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works of the most elegant and accomplished writers of the English language."
A volume of his sermons, passed through a second edition, were well received. He was a fearless and independent inquirer, but not rash nor fond of innovating unless truth required it.
Rev. Mr. Greenwood, of King's Chapel, paid the following tribute to his character:
Honesty and truth, pure and transparent, associated with gentleness and urbanity, unaffected modesty, and real kindness and good will, were qualifications so distinctly marked in every word, and action, and look, that no one could know him without reading them there. His candor was proverbial; never rude, harsh or uncharitable, he was always generous, affectionate and kind.
Doctor Freeman was the Recording Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1794 he wrote a description of Truro, which may be found in Vol. III., First Series. As the date of that sketch was just about half-way from the settlement of Truro to the present, and contains a geographical description of the town, I will make a few extracts from the same.
Truro is situated east-southeast from Boston 41° 57', and 42° 4', north latitude, and between 700, 4', and 700, 13', west longitude from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The length of this township as the road runs is about fourteen miles, but in a straight line about eleven miles. The breadth in the widest part is three miles, and in the narrowest part not more than half a mile. The distance of the meeting-house (Old North) from Boston is fifty-seven miles in a straight line, but as the road runs it is one hundred and twelve miles, forty miles from the C. II. in Barnstable. East Harbor contains fourteen houses, the Pond Village forty, Clay Pounds six, the whole town one hundred and seven, only one house in town over one story high. The population by the census of 1790 was 1193. In 1974, the polls were 330, estimated population, 1320.
At this time, Boston and the twenty-three contiguous towns then embracing the County of Suffolk, contained less than forty-five thousand inhabitants, averaging less than two thousand each, and Truro had about twelve hundred, or nearly seventy to a square mile. We are not surprised that Doctor Freeman speaks of the town as being full of people. To-day the twenty-three towns contain a population of a million, and Truro less than in 1794. In i860 the population was about 2000: 360 houses, 440 families. Doctor Freeman is in error in his statement that there were only 107 houses, as we have just shown by the Direct Tax of 1798 that there were 172 houses subject to the tax, which must be correct. The two-story house referred to, was the great gambrel roof of Captain Joshua (Governor) Atkins, that less than fifty years ago stood up the Hollow just eastward of Mrs. Hughes.
There was an attempt many years ago to make a harbor at the Pond Landing. It is conceived that a wharf of timber or stone placed on the outer bar, about four hundred rods in length, and six or seven feet in height, would offer a convenient harbor.
The inhabitants consider the Clay Pounds as an object worthy the attention * of strangers. The eastern shore of Truro is very dangerous for seamen. More vessels are cast away here than in any other part of the County of Barnstable. A lighthouse near the Clay Pounds, should Congress think proper to erect one, would prevent many of these fatal accidents. There are proofs that the ocean has gained nearly half a mile upon the outer shore within the last sixty years. The soil in the township is depreciating, little pains being taken to manure it. , Not much attention is paid to agriculture, as the young men are sent to sea very early in life. The hillocks of the Indian corn formed by the hoe, are left unbroken, and the land lies uncultivated six or seven years. Formerly fifty bushels of corn were raised on an acre, but the average produce at present is not more than fifteen or twenty. The soil was once good for wheat, the mean produce of which was fifteen or twenty bushels an acre.
A subsistence being easily obtained, the young people are induced to marry at an early age; many of the men under twenty-three, and many of the women * 1 under twenty. A numerous family is generally found after a few years.
Though Truro, in respect to soil, is inferior to the other townships in the County except Wellfleet and Provincetown, both of which have convenient harbors, yet in spite of every disadvantage, it has become full of inhabitants. In the time of the contest between Great Britain and America, four masters of vessels with their men, the greater part of whom belonged to Truro, were lost at sea.
Many died in the prison-ships at New York. But since that period, as migrations from the township have been rare though formerly frequent, the inhabitants have increased. The meeting-house is painted and in good repair. The inhabitants in general are very constant in their attendance on public worship. There is one water-mill and three wind-mills for the grinding of Indian corn and rye. The elderly men and small boys remain at home to cultivate the ground; the rest are at sea, except occasionally, two thirds of the year. The women are
Doctor Freeman often visited Truro, took an interest in her prosperity, and understood the people. He was interested in all the Cape towns and wrote a description of several, which may be found in the Historical Collection, signed J. F.
The great gain of the ocean mentioned by Doctor Freeman was generally accepted, but actual tests prove to the contrary. Undoubtedly there have been years when the gain by the bank line would be fully the distance stated; nearly fifty feet; but this is usually followed by many years of low average.
A winter of severe easterly gales will wash down the bank to almost a perpendicular; during that year the bank will crumble away to its natural angle of about forty-five degrees, which in some places will be three or four lengths of fence, or perhaps twenty or thirty feet. It may be five or ten years before another great inroad is made.
I can demonstrate that for the last fifty years the average annual loss on the Truro coast has not been over five or ten feet. But at this slow pace, in five hundred years there would be little left of Cape Cod, as a mile would have disappeared. These remarks are confined to the northern part of the Cape, and do not conflict with what we have said in our Chapter on Geology, referring to the southern part, where the currents have a wild freedom.
It was once not uncommon for the old men to tell their sons that they had hoed corn where ships then sailed. Socrates complained that their fathers had done all the brave deeds, and had not taught them the same, so that they had no great stories to tell their sons. The old Cape Cod fathers, bound to keep good the stories they received, repeated their fathers' as their own, introducing a kind of mild mythology.
As the encroachment of the ocean on the back side of the Cape is of considerable scientific importance, my observations are partially confirmed by comparison with reliable statements from other exposed coasts and headlands. Margate and Ramsgate, exposed points on the Kentish coast, show what is termed "remarkable encroachments from the ocean since the reign of Henry VIII.," but when reduced show about the same average which I have noticed.
Referring to Doctor Freeman's statement of an attempt in the early history of Truro to make a harbor at the Pond Landing, we call attention to the second attempt.
An act was passed in 1806, incorporating Jason Ayers (the Truro physician) and others as the " Truro Pond Harbor Association," for the purpose of opening a passage from the sea into a certain pond, or quagmire, lying on the west side of said town near the sea, and for clearing out said pond so as to form a convenient harbor.
This work was accomplished at considerable expense; a few small vessels entered, but the heavy westerly winds soon filled the channel with sand, and it proved a total failure.
THE FISHERIES AND THE WARS.
Exposed Condition. A Precarious Town. Dark Prospects. Beginning of the Fishing. Rivals for the Prize. Henry the IV. Sir Walter Raleigh. Stock Companies and the Nobility. Dutch Fishermen. Newfoundland. Catholic Europe. English Statutes. The Problem of Kings. Royal Kitchen and Royal Economy. Pine-Tree Shillings. Charles and Codfish. The People. 1485 — English Commerce—1880. Education. Supply and Demand. From Newfoundland to New England. St . Saviour. Acadia. Fighting Men. Louis XIV. Louis burg. A Modem Crusade. Victory. One Vote. Fishermen Knighted. Peace. Codfish and Molasses. Free Rum. Merchant Voyages. The Cape Threatened. The Armada. Lawful Money. Crown Point. Petition for Protection. Watch and Ward. The Scheme. Privateering. Second Seige of Louisburg. Change of Rule. Dissatisfaction. An Impending Crisis.
IN an early chapter we have referred to the fisheries as making the settlements of New England possible, and that they had a controlling hand in developing the Colonies. In this chapter we wish to show as pertaining to our history, their continued importance to civilization, and how they became at least an indirect agency in the long struggles that led to the independence of the country. For a hundred years the Cape towns from their exposed situation and business interests, shared largely in the wars and misfortunes of the colony. This applies particularly to Truro, and still more to Provincetown, which we have shown was a barometer of the times, with a precarious fortune, subject to the ebb and flow of the fishing. Up to this time, say about 1750, though fishing was the main business in Truro, it had been carried on principally from the shore, and in connection with farming, as was and still is the English