred or one thousand acres, on a

river side; but thou must send over some goods to stock it withal: I

desire thee to encourage some of our friends, especially the proprietors,

to send over some servants to stock some land; and when they have cleared

it, if they have a mind to let it, here are tenants to take it, and if

they will sell it, here are also purchasers: There is one man since I came

here, sold his plantation for fifteen hundred pound; the whole was sixteen

hundred or eighteen hundred acres, whereof only one hundred and twenty

acres were cleared; upon which he had a house, garden, and orchard, and

barn planted: I know several men who let cleared land at six shillings and

eight pence, and at ten shillings the acre, yearly rent; which is a good

encouragement for sending over servants to plant: I write not this as an

idle story, but as things really and truly are: I have sent for servants

myself to settle a farm; for if the proprietors will not do so, I see not

what they can expect. The Scots have taken a right course, they have sent

over many servants, and are likewise sending more; they have likewise sent

over many poor families, and given them a small stock; and these families,

some for seven, some for ten years, give the half of their increase to the

land-lord, except the milk, which the tenant hath to himself. I have set

them out land and they are at work I believe they will have forty acres

cleared this spring and this summer: I am to set them out more, so that in

a short time they will have a great increase coming in: This will raise

the price of the land here, and is the reason that several from New-York

bounds come to me to take up land, for they believe now this province will

be improving, and our land is better than theirs; that every proprietor's

sending over ten people, will also be a great advantage to himself;

encourage others to take up land and bring all the division that hath beem

here, to an end; for these men seeing that they shall be ballanced, are

already more compliant than they were; now I have laid these things before

thee, and desire thee to impart them to some of the proprietors and other

friends, that they may consider of the same.

I am thy loving friend, sic subscriptur.



From John Barclay, Arthur Forbes, and Gawen Lawrie, to the Scots

proprietors, of the same date.


"Knowing you expect from us an account of this country; we have for your

encouragement, and for the encouragement of all our country-men, who may

be inclineable to come into this country, given you this brief and true

account of it, according as we have seen and are credibly informed; for

having seen little, yet save the winter season, we must write what is to

be seen in summer upon information, which we have just ground to believe

to be true; because whatever we have seen already in it (notwithstanding

all we heard of it before we came) surpasses our expectation in many

things. The air in this country is very wholesome, and though it alters

suddenly, sometimes being one day hot and another cold; yet people are not

so subject to catch cold or be distempered by it as in our country of

England. The land lies for the most part pretty high, but on the river and

creek sides, are many meadows which lie low, from which the country people

get their hay, whereby their stocks are maintained in the winter season.

Provisions here are plentiful and cheap; there is beef, pork, venison,

mutton, fowl and fish, abundance to be had at easy rates; and for drink

they have good beer and cyder; and those that are desirous, may have wine

of several sorts and other kinds of strong liquors; so that we see little

wanting that a man can desire; and we are here sure that a sober and

industrious people might make this a rich country, and enrich themselves

in it; especially poor people, who are hard put to it to gain bread at

home, notwithstanding the excessive labour; for we see that people here

want nothing, and yet their labour is very small; they work not so hard by

one half as the husbandmen or farmers in our country; and many of these

who have settled here upwards of sixteen years, have lived upon the

product of the land, they cleared the first two years after they came (and

cleared none since) which produceth not only corn to maintain their own

families, but sell every year; and the increase of their bestial, whereof

they have good store of several sorts; cows, oxen, horses, sheep and

swine, yields them other provisions, and to sell besides; yet there be

some more industrious among them, who have continued clearing and

improving land; and these have got estates, and would not sell their

plantations for several hundred pounds. We have been lately up a little

way on the Rariton river, but could not go so far as we intended, being

prevented by rainy weather; but so far as we went, was very rich land,

and yet that above it is said to be richer; a great deal of it is naturally

clear of wood, and what is not so, is easily cleared, the trees being but

small and at a good distance from one another; so that the land yet

untaken up, so far as we can understand, is easier to clear, than that

which is taken up. The towns that are already seated, being in woodiest

places: The merchants in New-York, both Dutch and English, have many of

them taken up land, and settled plantations in this country; and several

from that colony are desiring to come and take up land among us; though

they might have land in their own colony without paying quit-rents. The

wood here is not so hard to clear as many think, they do not pull it up by

the roots, but out them about a foot or more from the ground, and one man

may cut down many in a day; four of our men the first day they began, cut

down seventy the best trees they could find fit for building: There are

not many of great trees, but straight and tall, and there be many sorts,

oak, walnut, chesnut, cedar, poplar, gum-trees, firrs, pines, birch and

beech, and other sorts, which we remember not at present. There are many

good orchards of fruit trees, and they make abundance of good cyder,

especially at one town called Newark, which is esteemed at New-York and

other places, where it is sold beyond any that comes from New-England:

There are peaches and vines grow wild about the river sides, which in

season bear good fruit, and grapes; and there are strawberries over all

the woods, and many other kind of good fruits, and at Amboy point and

several other places; there is abundance of brave oysters; there will be

many houses built there quickly, for many have taken up lots, and all that

have taken are obliged to build within a year: There is good encouragement

for tradesmen to come over; such as carpenters, masons, and bricklayers,

for they build not only of wood, but also of stone and brick; yet most of

country houses are built of wood, only trees split and set up one end in

the ground, and coverings to their houses, are mostly shingles, made of

oak, chesnut and cedar wood, which makes a very neat covering; yet there

are some houses covered after the Dutch manner, with panticles. The towns

are all settled upon rivers where vessels of thirty or forty tuns may come

up to their doors, and the out plantations generally upon some brook or

rivulets, which are as plenty here as in our own country, and curious

clear water, and in many places are good spring wells, but in the towns

every man for the most part has a well digged on his own land: Among all

the towns that are settled, none lieth so convenient for trade as New-

Perth; for ships of great burden may come up close to the houses, and may

come up in any time in the winter: There came a ship of three hundred tuns

in there this winter, in the hardest frost we had and lay hard by the

town, so near that she was tied to a tree. The land here brings forth most

sorts of English grain, and great increase; wheat, rie, barley, oats and

other sorts of grain, such as Indian corn, which is very good and

wholesome kind of grain; and also buck-wheat; and those corns are to be

had at easy rates, either for money or goods, and those that have not

money or goods may have abundance for their work: We shall now answer as

far as we are capable, your queries.


"To the first we cannot positively give an account of the whole length and

breadth of the province; but we are informed that it is a great deal

broader than ye expected; for those that have travelled from the extent of

our bounds on Hudson's river, straight over to the Delaware say it is 100

miles or upwards; we shall know that certainly after a while; for the line

betwixt us and New-York, is to be run straight over to Delaware river,

about three weeks hence; and after that the line betwixt us and West-

Jersey; after which we shall be able to give a true account of the bounds

of that province.


"2. When the bounds is so exactly laid out, we can the easier guess at the

number of acres, and by that time may be able to give an account what

number of acres is already taken up; but there is no fear of want of land.


"3. The quantity of meadow ground, we cannot determine, having travelled

as yet, but little in the province; but the way we have travelled there is

meadow in abundance, both on the water sides and on the



"4. There is also other good ground in some places, great quantities free

of wood, which is fit either for corn or grass; and the ground all over

brings forth good English grass naturally, after it is ploughed.


"5. There are also commons upon the country, but what quantity we cannot

tell; there is little kept in them save wild horses, which the people take

up when they have occasion: there is also land fit for pasturage for

sheep; and there is sheep in the country, but what number the ablest

planters have we know not, but some we see have good flocks.


"6. An exact map of the country is not yet drawn, nor can you quickly

expect it, for it will take up a great deal of time, charge and pains

to do it.


"7. There are also hills up in the country, but how much ground they take

up we know not; they are said to be stony, and covered with wood; and

beyond them is said to be excellent land.


"8. To the eighth we cannot answer as yet.


"9. There be people of several sorts of religions, but few very zealous;

the people, being mostly New-England men, do mostly incline to their way;

and in every town there is a meeting-house, where they worship publickly

every week: They have no publick laws in the country for maintaining

publick teachers, but the towns that have them, make way within themselves

to maintain them; we know none that have a settled preacher, that follows

no other employment, save one town, Newark.


"10. The method of building their houses is mentioned already.


"11. There are not many out plantations that are not within the bounds of

some town; yet there be some, and those are the richest; what number there

are we know not; some have great quantities of land, and abundance cleared.


"12. The richest planters have not above eight or ten servants; they will

have some of them a dozen cows; yea, some twenty or thirty; eight or ten

oxen; horses more than they know themselves; for they keep breeding mares;

and keep no more horses at home than they have occasion to work; the rest

they let run in the wood both winter and summer, and take them as they

have occasion to use them: Swine they have in great flocks in the woods;

and sheep in flocks also; but they let them not run in the woods, for fear

of being destroyed by wolves: Their profit arises from the improvement of

their land, and increase of their bestial.


"13. There will be in most of the towns already settled, at least 100

houses, but they are not built so regular as the towns in our country; so

that we can not compare them with any town we know in Scotland: Every

house in the town hath a lot of four acres lying to it; so that every one

building upon his own lot, makes the town irregular and scattered: Their

streets are laid out too large, and the sheep in the towns are mostly

maintained in them; they are so large that they need no trouble to pave



"14. Betwixt Sandy-Hook and Little Egg-llarbour, lie two towns, Middletown

and Shrewsbury: There is no land taken up that way, but what is (now) in

the bounds of these two towns; what kind of land it is we know not, having

never travelled that way: Barnagat or Burning-Hole, is said to be a very

good place for fishing; and there is some designing to take up land there,

who inform that it is good land, and abundance of meadow lying to it.


"15. There are no fishermen that follow only that trade, save some that go

a whaling upon the coasts; and for other fish there is abundance to be had

every where through the country, in all the rivers; and the people

commonly fish with long sives or long nets, and will catch with a sive,

one, sometimes two barrels a day of good fish, which they salt up mostly

for their own use, and to sell to others.


"16. There are no ships belonging to this province particularly, or built

here, save one which Samuel Groome built here the last summer, which

stands yet on the stocks; (a stop being put to it by his death) there is

conveniency enough to build ships: The ships in this part trade mostly to

the West-India islands, and some to Newfoundland, where the provisions of

this country vends.


"17. There is land here in several places, after it is cleared and brought

into a farm set out for rents, as in our country, at five, eight, and ten

shillings per acre, according to the goodness and situation of the said

land; and those that will be at the charge to clear land, may get tenants

to take upon these terms; but whether it will turn to good account or not,

because little experienced as yet, with the charge of clearing of land, I

will not positively inform.


"18. There are several places of the country fit for mills; and several,

both corn and saw mills already set up, and good encouragement to set up



"19. The acres are here reckoned according to the English account; sixteen

feet to the rood, twenty long, and eight broad makes an acre: One English

butt of wheat, which is eight English gallons, or Scots quarts, commonly

sows an acre; two bushels of barley also an acre; and two bushels of oats

an acre and half: English peck, which is four English quarts or Scots

shopeus of Indian corn, plants one acre.


"20. There are but few Indian natives in this country, their strength is

inconsiderable, they live in the woods, and have small towns in some

places far up in the country; they plant a little Indian corn, shoots deer,

and other wild beasts and fowls for their food: They have kings among

themselves to govern them; for religion they have none at all; they do not

refuse to sell lands at occasion. The prices of grain and other provisions

here at present; Indiam corn two shillings and six pence the bushel; wheat

four shillings; rie three shillings; oats one shilling and eight pence;

beef one penny; pork two pence; venison one penny; mutton three pence the

pound, this English measure and weight; but mark, these things being

valued in this country money, there is a fifth part difference betwixt it

and sterling money; so that wheat being valued here at four shillings the

bushel, is but three shillings and three pence sterling, and so of the rest



"Here you have an account of things, as far as we are capable to give at

present; with which we hope you will be satisfied, while further

opportunity and better experience give us occasion to write more; and so

we rest your friends and well wishers to all our countrymen; sic





"Elizabeth-Town, in East-Jersey, the 29th of the first month, called

March, 1684.


"This I have heard read, do also subscribe to the truth thereof, and

rests - G. L."


1 His commission:


"The proprietors of the province of East-New-Jersey. To our trusty and

well beloved fellow proprietor, Robert Barclay, sendeth greeting:


"Whereas the powers of government of the province of East-New-Jersey, is

devolvd upon us, and assigned to us, by James duke of York, with power to

constitute and appoint such governor and commissioners, for the well

governing of the said province, as we shall see meet; and we having

heretofore, out of the confidence we had of Robert Barclay, his skill,

prudence and integrity, constituted and appointed him governor of the said

province, to appoint a deputy during his absence therefrom, to be approved

by sixteen of the proprietors: Upon the same reason and confidence, we do

hereby confirm to him the government of the said province, during all the

days of his life; as to have the power of the government of all the said

province, and of all isles, rivers, islands and seas within the same or

belonging thereto; to do all and every thing or things, which to the

charge and office of a governor doth appertain; commanding all inferior

officers to obey him as their governor, according to this our commission,

and the powers hereby given him, and according to the laws and

constitutions made or confirmed by us, or to be made; which he himself is

to observe and follow; as unto his duty and office doth appertain. And

whereas we have agreed, and are satistied, for certain good reasons and

considerations moving us thereunto, to commit this trust unto him, and to

give him this character, without laying any necessity upon him to repair

to the said province; so likewise we have, and do hereby give him power,

from time to time as need shall be, during his absence, to name and

constitutes and grant commission, to a deputy governor to serve in the

said province; he being always approved by sixteen of us the proprietors,

and following the orders he receives from us, according to the laws and

constitutions of the said province.


"Given under the seal of the said province, and signed by our hands; dated

at London, the 17th of the fifth month called July, in the year of our

lord, according to the English account, 1683." R. Barclay died the third

of October, 1690, and had continued governor 'till 1685, when lord Neil

Campbell, uncle to the D. of Argyle, was appointed governor, and came over

hither. - In 1698, Sir Thomas Lane was governor of East-Jersey.


2 Vid. the trial, and Sewel's hist. p. 504.


3 In one of these disturbances, Lewis Morris, afterwards governor of New-

Jersey, being a party, was taken prisoner and confin'd in a log house; his

partizans prized up the logs high enough or him to creep out.