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Early Explorers & Myths

Giovanni Da Verrazano Portrait of Giovanni Da Verrazano(1485-1527) by Francesco Allegrini.
Image Courtesy of The Pierpont Morgan Library/Art Resource, NY
"He had a wonderful experience actually someplace in Rhode Island with the Narragansett Indians which he wrote up in his letter to the King of France. It was this description on an idyllic world: a world where the natives were civilized, and where the fields were rolling, and where food was easy to gather and so forth became what was ultimately became the story that was associated with a land called Norumbega."
-- Richard D'Abate

David Ingram

This is a Royal examination of David Ingram concerning his travels in the regions of Norumbega.

[AUGUST--SEPTEMBER 1582]. EXAMINATION OF DAVID INGRAM1

[f. 197] Certeyne questions to be demaunded of Davy Ingram, sayler, dwellings at Barkinge in the countye of Essex / what he observed in his travell one of the Northe side of the ryver of May where he remayned three monethes or there aboutes

1 Imprimis howe longe the sayed Ingram travyled one ye North side of the Ryver of May,

[In right hand margin] he hath confessed y' he travelled there three monethes

2 Item whether that country be frutfull, and what kinde of frutes there be

[In right hand margin] he hath confessed y' it is excedinge frutefull and that there is a tre as he called it a planten tree, which of the leaves thereof beinge pressed will come a very excellent lycor as pleasant to drincke and as good, as any kinde of winne. /
3 Item what kinde of beastes and cattell he sawe there. /
He hath confessed, y' he sawe a beast in all pointes like unto a horse, savinge he had two longe tuskes, of which beast he was put in great dawnger of his lyfe, but he escaped by clyminge a tree Also that there be wyld horses of goodly shape, but the people of the country have not the use of them Further that there, be shepe, which beareth redde woole, sume thinge course. / there flesh good to eat, but is very redde. /
4 Item what kind of people there be, and how they be aparrelled
He hath confessed y' farre into the land there be many pleople [sic], and that he sawe a towne halfe a myle longe, and hath many streates farre broader then any streat in London. /

Further y' the men gooe naked savinge only the myddell part of them covered, with skynnes of beastes, and with leaves, And that genirallye all men weare about there armes dyvers hoopes of gold and silver which are of good thicknes. / and lykwyse they weare the lyke about the samle [sic] of there legges. / which hoopes are garnished with pearle, dyvers of them as bigge as ones thume. /

That the womenne of the countrye, gooe aparyled, with plates of gold over there body much lyke unto an armor, about the myddest of there bodye they weare, leafes, which hath growinge there one very long much lyke unto heare. / and lykwyse a bout there armes and the smale of there legges they weare hoppes of gold and sylver, garnyshed with fayer pearle. /

[f. 197v] 5 Item what kind of buyldinges, and howses they have.

He hath confessed y' they buyld there howses round lyke a dowhouse and hath in like manner a lover on the toppes of there howses / and that there be many pillors that upholdeth many thinges, of gold and silver very massye and great, and lykewise many pyllors of Cristall /

[In left hand margin] Sir Humfrye Gylbertes man which he sent to discover y' land reporteth there howses to be buylt in lyke mannor rounde. /

6 Item whether there is any quantitye of gold, silver and pearle, and of other jewelles in that country. /

He hath confessed that there is great aboundaunce of gold sylver and pearle, and that he hath seanne at the heades of dyvers springes and in smale rounninge broukes dyvers peaces of gold some as bigge as his fynger, others as bigge as his fyst and peaces of dyvers bignes. /

Further that he hath seanne greate aboundaunce of pearle and dyvers straunge stones of what sort or valewe he knewe not. /

7 Item whether he sawe a beaste farre exceydinge an ox in bignes. /

He hath confessed that there be in that country great aboundaunce of a kinde of beast almost as bigge agayne as an oxe, in shape of body not much differinge from an oxe, savinge that he hath eares of a great bignes, that are in fashone much like unto the eares of a bloudhound having there on very longe heare, and lykwyse on his breast, and other partes of his bodye longe heare. /

[In left margin] Sir H: Gylbertes man brought of the hydes of this beast from the place he discovered. /

Further he hath reported of dyvers kindes of wyld beastes whose skynnes are very rich furres /

lykewyse of dyvers kindes of frutes, and trees, of great eastimatione.

That there is a tree which beareth a frute lyke an aple, but is poyson to eate for the agple beinge broken there is a blacke lycor in the mydest thereof /

Also that there is a tree that the barcke thereof tasteth lyke pepper.

Divers other matters of great importaunce he hath confessed (yf they be true) which he sayeth that upon his lyfe, he offereth to goe to the place, to aprove the same true. /

Endorsed: Questions to be demanded of David Ingram concerning his knowledge of a discovery1.

1 State Papers Domestic, Elizabeth, SP 12/175.95.

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HOME: The Story of Maine on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network was made in partnership with the Maine State Museum. Major funding was provided by the  Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency committed to fostering innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning. Additional funding provided by Elsie Viles.
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