161 | Journal of a Voyage to the Island of Mount desart


    1. Sep 28 I went on board the Sloop Massachusets lying off Castle William in Boston Bay at 5 p.m. weighed Anchor at 10618 Wind SE passed Deer Island on the left.
    2. 29 Morning hazy, passed Cape Ann by reckoning at 5 am, stood for Portsmouth, lookt for the Isles of shoals: a thick fog arose; bore out to Sea, keeping a good offing to avoid a rock called Boon Island Ledge; saw it at 2 miles distance at 2 p.m. weather cleared up; a fresh gale arose from S by E; bore for cape Porpoise at N by W with all the sail we could set; passed into the harbour in a narrow channel between frightful rocks, and came to anchor at 4 o’ clock. found sevral fishermen there who had put in for shelter; who supplied us with excellent fish for our dinner.

      Night Windy & rainy; lay Very quiet, tho’ there was a great storm at Sea.

    3. 30 Morning hazy; cleared up. at 9 a.m. went out with a small breeze at NW, which failing in the narrow passage We were in danger of being flung upon the rocks: but the breeze freshning carried us out. Very little Wind & great rowl of Sea: put out lines & caught some cod and haddock. at noon a fresh breeze arose from W. Course E N E. passed Wood Island, Cape Elisabeth, Segwin Island. Wind fair but a great swell of Sea: at 6 alter’d our course to E by N, stood for Menhiggon Island Breeze freshend about Midnight
    4. Oct 1 At day break enterd Penobscot Bay, passed the Muscle ridges & the Owls head on the left & the Fox Islands on the right. Between the Fox Islands saw Mount desart hills at near 30 miles distance. passed by long Island on the left; at the end thereof saw Fort Pownall at 6 miles distance. a fresh Gale from the NW. Went above the fort & anchored at 11. The Fort saluted us with 11 guns; We returned 7 guns. Went on shore dined at the fort; spent the afternoon in reconnoitring the Country. Went on board in the Evning.
    5. 2 Weighed anchor at 7 a.m. fresh gale from NW. passed by many Islands on the right which with the continent on the left formed many pleasant sounds & bays. Came to Neskeag point, 30 miles from Fort Pownall, at 11. Found sevral Vessels there, among which was a Schooner with My Surveyors on board, who left Boston 5 days before me: took them on board & with a pilot proceeded for Mount desart: arrived there at 3 o’ clock; but the Wind being against us, We were 2 hours turning into the harbour. At first We came into a spacious bay formed by land of the great Island on the left & one of the Cranberry Islands on the right. Towards the End of this Bay which is called the Great Harbour, We turned into a smaller bay called the South West Harbour. This last is about a Mile long & ¾ of a mile wide. On the North Side of it is a narrow opening to a River or sound which runs into the Island 8 miles & is Visible in a streight line with uneven shores for near the whole length. In the View of this river We anchored about the middle of the South West Harbour about 5 p.m.
    6. 3 After breakfast went on shore at the head of the bay & went into the woods by a compass line for above half a mile; found a path which led us back to the harbour: This proved to be a passage to the Saltmarshes. In the afternoon some people came on board, who informed that four families were settled upon one of the Cranberry Islands, And two families at the head of the river 8 miles from Our Station619
    7. 4 We formed two sets of Surveyors: I & Lieut Miller took charge of the one & Mr Jones My Surveyor had the care of the other.
    8. 4 We begun at a point at the head of the S West Harbour, proceeded in different courses & surveyed that whole harbour except some part on the South side.
    9. 5 It rained all morning &c: We compared our observations & protracted the Surveys: in the afternoon surveyed a Cove in the North River
    10. 6 I & Lt Miller surveyed the remainder of the S.W. harbour & a considerable part of the great harbour. Mr Jones traced & measured the ^path to the^ Bass Bay ^creek^ & found there many haycocks In the afternoon We made some general observations & corrected our former surveys. The Gunners had good Luck; plenty of Duck Teal Partridge &c.
    11. 7 Took an observation of the Sun rising: Went up the river, a fine channel having sevral openings & Bays of different breadths, making from a mile to a quarter of a mile breadth. We passed thro’ sevral hills covered with woods of different sorts; in some places the rocks were allmost perpendicular to a great highth. The general Course of this river is N 5o E; & it is not less than 8 miles long ^in a streight line^. At the end of it We turned into a bay & there saw a settlement in a ^lesser^ bay. We went on shore & into Solmes’s log-house; found it neat & convenient, tho’ not quite finished; found & in it a notable Woman with 4 pretty girls clean & orderly.620 Near it were many fish flakes with a great quantity of fish drying there. From thence We went to a Bever pond, where We had an opportunity to observe the artificialness of their dams & their manner of Cutting down trees to make them. We returned to our Sloop about 4 o’clock: it must be 8 miles distance. The Gunners brought in plenty of Ducks & partridge.
    12. 8 We observed Sun rising; but could not take his amplitude by reason of clouds near the horison. Mr Miller surveyed the Island on the East side of the river. Mr Jones ran the base line of the intended Township. I went thro’ the Woods a mile & a half to the Creek of Bass Bay. We went above a mile on the Salt meadow, found it fine, the hay remaining there good, & the Creek a pretty rivulet capable of receiving considerable Vessels, the meadow on each side being a furlong or two wide & the upland having a gentle declivity to it. We returned to dinner after two. In the afternoon Mr Jones finished his line, & We gathered curious plants in the Woods. In the Evning I receivd sevral persons on board proposing to be settlers; & it was resolved to sail the next morning if the wind would permit.
    13. 9 At half after 8 we weighed Anchor; stood for the Sea in a course S S W, thro sevral Islands; thence by a course W by S to Holt Island 10 leagues from Mount desart Harbour. At half past one Wind fell to a faint breeze; passed Martinicus Island at 5, Metennick Island at 9 ^& Mohiggan Island at 12^. Night fine & calm.
    14. 10 Sloop rolled very much ’till 5, when passing Segwin Island a fresh breeze came from NE. arrived at Falmouth Channel half after 8, just 24 hours ^from Mount desart^. It rained hard; we came to an Anchor at Falmouth half after 10. I went on shore, dined at Col Waldo’s621 & lay there.
    15. 11 We went about the Town; a Very growing place: some fine houses then building, many Vessels, among which Were some Ships, upon the Stocks: Were saluted by the Fort with 5 guns & by a Ship in the harbour with 7: Our sloop returned 5 guns. We dined at Col Waldo’s, supt at Cap Rosses622 & went on board at half past 10.
    16. 12 We weighed anchor at half past 8: saluted the Town with 5 guns. kept within sight of the shore all the way; & anchored near the fort Island in Piscataway about 3 miles from Portsmouth at 5 o’clock. The Fort hailed us to know if I was on board: at 6 Govr. Wentworths barge came along side to carry me to his house about 3 miles from the Sloop & 2 from Portsmouth.
    17. 13 I went to Portsmouth in my own boat the Boats crew being in their uniforms, of red faced with blew: was received at the wharf by sevral Gentlemen & conducted to Mr Wentworths house. At 3 Mrs Bernard arrived in the Charriot.
    18. 14 We passed an agreable day at Portsmouth
    19. 15 & on the 15th set out in the Charriot for Boston.

    AMs, AC BP, 10: 21-28.

    The voyage was undertaken not only for the purpose of surveying the island, but to exert some control over the few settlers there. “I find myself obliged to enter into Conditional contracts with proposed Settlers, to put a stop to the depredation of others, & to engage in several Articles of Expence in the same manner as if my title was absolute. In short I am obliged to enter into possession of the Island as the positive owner thereof, or also must see it overrun by Numberless people without any title at all but possession.” FB to Bollan, Castle William, 11 Aug. 1762, BP, 2: 205-206. The meeting with the settlers on 8 Oct., which FB mentions, was arranged in order to stop their “wast of the timber,” but for his plea to carry any weight he evidently felt obliged to promise them land lots in the intended township (No. 177).