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Another, giving power to the governour to appoint magistrates without consent of council Another, the abolishing of own meetings, or making it unlawful to hold them, till the business to be proposed has been certified to the governour, and his permission obtained. A motion has also been made in the house of commons, with a view to conciliate, as is said; that all the duty acts should be revised, and in the revision and re-enacting, without formally or expressly repealing the tea duty (which would hurt the dignity of parliament) sink or omit it, and add an equal value in some of the coasting port duties; and the tea duty being thus taken out of the way, it is supposed will have the salutary effect of preventing the other colonies from making a common cause with ours: Some advantages in trade are at the same time to be given to America for the same purpose, such as carrying wine and fruit directly from Spain and Portugal, without touching in England.

I send enclosed the proceedings of the lords on Wednesday, which show their zeal in the business, by appointing a committee to sit during the recess in the Easter holidays.

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ELLFLEET is situated on the peninsula, called Cape Cod, south-east from Boston; distant by land, one hundred and five miles; by water, twenty leagues; and from the Plymouth light, eight leagues. From the high lands, on the west part of the town, we discover in a clear day, with the naked eye, the high lands of Plymouth, Kingston, Duxborough, and Marshfield. The town is bounded by Eastham, south; the Atlantick Ocean, east; by Truro, north; and Barnstable bay, west; being seven miles in length, and four in breadth, from the high lands and Billinsgate Point which includes the harbour, west, to the waters on the east side of the town. The harbour is large, indented within with creeks, where vessels of seventy or eighty tons may lie safe. Large ships may lie safe in what is called the Deep Hole, near the town, or to the eastward of Billinsgate Point, in what is called the Horse-Shoe, five miles from the head of the harbour. Without Billinsgate Point, is what is called the Shoal Ground. Large vessels should keep a league to the westward of the Point, if they would come safe round. This harbour is but little known or frequented, except by persons who inhabit round the bay.

From the table lands in Eastham, to Race Point, is a large range of high hills, all of them sandy, except one large mountain, which is of

solid clay, in Truro, called the Clay Pounds, because vessels have had the misfortune to be pounded to pieces against it, in gales of wind.

From these hills, in pleasant days in February and March, we often discover fifty or sixty sail of vessels, which come from the West-Indies and the southward, and have been sheltered in the Vineyard Sound. Within these hills in Wellfleet, is a range of fresh ponds, where sea fowl obtain fresh water, and where there are fish of the smaller kind. Such as have outlets, receive alewives, which go up in the month of May.

The land is barren. The growth of wood is small pitch pine and oak.

From the harbour there are many salt creeks, known by different names, which are surrounded with salt marsh. There is no fresh hay cut in the town.

This town was incorporated 1763. Before this it was known, by being called the North Precinct in Eastham, and was originally included in the Indian Skeekeet and Pamet. The first inhabitants of this place attended publick worship at Eastham. When their numbers and property were sufficient, they built a small meeting-house, in which the Rev. Josiah Oaks, youngest son of the Hon. Thomas Oaks,* Esq. of Boston, preached for a number of years. After Mr. Oaks,† the Rev. Isaiah Lewis was settled in the work of the ministry over this people. He was ordained September 23d, 1730, and continued in the work of the ministry, until prevented by the infirmities of age. April 13th, 1785, the Rev. Levi Whitman was ordained a colleague pastor with him. Mr. Lewis died October 3d, 1786, aged eighty-four.

The business of the people in this town was originally the whale fishery, in which none were more expert than the aboriginal Indians. Before the late war, this branch of business was carried on to exceeding good advantage. The inhabitants had acquired large property, which was destroyed and lost in the time of war. No towns suffered more by the war, except those that were reduced to ashes.

In 1772, there was a fever, which proved mortal to between forty and fifty persons. Those who had this distemper first, almost all died. Since that time the people of this place have enjoyed health in common with other places.

The number of inhabitants was very much diminished in the time of war. Many were captivated and died in prison ships and otherwise. Twenty-three were lost in a ship called the America. The distresses caused by the war were the means of removing many families to Penobscot and other places. Since the war, the whale and cod fisheries have revived; people's circumstances are mended; and the number of their vessels has been increased.

* The Hon. Thomas Oaks, Esq. of Boston, died in this town, July 15, 1719, aged seventy-six, and lies interred by his son, the Rev. Josiah Oaks, in what we call the old burying ground.

He died 1732, aged 44.

The people in this town are engaged in the sea service: a sailor is looked on as one engaged in the most honourable and beneficial employments: there are but few mechanicks. Our vessels commonly fit out from Boston, and go thither to dispose of their oil, fish, bone, &c. Perhaps there are but few towns so well supplied with fish of all kinds as Wellfleet; among which are some that are uncommon, such as the sword-fish and cramp-fish. The latter, which when touched with human flesh, gives it an electrical shock, has been caught on our shores. The oil of this fish is said to be beneficial in certain cases. We also have the bill-fish in great plenty in the month of October.

No part of the world has better oysters than the harbour of Wellfleet. Time was when they were to be found in the greatest plenty; but in 1775, a mortality from an unknown cause carried off the most of them. Since that time the true Billinsgate oysters have been scarce; and the greater part that are carried to market, are first imported and laid in our harbour, where they obtain the proper relish of Billinsgate.

We have no social library; and the means of education are not equal fully to the purpose of fitting our young men for the business, which they are many times called to in after life.

We have in the winter a number of private schools, by which means the greater part of the young men are taught the art of navigation. Three persons from this town have received their education at college.

Since the memory of people now living, there have been born in this small town, thirty pair of twins, beside two births that produced six, three each. Within the bill of mortality we include five families within the bounds of Truro, who live near to us and attend publick worship with us. The whole number of souls, when the census was taken, amounted to twelve hundred. The number of deaths in nine years past has been one hundred and forty-five. As to births, we cannot be so accurate. The number of baptisms in nine years past has been three hundred and ninety-four; and perhaps if the few infants not baptized were added to the number, the proportion would be nearly three births to one death.

Several persons have lived to advanced ages in this town. Mrs. Mary Treat, whose name before marriage was Lion, was born in a vilage near London, and died in the hundredth year of her age, when she was superannuated, so as not to recollect late transactions. She could be very particular in relating what was done in her youth. She would however often repeat the same things. I have several times heard her give a particular account of her being in London at the coronation of George the first. Mrs. Hannah Doane lived ninety-five years, and was remarkable for her piety. Mr. John Young lived eighty-five years, and spent fifty of them in the whaling service. It may be noted, that many of the people of this town spend more than half their lives at sea and on ship-board. Navigation engrosses their whole attention : otherwise excellent gardens might be made in swamps, near ponds and

marshes, where the tide might be dyked out Brick also might be made in the town, were the people disposed for it These, however,

we are obliged to import for chimnies, underpinning houses, and for bricking up cellars and wells; in as much as there are not stones in the town for the purpose.

On the Cape, especially at the lower end of it, we are subject to heavy gales of wind We have but little snow in comparison with the neighbourhood of Boston. The atmosphere is very much impregnated with saline particles, which perhaps with the great use of fish, and the neglect of cider and spruce beer, may be a reason, why the people are more subject to sore mouths and throats, than in other places. It is a question however submitted to the faculty, whether antidotes against scorbutick complaints might not be beneficial ?

We at times have shipwrecks on the shores, which perhaps might be prevented by a light house on the Clay Pounds. No shipwreck is more remarkable than that of the noted pirate Bellamy, mentioned by Governour Hutchinson in his history.* In the year 1717, his ship with his whole fleet were cast on the shore of what is now Wellfleet, being led near the shore by the captain of a snow, which was made a prize on the day before; who had the promise of the snow as a present, if he would pilot the fleet in Cape Cod harbour; the captain, suspecting that the pirate would not keep his promise, and that instead of clearing his ship, as was his pretence, his intentions were to plunder the inhabitants of Province town. The night being dark, a lantern was hung in the shrouds of the snow, the captain of which, instead of piloting where he was ordered, approached so near the land, that the pirate's large ship which followed him struck on the outer bar: the snow being less, struck much nearer the shore. The fleet was put in confusion; a violent storm arose; and the whole fleet was shipwrecked on the shore. It is said, that all in the large ship perished in the waters, except two. Many of the smaller vessels got safe on shore. Those that were executed, were the pirates put on board a prize schooner before the storm, as it is said. After the storm, more than an hundred dead bodies lay along the shore. At times to this day, there are King William and Queen Mary's coppers picked up, and pieces of silver, called cob money. The violence of the seas moves the sands upon the outer bar; so that at times the iron caboose of the ship, at low ebbs, has been seen.


The method of killing guils, in the gull house, is no doubt an Indian invention and also that of killing birds and fowl upon the beach, in dark nights. The gull house is built with crotches fixed in the ground on the beach, and covered with poles, the sides being covered with stakes and sea-weed, the poles on the top covered with lean whale. The man being placed within, is not discovered by the fowls, and while they are contending for and eating the flesh, he draws them in one by

Vol. II. p. 223.


one between the poles, until he has collected forty or fifty. This number has often been taken in a morning. The method of killing small birds and fowl that perch upon the beach, is by making a light: the present mode is with hog's lard in a frying pan : we suppose the Indians used a pine torch. Birds in a dark night will flock to the light, and may be killed with a walking cane.

It would be curious indeed to a countryman, who lives at a distance from the sea, to be acquainted with the method of killing black-fish. Their size is from four to five tons weight, when full grown. When they come within our harbours, boats surround them. They are as easily driven to the shore as cattle or sheep are driven on the land. The tide leaves them, and they are easily killed. They are a fish of the whale kind, and will average a barrel of oil each. I have seen nearly four hundred at one time lying dead on the shore. It is not however very often of late that these fish come into our harbour.

If what is here collected be worthy of the notice of the Historical Society, it is presented to them by their most obedient,

Wellfleet, October 26, 1793.t

Humble servant,


The inhabitants do not raise grain sufficient for the town. The common method is to import it from the southern states. We have for grinding it into meal, five wind-mills, and one tide-mill.


[Those under a year old are distinguished by being called infants.] Ages.

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Those with this mark, died from home.

+ This day completes nine years since I first saw this town.


15, first year.

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